Tuesday May 10: Arzua
Really Nice Lodging
I'm getting increasingly anxious about the rest of the trip. We have two and a half more days, and I'm wondering if my feet are going to make it.
Breakfast was good. They even cooked us eggs and bacon. When we got back to our room, we found that the floor was warm, so the heat was on. We were almost ready, when the front desk called and told us the taxi was here. We brought our bags down, and I got one last surprise: I got a bill for 200 Euro. 50 was for the restaurant, and 150 was for something else in Spanish. Given that the taxi driver was waiting, it was going to be a long day, and the guy at the front desk didn't speak English, I just paid it. I'm going to have to take this up with the tour company after this is over.
<The bill was for the room and food. After the trip was over, I contacted the tour company, they straightened it out, and I got a refund.>
We took the taxi to the Camino, grabbed our day packs, and left our suitcases in the taxi.
The trail did a good job of avoiding major roads. We went by a few industrial areas and a couple of cities, but most of it wasn't too bad. On the other hand, after seeing your 127th cow pasture, it sort of loses its thrill.
There were some structures that we’ve seen everywhere. It is raised up on stone, maybe 4 feet wide, and 12 feet deep. The walls were half open to allow for good ventilation. I couldn't figure out what they were, but they were very common. Whenever I saw one, there was no one who spoke English that I could ask.
Later, at the night's hotel, they had a model of one in reception. The guy there spoke English, so I asked him. He said that the primary grain for animals is corn, and this was a traditional building for drying corn. It was raised on stone to keep the mice out.
The day was actually two 15km days joined together. I figured that we would eat lunch in Melinde, which was the end of the half journey. We got a later start than the previous day, and had a longer walk.
As we approached Melinde, we crossed over a stone bridge and then got into the city. We stopped at one place that looked good, and they served burgers. When they came out, I was amazed that the bun was probably 7-8 inches in diameter, and about 4-5 inches thick. The burger was only slightly smaller. We ate late, maybe around 1:30, and so we knew we were going to be late getting to Arzua.
At one point, two women were passing, and I noticed that they were Americans, and we ended up chatting for a while. They wanted to go at a faster pace than us, so after a while they said goodbye and moved on ahead.
We ended up running into that large group of students again, or perhaps a similar but different group. It was dusty behind them, so we tried to get ahead of them during one of their rest stops, and then stopping for some ice-cream, and letting them pass by.
The second half dragged horribly. Probably by km 25 we were both done in and ready to reach the end. Of course, we just had to continue.
I screwed up a bit when we got to Azua. We were supposed to call the hotel, which was a mile or two off the Camino, and they would pick us up. I figured that the pickup point was at the center of town, so when we got there, I looked up the directions. It turns out that we were supposed to call them when we first entered the town, maybe a mile earlier.
We had been hoping to get there by 5, but we didn't get there until about 6:15.
When we got to the place, it looked really nice. It had a much better vibe than the previous night's place. As I said before, the guy at the front desk spoke English.
When we checked in, there was no sign of our suitcases. I figured that with the good service this place is known for, they probably already brought them to our cottage. When we got there, however, there was sign of them there either.
I went back to reception and eventually found the guy. He was very nice and said that he would call our (local) tour company and straighten things out. It was going to take a while, as he had to call the tour company (after hours) and then wait for them to call him back. I'm guessing that they would then need to talk to the taxi company, and then unwind the phone call.
I had been planning to take a shower, change my clothes, and then go to dinner at 7:15 (they had a very large party showing up at 7:30). The lack of clean clothing scuttled those plans. We debated whether we should try to reschedule dinner later, but we decided to just go to dinner dressed as we were.
Dinner was very good, although Sam was too full for dessert. Halfway through dinner, we were pleasantly surprised that the large group included the two women that I had been talking to. They recognized us and said hi. It seemed to be a very small world.
During dinner, they told us that our luggage had arrived and would be waiting in our room. While I had dessert, Sam went back to the room and took a shower. After I finished dinner, I went back, talked to Amy for a while, and then took my shower.
The one thing that is lacking in our room is a desk. So I am out on the patio at a small table there, writing this up. It is pleasantly cool out here. I needed to wear my sweatshirt. While I was typing this up, I was listening to some really strange bird squawking. I think it was, despite the name, a mute swan.
It is now 11pm, so I need to get back to the room, brush my teeth, and hit the sack.
The night was interesting. The heating / cooling said "don't touch". After dinner, I opened the window while I went out on the patio to type this up. When I got back, I thought that leaving the windows open all night might make it too cold, and it might let in too much noise, so I closed it.
They had a sheet and a thin comforter, which was a promising sign. When I first crawled under the covers, I thought that I might be too cold, but I quickly warmed things up, and I decided that I would be a little too warm.
That ended up being the pattern of the night: I would be bit too warm, wake up roll over, try to adjust myself to cool off a bit, and then fall back asleep. At least when I was semi-awake, I was aware that I was slightly sweaty.
I would have thought that being warm like this would have ruined my sleep, but it ended up being the first time in weeks that I slept through the night. It was an amazing experience.
We screwed up the alarm, however. We planned to get up, go to breakfast, and then get ready to leave/walk. We had the alarm set to 6:45 from when breakfast was at 7:00, but here the breakfast started at 7:30. I realized this after the alarm went off, so we lay in bed until 7:15 and then got up.