The next day I decided to deviate from my guide book for the first time, the planned hike was 28km and the next day was to be 30km, I decided that since I had the time I wanted to just split the days up and walk three days instead of two. So I walked only 18.6km to Viana, it meant I got there a little earlier than if I had gone the extra 10km that was planned in the book but I am battling blisters and the arch on my right foot is getting really sore by the end of the day so I figured a little shorter walk would do me good. The place I (and Andrea and a girl we had stayed with in Los Arcos, Adina, from Hungary) went to was the parish alburgue, it was donativo, which means you donate what you can, my guide book suggests at least five euros and more if you can. It was very basic, one shower and toilet each for women and men. Also the sleeping area consisted of two rooms with no beds, just two inch thick mats on the floor. For me if wasn’t much different than the way I slept at the research site in Borneo but it really surprised the other two women. That afternoon I spent wandering the small city, I found the other alburgue which was the municipal one, and it looked much more modern with better facilities, but it was only one night and I had wanted to try out the parroquial alburgues at least once so it was fine for me.
For dinner I went with Andrea and Adina to a place they had enjoyed for lunch. They wanted to order tapas, later I found out (and I had already guessed this but didn’t want to be confrontational since it seemed Adina hated being wrong) that they are not called tapas, they are called pinxtos (pinchos). The difference being that you pay for pinxtos and tapas are ‘gratis’ free with the order of a drink. Anyway, they were delicious and filling. I felt bad that we did not eat dinner with the other pilgrims at the parish and this is when I decided I really should go my own way again so I could make sure I wasn’t missing out on the things I wanted to do because of the influence of others. At this point I had also become tired of being the one the others had started to rely on for spanish translation when my spanish is really poor, it was stressful and I felt bad if I couldn’t figure out the spanish for them and they became frustrated. But the universe had other plans for me I guess.
The next day was my birthday and the thing I wanted most I could not have (I wanted Mike to be able to spend my birthday with me), so the thing I wanted next was all I could realistically strive for: a good nights sleep. The next town was 21km away and the next town was just too far so again I ended up at the same place as Andrea and Adina (also Francie since she decided to take a bus). I thought though that I could get some real sleep (i.e. sleep with no interruption by the roar of snoring) if I got a private room. Now I might have expected too much from a room that was 25 euros but I was expecting a private bathroom and actual blankets on the bed. What I got was a room without a bathroom that shared two paper thin walls with the room next door so I could hear every word of conversation from the pilgrims in the regular part of the alburgue. They paid 8 euros and I paid 17 more than them to just have a door, so no one could see me change I guess, I could’ve changed in the shower and saved the euros.
Although the room was a disappointment the town of Navarette was really cute, it had an old part of town with traditional stone buildings with stone chiseled crests and a view of the mountains that can really make you want to move here. I have to admit that I was probably not the most fun person to be around this day, I was tired, cranky, disappointed and when I tried to get on my iPad to skype with Mike to at least try to pull myself out of the little pile of self pity I was wallowing in I got a nasty little surprise. Since it had been a few days since I had charged the iPad there was some message about iCloud backup that popped up. No matter how many times I pressed the “OK” button the damn message would not go away and I couldn’t get anything else on the screen to work. I tried leaving the alburgue so it would disconnect from the internet, I tried going to a bar so it would connect to different internet, I tried pressing all sorts of combinations of buttons to maybe “control/alt/delete” that f-ing message from my screen. Then when Mike did try to call me through skype and I couldn’t answer I almost started to cry. I was alone in Spain and all I wanted was to talk to Mike, I just wanted to share my birthday with my best friend, instead I was stuck watching him try to call and I couldn’t even tell him why I couldn’t answer.
So the only thing I could think of was trying to use the ancient desk top computer the alburgue hospitalero had in the corner of the living room area. I paid him 1 euro and he plugged it in and started it up. The dust on it wasn’t super confidence enhancing but I thought I might be able to at least tell Mike through an email why I couldn’t answer his call. When I inquired if the video camera worked he said that it wouldn’t work with skype because skype was too new. Then he gave me a pair of headphones with a microphone which also looked too old for the new skype, my suspicions were confirmed. But once the computer finally booted up and I got on the internet I realized I could chat through skype so I sent Mike a message about my locked up iPad. Francie came down from her and Andrea’s private room (30 euros split between the two and they got a private bathroom and beds with blankets) she let me use her phone to actually skype call Mike. Mike (being amazing at everything) diagnosed the iPad’s problem from half a world away and I was able to fix it. So I was finally able to actually skype with him and even though I couldn’t be with him for my birthday I was just so incredibly thankful I at least got to talk to him. After my chat with Mike I was in soaring spirits.
That night Francie and I went to the church, it was really quite large and open on the inside. The organ was situated behind the pews on a raised platform that reached almost halfway to the ceiling. Behind the towering organ were cases with preserved clothing, books, and religious figurines. There were some real strange human figures in full length robes and masks with only the eyes cut out and pointed hats. I was shocked by this as the only time I have ever seen this costume is when learning about the Ku Klux Klan. I have no idea the significance of this costume to the catholic religion but it was interesting that it was so surprising to me but Francie, from Germany, did not give it even a second glance.
After a little stroll through history Francie and I went to the bar which was conveniently located across from the church. We went in at a busy time, people were coming in and ordering one drink and draining it and then leaving, headed to mass I guess. : ) haha. Anyway we ordered pinxtos and Francie got a glass of wine from Don Jacobea, a vineyard you pass on the way into town, since I had been getting stomach aches from red wine (a crime here in Spain, I know) I choose the ‘vino blanco’ but the white wine was sweeter than I like and it wasn’t as good as Francie’s ‘vino tinto’. Nevertheless the food was amazing and we had a good time.
Back to my “private room” and after journaling about the crazy range of emotions and events of my birthday I passed right out. I woke up a few times but not nearly as much as usual, so even though the room wasn’t as private as I would’ve liked it did help some with the snoring.