October 16, 2002
Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Belorado
|The wind kept up all afternoon.
Then, about 3 K from my destination, it started to rain again. I was so
frustrated that I just wanted to get through the day. So, I increased
my pace and practically ran the last part of the trip. It didn't matter
that my feet were hurting, I wanted a hot shower!
As if to make up for the day, the albergue was one of the best I have been in. It was beautiful, with nice bunk beds, pleasant sleeping quarters, new showers with plenty of hot water, and a small but attractive backyard garden. The dining room table had fresh apples and figs from the garden. But the best thing, it had a washer and dryer. The hospitero did my laundry for only 6 euros, for me a bargain.
Inga found a 5 euro note. No one claimed it so I suggested we get some wine for everybody. I came back with 3 bottles of rioja table wine, and sat down to talk with Rufino.
Rufino went to Germany 35 years ago where he met Inga; they married and had a family. She is now retired and he still works for Air France in Frankfurt. They have two children. I asked them if they were more German or Spanish. He said that his son was very Spanish but that his daughter was all German. I commented that they were just like the parents.
The congenial conversation continued at dinner. We were joined by Inga, Rudy, and Hugo. Hugo is married to Rudy's wife's sister. He is Swiss, but from a different part of Switzerland. His native tongue is Italian and he can pass in Spanish. So, I talked to Hugo and Rufino in Spanish, and Rudy in English. Rudy and Rufino would speak to Inga in German and translate back for me. It sounds complicated, but it was quite fluid and interesting. This has certainly been a week for connecting with people — mostly very congenial folk — willing and anxious to help each other and especially amenable to conversation.
[Editor's notes: This sounds like what Michener says in Iberia (p. 865) when he describes "… I had a sense of what … people experienced as they picked their way from town to town… finding occasionally at some monastery or hospital a friendship so warm as to reward them for all the hours of isolation."]