Backing Out:

Even though this hostel was really cute and clean, I didn’t sleep a wink the entire night. I don’t know when seagulls ever sleep because their incessant squaking was heard all night through the large open windows. It sounded like they had found dead fish carcasses that they all wanted ownership of and they’d fight to the death to keep it. The garbage truck loitered in the alley outside for far longer than a normal garbage pick-up should take. Then I swear the street-sweeper vehicle was doing doughnuts and wheelies right outside my window for over an hour. Need I mention the surround-sound snoring that I was blessed with? I’ve had it with sleeping in hostels, or should I say not sleeping in hostels? I was crankier than I’ve ever felt.

Though I didn’t sleep, I had some lucid dreams where I could kind of control the plot. I dreamed that I found Melatonin and that it magically gave me the gift of being able to sleep through the entire night. We’ve been searching for a hardware store where we can buy duct tape since we ran out. I made sure that we found a hardware store and were overjoyed in my dream. Surprisingly, duct tape is FAR more effective at preventing blisters than the over-priced name-brand mole skin that we bought. I dare any hikers out there to STOP giving in to the system. Use the lifetime supply of duct tape that’s laying around in your garage instead! I woke myself up for good after my lucid dreams took me back into bedbug land. Not today, Satan!

Since I was in a bad mood, I apologized to Aria, in advance, for any offensive things I might say. We’ve both gotten in the habit of doing this because we’ve never both slept well on a single occasion. It’s easy to snap at each other when you’re sleep deprived, overheated from the day’s hike, limping because of blisters, hungry, thirsty, or annoyed by the weight of your backpack. Sometimes you really just wanna take off your backpack and huck it into the bushes, or possibly off an ocean cliff. It’s good to let each other know that it’s the situation, not the other person, that you’re feeling aggression towards.

We’ve been now hiking for over two weeks and we both decided that, truly, we’ve seen what we came to see on the Northern coast of Spain. If we quit now, we’d miss what? Another cute little fishing village, another rocky ocean view, another pueblo with red roofs that contrasted with the green landscape? We made a verbal list of what our other options would be for the last two weeks of our vacation. Ibiza was at the forefront of our list because how great would it be to enjoy Spain’s version of the Vegas experience? We were so close to backing out, but we thought about how lame the ending of our story would be. “Yeah… I tried to do the Camino once… But I didn’t finish it.” We convinced each other to keep trekking. Every long walk must have its almost-backed-out moments.

After mentally deciding that we had to finish the trip, the world, again tried to test us. We were on the edge of a cornfield in the middle of who-knows-where when we came upon a set of stairs. The bottom step of the stairs was adjacent to a one-lane tunnel. We reached the bottom step and as Aria took a step forward, a car randomly whipped around the corner and through the tunnel. I grabbed Aria and yanked her back as the car screeched on the breaks. The woman in the car threw her face into her hands realizing that she was within inches of splattering two humans across her windshield. Just after this rush of adrenalin wore off, we walked past a woman gardening in her yard. She had left her gate open and her massive Doberman pincher came bounding out after us snarling with his exposed teeth. We ran backwards screaming bloody murder as the nasty thing chased us. The woman’s cries finally distracted the dog, but with the look on her face, it was obvious that she thought her dog was going to attack us as much as we did.

On our walk through the town of Navia on our way to the hotel, we decided on a restaurant that we’d come back to. Of course, their kitchen was closed from 4-8pm “between” the lunch and dinner hours. I will never get used to eating so late because frankly, it’s not optimally healthy. Our bodies are meant to digest before we sleep, not to do both at the same time. We settled for the only restaurant that was open, but it was really good. At first we were irked by the massive fried stack of whole fish they brought us, with fins, faces and even little teeth. We ate them all, except one that really scared us because it looked pregnant. The best part of the meal was the Flan de Cafe. Usually flan is made of eggs, but this one was made of coffee, cream and eggs. This alcohol-soaked dessert was the exact topping we needed on the perfect meal.

Since there were no Albergues in Navia, we found a relatively cheap hotel room for €50. Surprisingly, we’ve been spending a lot less on lodging than we had originally budgeted for. Every online resource said to budget between €15-20 per person per night, but most Albergues have ranged from €5-10. Since we’re saving so much money, we’ve splurged a few times on hotels rather than hostels. In the private hotel room, I took a soak in the tub. I’ve never liked baths so much in my life before this trip. I ended my night by diving under the crisp clean sheets. There’s almost no better feeling than freshly showered skin and cold sheets.

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