Cigarettes on Cigarettes:

Since we were stationed between two beautiful beach towns, we decided to only walk 11 kilometers to the town of Santona. Some pilgrims we met from Tennessee were making fun of us for slacking, but we have 42 days to complete the Camino, and thus might as well take our time and enjoy ourselves. No need to rush the trip. The first seven kilometers were along a paved Boardwalk that wrapped around a crescent-shaped beach. The ocean breeze and the morning sun helped to guide us along our way.

At the end of the sandy peninsula, we were told to cross the small canal on a ferry. The tide had receded far below the boat docks where we were supposed to catch our ride. Instead, the ferry-driver, a man with tiny grey pegs for teeth, drove his little white boat straight up onto the beach. He unloaded three bikes and his passengers, took our money, and scooted back across the canal. We wanted to find some typical American breakfast food, but this is impossible in Spain. We settled for a 3-euro “peregrino” (pilgrim) breakfast instead. This was an interesting Spanish tortilla (quiche) because it was sliced like bread, spread with mayonnaise and stacked with meats and vegetables.

The albergue in Santona was quite unique compared to the others we had stayed in thus far. It was designated as a youth hostel. I think the building was similar to a YMCA because there were many sports activities going on within it. There were also many summer-camp children that were constantly running around the facility. At first we were told that all the beds were taken by the kids, but then the host showed us out the back door to a series of massive green sleeping tents. We set up camp across from our friends and made sleeping nests on the floor.

Since it started off as a really sunny day, we planned a short walk so that we could all head to the beach for a day of relaxation and playing in the waves. Atila was quite obsessed with surfing and wanted to pass the torch on to all of us. We were going to rent surfboards and try out our sea-legs for the first time. However, when we got to the beach, again the sun went behind the clouds and the wind picked up. I swear every time we plan a beach day, the weather decides to act against us.

We huddled under my tapestry to get out of the wind and decided against surfing. The boys noticed our unshaven legs and felt the need to comment on the matter. A retort was not hard, however, considering that they were also very hairy humans. From the looks of their thick dark chest hair, I told them that the Turks were missing their carpets. To this, they said, “I don’t get you,” so I had to explain the joke to them. Once they understood, their laughter could have been heard far and wide.

The boys really didn’t have a filter on them considering they also asked Aria whether she was jealous of my boobs. That was an awkward situation for all parties involved and we told them that there are certain things that are not allowed to be said aloud. Over the last few days, we had watched the two Frenchmen roll their own cigarettes several times. Though I had no interest in smoking, I asked if they’d teach me how to roll. Antwon sat beside me and tried to coach me through the process. He made it look much easier than the actual task at hand. Cigarette-rolling in the wind turned out to be quite an art–one I could not accomplish despite my efforts.

We left the Frenchies at the beach and walked back to the hostel. Of course, just as we were leaving the beach, the sun decided to show itself again. Once to the YMCA/hostel, we rented kayaks and tried to race each other to the beach where the ferry had picked us up earlier that day. Though we didn’t get much walking in, at least we worked on our arms. We ate a free communal dinner with the other pilgrims, got ready for bed and headed to our sleeping tents. Just as we were about to fall asleep, Antwon burst into our tent wearing only his boxers and a creepy white mask. He was bummed that we didn’t scream, but his French accent and the way his body was flapping around in front of us was far too funny to cause fright.

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