Since we planned on staying an extra day in Gijon, we all gladly slept in. We woke up to the 10am alarm that Antwon had set. Again, the fog had rolled over this beach-town, so we wouldn’t get our desired beach day, only a day of relaxation. Today was the day Antwon had to leave us and head back to France. It was a weird morning because we all knew we would have to part ways in the next couple of hours. You develop a special bond with people you meet and stay with along the Camino, so there was a definite gloom to our demeanors in knowing that the end was near.
We walked along the beach-front walk to find a cute little breakfast cafe. It seemed to be the old-man hangout spot because there were dozens of greying men sipping their coffee and reading the paper. Every headlining story has something to do with Greece pulling out of the Euro. Everyone here is really freaked out about the possibility. Just when all hope was lost in Spain’s Desayuno, this menu featured a typical American breakfast consisting of bacon, fried eggs and potatoes. We finally felt at home in this little diner.
We walked with Antwon in the direction of the highway heading back to France. He planned to “hobo,” as he called hitch-hiking, back to Versailles because the train was more than $200 euros on such short notice. When we got to a certain point, he stopped and looked at us with puppy-dog eyes and said, “Well, I guess this is where you leave me…” He asked us to make the goodbyes quick because he thought he was going to cry. We made him promise he’d visit Idaho as he hugged us and kissed us sweetly on the forehead. Goodbyes always get to me, and I’m a group-crier, so I’ll admit that I shed a few tears.
Aria and I walked back along the coast not saying a word for a few minutes. We were both deep in thought about how sad it was to find such a good friend only to loose him a few weeks later. Since we met him, we’d spent every waking hour with him. He became family and it was so sad to see him go, but we know we will see him again. We wandered back to the beach, or what used to be the beach, I should say. It was extremely high tide and the water had swallowed up every last inch of sand. The sun was out for once, so we laid out on the marble steps that led down to the water. We got a lot of disgusted looks, but I never really care here because I’ll never see any of these people again.
We purchased our favorite ice cream, burnt-cream, from a chain called “Regma.” It’s seriously the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted. We’ve indulged every time we’ve seen an open Regma stand, but it’s too many times to even specify. After ice cream, we took a nice walk to an old military fort and witnessed a few men trying to hang-glide off the nearby cliffs. There was a giant “art” piece at the top of the cliff. It was supposed to represent the Key to Gijon, but it looked more like a knight’s mask chopped in half. I bet the city’s taxpayers were unhappy about that “community revitalization” decision.
We passed a restaurant called the Taj Mahal on our way to drop Antwon off. He pointed to the sign and said, “I’ve been there!” To this Aria was extremely excited and asked, “Really? Was the food good?!” She is probably the most gullible human I’ve encountered in my life. Antwon had to specify that he’d been to the actual Taj Mahal, not this restaurant. We decided to check it out for a late lunch since everything else was closed for Siesta. The creamy chicken and the spinach and cheese dishes we ordered turned out to be the perfect combination of sweet and salty. The food was so divine that we actually contemplated going back later for dinner.
We got back to the room around 5pm and tried to toggle with the languages on the tv again. We dozed off into a deep slumber until much later than we’d expected. We both awoke around 10pm so I asked Aria if she wanted to go out and do something. More indian food was tempting, but our beds felt too good to leave. It was nice to have our own room with no chance of bed bugs, or worse, snoring men. After such a long day of hiking the day before, our bodies really needed the extra sleep.