High Speed Winds:

Though the calming sound of waves was heard all night, sleep did not come to us. We slept on the top floor of the albergue in hopes that we’d be hidden away from the snorers. The albergue was by donation, so there was no one there to make sure people got to bed at a decent hour. There were a bunch of people talking and laughing in the albergue until really late and the women bunking next to us kept angrily huffing, sitting up in her bed and peering over the balcony at the culprits. It was a little ironic considering she ended up snoring louder than any man in the place.

We’ve been leaving the Albergues later lately because we’ve found we sleep best during the morning hours after all the other noisy pilgrims are gone. Our walk was short, so there was no urgent rush to get out of bed. We came upon a surfing beach halfway through our afternoon hike. Since we only had a few days left on the coast, we immediately grasped the opportunity since it would be one of our last sunny beach days. After laying out, we realized this beach was great for surfing, but not so much for sunning ourselves. It was extremely windy and after about five minutes, there was no sign of our towels anymore because they were covered with the fine white dust. We found the fine grains to be completely impossible to wash out of our hair, and our bags probably weigh five more pounds from all the grit crammed in every crevice.

We woke up because the blowing sand was about to completely impede our breathing and because our tummies were rumbling. There was a restaurant on the nearby cliffs, so we walked across the beach to get there. Luckily, the building blocked the wind because it was hurdling sand up the curvature of the cliffs. The outdoor tent-structure seemed as if it were trying to take flight with every gust. We ordered grilled salmon and the ensalada mixta, a specialty I will definitely be bringing home with me. When we asked the price, she said french fries were free. However, the two baskets of bread she brought without asking whether we wanted it, she charged us for. When the bill came, I wanted to argue the price, but I didn’t really know how to go about it in Spanish, and on a full stomach it was just too much work.

The rest of our day’s walk was really short, but sweet since we hugged the coast for the most part. Again, we passed several construction zones where the road was caving into the ocean below. The cement had a scalloped edge formed by the land that disappeared into the sea. The hard surface broke away into layered steps that led down to the ocean, so we were never really sure of whether our footing would give way. It seems as if the ocean is trying to claim many areas along the Spanish coast.

The last kilometer of our walk was across a huge concrete bridge that spanned a channel where an inlet met the ocean. The guidebook said there were written historic accounts that said no one would cross this channel because it was always so rough. We understood those writings the moment we stepped onto the colossal bridge. Here, rather than simply throwing sand, the wind threw US back and forth between the guard-rails. It felt as if my backpack was getting ripped off my back, so I clung to my gear with all my might. The slack in the straps on my bag kept forcefully whipping me in the face and I actually feared for my life at a few instances. I felt like a pinball as I bounced between the metal bars on either side of me. The metal cage was too thin to actually meet safety protocol and the only thing standing between me and the ocean was a thigh-high steel bar.

The albergue was already full for the night, so we wandered into the city center to find a hotel. This was our very last coastal city, so we planned on staying here for two nights regardless of our accommodations. As we walked under the bridge we had just traversed, Aria was suddenly thrown into the middle of the road. It looked like she was sprinting across the street all of a sudden, but she said she was moved completely by a gust of wind. Again, she came within inches of being hit by a car that was zooming by. I swear those things are out to get her here!

We found a cheap hotel that our guidebook recommended and checked into the “social suite.” I’m not quite sure what gave it that name, because there were only two beds in the room. It was gloomy and dark inside with pea-green walls, mahogany furniture and corn colored upholstery. We were frustrated with the fact that our private bathroom wasn’t connected to our suite at all. In order to lock the room and bathroom doors, you had to take the entire keychain, provided by the management, and lock the door from the inside. The hallways were pitch black and I couldn’t even close my eyes in the shower because it was too creepy. I seriously got the feeling that someone had died in that bathtub.

Leave a Reply