Aria and I awoke early, ready to binge eat the free food at the buffet. We tried to wake Antwon, but told us to let him sleep. He was being a little butt-head and I accidentally called him Aaron, my brothers name, when I snapped back at him. He’s officially reached adopted-little-brother status, and now I finally understand how my mom always confuses our names when she’s scolding us. The smorgasbord, however, was just too incredible to leave the little one sleeping so we woke him up again. There was every kind of breakfast food you could imagine, and more. They even offered eight different kinds of coffee! We’ve been missing the typical American breakfast the entire trip, so we tried our luck making an Egg McMuffin. Ours were far better if I do say so myself. We used huge freshly baked croissant, a thick layer of soft cheese, a slice of tortilla (Spanish omelette with eggs, potatoes, peppers and asparagus), and layers of crispy bacon and sausage.
We had to sit in silence for a few minutes because we were so full that we couldn’t digest and talk at the same time. We stuffed a few fruits into our pockets, picked up our bags, and hit the road. It was an amazing coastal walk for much of the 21 kilometers that we traveled. We passed several seaside villages on our way. Being a Sunday, hundreds of families gathered for picnics along the beaches and the smell of grilled meats floated in the hazy air. As we walked the beaches, we noticed a distinct order that the families followed: grill, eat, drink, nap, wake up and start grilling again. The Spanish culture and leisure life definitely revolves around food.
After a long stretch of beach that teased us with sun, sand and waves, we made it to the small town of La Isla. We followed the yellow arrows to a little white house in the middle of the city where a grumpy old woman, after ten minutes of knocking, finally answered the door and scolded us in Spanish. We were all a little weary from the days trek, so none of us were able to understand her rapid speech about the hostel. She threw up her hands, huffed at us and screeched, “dios mio” as she slammed the bottom half of her door on us. A man that heard the conversation called her back out and asked her to stay tranquil and understand that most people on the Camino don’t know much Spanish. She nodded, but kept snarling and barking at us as we entered our information into her check-in book. She was absolutely horrible. Don’t open your doors to visitors if you’re going to act so disagreeable!
Aria and I took a small walk down to the beach to cool our nerves after our run-in with the grinch. We melted in the sun a little before heading back to the hostel. Upon our arrival, a woman came running to us screaming our names in excitement. Francie, the American woman we left in Santander, had caught up with us. However, she had taken a bus that cut off several days of walking, so we didn’t feel like we were feeling lapped. This time she was traveling with her best friend/walking buddy she had met at the age of five. It’s always great to find people you’ve journeyed with after losing them for a while and thinking you may never see them again.
A cute little blonde girl dressed in funky hippy-harem-pants joined our happy reunion ceremony in the bunk room. She slyly looked at us and said, “you must me the Idaho girls!” We had heard that she was on our tails the entire trip, and she had heard about us as well. For the first few days of the Camino, when we said we were from Idaho, most people replied with something like, “Oh Ohio?” or, “Where’s Idaho?” By the second week, people were answering, “Jeez! Everyone is from Idaho!!” We were more confused about the later statement than we were about people’s lack of knowledge about Idaho being a state. Now we knew why everyone thought everyone was from Idaho. Within three walking days of each other, there were five Idaho girls doing the Camino!
We needed some girl time and lots of wine. Though Antwon was with us, I’m not sure how much of the fast-paced English conversation he actually understood. We all talked about our lives leading up to the Camino and about our plans for after the Camino was finished. On a dime, the other girl from Idaho decided that she’s moving to Spain as soon as she possibly can to teach English. As we talked, Francie kept pouring us wine. The bottle seemed bottomless, but it was actually because Francie kept pulling bottles out of her purse. She swore she wasn’t an alcoholic and I swore to drunk that I wasn’t God.
The wine put us all straight to sleep when we got back to the hostel though we were all a little giggly and got shushed a few times as we walked in. I woke up several times during the night to the sound of someone choking. I looked around the porch to see where it was coming from, but suddenly the sound does down. Again, when it was light in the bunk-room someone started snoring and then choking. It really startled me at first, but Francie’s friend turned to me and told me the man was fine, he just had sleep apnea. Then I heard crunching coming from the same direction as the asphyxiation. The man had rolled over to find his bedtime supply of Oreo cookies. He was clutching the cookie package in one arm and his pillow with the other. You see and hear some really weird things on the hostel porches.