Last night at dinner, we sat next to two other American women. They were mother and daughter and were absolutely the sweetest and most rambunctious ladies in the place. Francie, the mother, was a wine lover, so she wasn’t quite satisfied with the singular bottle of wine that our table had to share. She somehow convinced a Spanish girl at our table to collect bottles of wine from the other hostel guests. All around the table, we took turns sharing our county’s drinking-chants and salutations. Our table sat around laughing hysterically until the owners actually had to ask us to leave. The wine put us straight to sleep afterward, but also caused us to sleep in until far after the other pilgrims had left.
Again, we needed turtle time, so we left without the friends we’d made. Our walk took us along a beautiful sandy beach as the morning sun glinted off the sea. Our feet felt confined by our leather boots, so we decided to take off our shoes and walk barefoot in the cold Atlantic. We passed by several surfing schools that paddled through the waves with colorful wetsuits. The ribs of wet sand helped massage our sore feet and sunken arches.
Walk along the beach with no shoes
At the end of the beach we caught a huge ferry. We met a young German tourist that actually referred to himself as “the German tourist,” in perfect English. Literally everyone we meet speaks English, so we haven’t gotten many chances to speak Spanish recently. The fact that Europeans are all required to learn English really amazes me. In fact, most Europeans know several different languages. I wish I knew a second language even half as well as they know their third or even forth languages. Because of them, I wish to take some language classes upon my return to the United States. To me, there is seriously so much importance behind linguistics.
We went for lunch with some older Dutch citizens we had met along the Camino. One guy asked a pretty strange question, “What do you like better about Europe, and what do you like better about the U.S.?” To this we answered that we appreciated how much time Spanish people spent relaxing and socializing while sharing meals, as eating here seems to be a festive activity rather than a quick chore like it often seems to be in the U.S. I then told him that I believe the United States trumps Europe when it comes to our laws regarding ADA-Accessibility Guidelines. To this he replied, “I liked the nature in the U.S., but not the people. They seemed ignorant.” This comment really through me for a loop. Personally, dude, by thinking everyone in my country is ignorant, you are taking the cake in terms of ignorance. Aria had to tell me to back down.
We checked into the Santander hostel with all our friends, quickly collected our things, and headed to the beach. Francie, her daughter Norah, Aria and I all shared my tapestry on the hot sand. Robert, the German tourist had tagged along with us. He awkwardly sported whitey-tighties that he admitted were much too small as he forgot to try them on before purchasing. We fell asleep after taking a quick dunk in the polar ice-water. All feeling a little toasted by the afternoon sun, we beat the heat and ordered Sangrias in an awned outdoor restaurant.
Once back at the hostel, a sweet Polish guy we had met the night before came into our bunk room to chat. He had long wavy hair that passed his knees and wore khaki-colored linen garments from head to toe. Robert asked him if he was going to Woodstock, to which he replied that he’d never heard of it. He was so nice, but so obviously homeschooled. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with homeschooling, as we tried to homeschool for about a year, I’m just saying you can always tell when someone has been homeschooled their entire life. He cracked open a moleskin sketchbook to reveal hundreds of laminated four-leaf-clovers. He noted that he had found them all on his hike today and we were all taken aback. I’ve never even found a single four-leaf-clover in my life let alone finding hundreds in the period of a 4-hour walk. This Polish boy was a mythical creature, quite possibly a leprechaun. He gave each of us a special laminated clover and thanked us for being his friends.
As a large group, we went out for dinner and beers, but had to be back in the albergue by 10pm to meet the lock-out curfew. Yes, at every albergue we have a curfew, and yes I’ve been having flashbacks to middle school although I don’t even think I had a curfew during middle school. We were all quite vocal as we came in, causing some other pilgrims on the porch to violently ask us to keep it down. Though we stopped talking, out rickety beds squeaked horrible as we all adjusted to get comfortable. Literally even when I took a deep breath sometimes, my bed screeched and woke me up. Hands down, to this date, it was the worst sleep I’ve had in my life.