Spain is seemingly a late bloomer when it comes to technological advances in order to keep neck-and-neck with the rest of the world. Hardly any businesses accept cards here, so the credit card that my banker talked me into getting has been virtually useless. He assured me that leaving my debit card at home was the safest option, but failed to mention that I needed a pin to use this credit card. The pin just so happens to only be available by snail-mail. Basically, the whole thing has been a huge hassle, so Aria has had to bare most of our expenses. We’ve been forced to use an ATM far more often than we’d expected and today, she looked at her bank notice and realized that her bank is charging over 10% for transaction fees–that was a horrible realization.
I’ve been paying with my credit card as often as possible, but it’s usually only on rare occasions where we go to a really fancy restaurant or hotel. Since we’ve all been traveling together, we’ve been trying to take turns getting the bill because the waiters often won’t split the bill. Antwon seems to always owe us money because we’ve paid for the more expensive items with my card. He’s had to buy us breakfast, lunch and dinner the last few days because he’s so far in debt. He also seems to have either expensive taste, or a poor comprehension of value.
As per usual, we were the very last three to leave the albergue. If Aria and I were traveling alone, it would be a different story. We stopped for breakfast at the only outdoor cafe we could find and ordered coffees and a few small breakfast tapas to share. Here, we saw the Idaho girl for the last time because she was planning on hiking the primitive path to Santiago. Some people prefer the primitive path because none of it is paved and it only stops in small Spanish-speaking villages. I, however, prefer stopping in bigger coastal cities where there’s lots of shopping, activities and people.
Originally, as called for by the book, we were supposed to end up in Gijon. When we planned the trip, we thought we’d be be able to make the over-50km trek, but now that we’d gotten the hang of things, we knew it would be practically impossible. For most of us walkers, we’ve discovered that anything over 25 kilometers is really insane and painful. We got into a really deep conversation about the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States, so the walk went by really fast. It’s about time that the United States got on board with most of Europe in finally respecting the fact that love IS love. Wahoo!!
When we arrived in Villavivicosa, we walked into the first albergue we saw. The man at the desk was very stiff and the place looked like a cramped office-building. We didn’t like the vibes of the place, so we decided to look around the city more. Our guidebook told us about a cheap hotel in the city, but it was very dark and gloomy with religious art that looked like it was made to inspire fear rather than faith. Luckily, we came across a cute little hostel that was located over a courtyard with a fountain. It was very well-lit with sunlight, and had huge open windows that let the fresh air flow through.
The woman that ran the hostel told us about her favorite restaurant in the city and we set off on a mission to find it. She said it was a traditional “home-style cooking” restaurant that we wouldn’t be disappointed with. When we found the place, it was bustling with locals and huge plates of delicious-looking food. Antwon, being the avid smoker that he is, hated the fact that we could only done inside so he left us almost as soon as we walked in. Aria and I stayed to enjoy the menu del dia. Our meal included potato and tuna-fish salad, steak and chicken paella, roasted lamb over crispy fries and homemade flan pudding.
Some people we were traveling with had told us that because of all the bread, cheese and jamon they’d been eating, they hadn’t pooped in over 12 days. Seriously, when you ask for vegetables here, they bring you a sandwich with a small slice of tomato on it. Tomato isn’t even a vegetable for heaven’s sake! We decided to go on poopy patrol. We bought prune applesauce, prunes, flax seeds, plain greek-yogurt, peaches, kiwis and a Spanish-knock-off version of “Smooth Move” tea that featured a very awkward diagram of how it worked on the front. We’re now known as the doctors of smooth moves, and were charging for our consulting services.