an idiot in spain

santiago diaries

Tuesday, 19th September.
The day the rain came

We copped another snorer last night. And it was another Brazilian! Before I started the Camino I thought I was a pretty mean snorer, but these guys are showing me that I'm just a pretender in the snoring stakes.

There was no escaping from this snorer. He was a big bloke, and he was snoring flat out, line and length, not breaking stride. Barb got the giggles, I just couldn't believe what I was hearing. After a while Barb got up and put her earplugs in, but they were no match for this fella. We had endured about half-an-hour of his grating snoring when I muttered something very Victor Meldrew-like and jumped out of bed. I walked over to his bunk, and started poking him in the side, hoping he would either roll over or wake up. Stop snoring, at any rate.

He didn't respond to the prodding. I was poking him pretty hard, too. So I shook his leg, again no result. There was no waking our snorer. Dismayed, I returned to bed. After he'd been snoring for an hour or so (non-stop!) he ceased.

It was cold when we started out this morning, and we could see ominous grey clouds gathering on the horizon. Soon enough it started to rain. The girls were wearing shorts, Dave and I had trousers on. The girls had ponchos, Dave and I had waterproof jackets.

We stopped at a bar in a small village not long after. The girls were freezing and drenched, and Dave's waterproof jacket wasn't waterproof at all. I was fine. Although there was a little leak in my backpack. Unlike the time I went hiking in Wales with a little leek in my backpack. (boom boom!)

After a wretched walk we arrived in San Juan de Ortega - a two-bit town if ever there were one. We didn't receive too warm a reception at the refugio, and made our way to the stark dormitories.

There were only cold showers at the refugio, so we decided to go without. The toilets reeked. I predicted that my nostrils would be in for a battering tomorrow morning when I have my early morning dump, because there's no way known I can hold my breath for that long.

We were bored. We ate lunch at the shitty bar next door, then returned to the refugio for a siesta.

The rain subsided during the afternoon, and I ventured out into the blustery streets (there were only two) of San Juan de Ortega to see what I could find.

2 dogs, 2 water fountains, and a population of six. Including the fat bastards that ran the local bar.

We tried sitting outside, but even when the sun was out it was too cold for reclining in the delightful town of San Juan de Ortega.

So we adjourned to the bar, where most of the people who had the misfortune to be staying at the refugio could be found. There was a small tv at the bar, and there was bullfighting on tv! Posing, theatrics, blood. We felt sorry for the bull, getting softened up by every man and his dog first of all, then some tiny-hipped spaniard wearing tight pants would come out and finish him off. But there was nothing else to do but watch.

A rumour had gone around the refugio that there was soccer on at 8pm, and everyone was excited at the prospect. But when we returned to the bar to eat whatever slop they were serving up for dinner and watch the game, they told us that they wouldn't let us watch tv, because the game finished after the refugio closed. And we wouldn't be allowed into the refugio after it closes. Glad they made that decision for us, since we were all quite obviously incapable of taking responsibility for our own actions.

When it became apparent that there was going to be no soccer, we ordered "dinner". "Chicos y chicas," the fat son said to us as we waddled over to take our orders. Noelle had the temerity to ask for something that wasn't on the menu: bread and some olive oil. This was too much for Fat Boy, who said that if it wasn't on the menu you couldn't have it. Despite the fact that all their bocadillos (sandwiches) were quite obviously made with bread and whatever filled the bocadillos was drenched with olive oil. A diabolical end to a diabolical day.