an idiot in spain

santiago diaries

Friday, 22nd September.
The snorer from hades

Last night I slept next to the snorer from hell. No amount of prodding, or yanking on his pillow could stop the cacophony from the beast slumbering next to me. The bloke on the bunk beneath him was snoring as well. And at one stage Dave, who was sleeping in the bunk below me, cranked it up as well! It was a living hell. And he was a tease of a snorer too: he'd stop for about ten seconds, just long enough for me to think that it was over, and then he'd start again. I guess I could've pushed him out of bed, but it's a bit of a drop from the top bunk.

Hontanas is a funny old town. It was early afternoon when we arrived, the town dead in the baking heat. We checked in at the refugio, had a shower, did some washing. Noelle and I went to the bar down the street (the only other thing in the town) to see if we could buy some food.

The bar was musty and dimly lit. Wine skins hung from the rafters. Out of this panorama filled with shades of brown leered an ugly, wrinkly, grubby looking barman. As our eyes adjusted to the dark, we could make out framed photos on the walls of the barman drinking from various vessels. Vessels not unlike the strangely shaped things at either end of the bar. We exchanged raised eyebrows (Noelle, I'd like mine back now please) and approached the bar.

All we wanted was some food. Well, he told us that he wouldn't serve us food, and the only way we were going to get food would be to go to the next town. We left his unhygenic den and back out into the dusty main drag of Hontanas.

Well, we were in a bind. We could buy dinner at the refugio, but then we wouldn't have any food for breakfast. We'd eaten nearly all our food. And the next town was a fair walk away. Suddenly loud honking echoed through the streets. A bread van perhaps? We scampered off in the direction of the honking, only to find that it was a fish van. Rats.

Noelle and I resolved that we had to walk to the next town (Castrojeriz) otherwise we were going to be hungry little pilgrims tomorrow. We broke the news to Dave and Barb. They weren't too happy. We decided to rest for a while, and then hit the road. Again.

While the others rested I had a conversation with a French bloke who was resting outside the refugio. He was a rare breed. He had been to Santiago, and was now on his way back home. Once upon a time that was the norm, but these days it is certainly the exception.

The clock had ticked past 4:30pm when we set out again, our semi-dried washing strapped to our backpacks. Dave had more washing than any of us, Washing Man was born! The afternoon heat was unkind, and we were greatly relieved when we started winding through the streets of Castrojeriz. Then someone started singing. Hmm, who would that have been?

Why do you build me up?

Build me up

Buttercup baby

Just to let me down

Let me down

And mess me around...