|Classic Camino sign: arrows pointing in opposite directions|
Well, I did something I probably shouldn't have done last night -- I splurged on a hotel. I could've walked a couple more kilometers to a town that was having a festival, a festival that maybe only happens once a year, but I couldn't be bothered. Before I knew it I had handed a piece of plastic to the woman at the reception and in return she handed me another piece of plastic, and her piece of plastic opened up a beautiful clean, cozy, warm room that was all my own. For one night.
I justified the hotel room purchase by the fact that since the little town was having a festival I could very well get there and there be no lodging available (backtracking is out of the question), and also by telling myself I would work an extra two hours this week to make up for it. Which means I spent a good deal of my time at the beautiful little hotel working, though this was fine because I was tired as a dog from walking all day and didn't exactly want to go out and dance the cha cha or run wind-sprints. I did go for a stroll though., and Getaria is a nice little town. At around 5pm like clockwork the inhabitants make their way to the public areas, parks and plazas, so their kids can play and run around and scream (sometimes in Basque, sometimes intelligibly). During this time I walked down to the ocean, watched the swell rolling in and a fisherman with a rod about 20ft long trying his luck (in my life I've seen ONE person fishing from the shore actually catch something, and it was about five days ago in France), and then stopped in the main cathedral for which the town is somewhat known, possibly because the floor is slanted or because it seems to take up about half the city center. On my way home I went grocery shopping and bought some corn on the cob, some arugula, yoghurt, an avocado, and some peanuts. The body wants what it needs, and apparently my body really wanted arugula. The women working in the store were speaking Basque, which was nice to hear. Since saying the first day how I had heard no one speaking Basque I have since heard it quite a bit.
One thing I noticed after being in the hotel for about an hour, lying on the bed and generally letting my body slip into a state of torpor, was that my left hip started to seize up like an un-oiled Lada engine. This was startling, since your hips are a fairly critical component for walking. If it was my pinky I could ignore it, but everthing that's important for walking and keeping your self upright and passably homosapien is somehow connected to the hip. And mine felt like it had just turned into cement. I realized, upon reflection, that it probably had to do with the waist strap I was tightly cinching around it to take weight off my shoulders. When I woke up it still felt pretty stiff, so I walked most of the day just using the shoulder straps, which of course meant that by about the 15th kilometer it felt like someone had thieved the Swiss Army Knife out of my sidepocket and driven it directly into my shoulders. Luckily, today's walk was short. Also luckily, my feet are still blister free (knock on wood). And with blister-free feet, I feel like I shouldn't really complain.
The town I made to today is called Deba. It's small beach town of about 5,000 people, the last beach town before the Camino juts inland towards Bilbao. At the tourist office the woman informed me that there's a shelter only for peregrinos, and that it costs five euros. This is wonderful, the only slight downside being that there's no WIFI which means in order to work tonight I have to wait until the Spaniards wake up from their afternoon naps and go on a little bit of an internet wild goose chase. It's annoying to have to work, but then again if I didn't have the job I currently have I wouldn't even be doing this right now. So who am I to complain. The one thing I WILL complain about is how there's no one else in this hostel. Which means another night of talking to myself and staring listleslly out the window. However, I know if there was someone here the only thing that would be running through my head is, "Are they going to snore are they going to snore are they going to snore am I going to want to kill them" so I should probably just revel in the solitude.
I've walked about 70km so far, and have about 798 to go. Tomorrow's walk to Markina-Xemein will apparently reveal "the Basque Country's other face: mountainous, wooded, bathed in shadows, but also much more demanding and, at the sime time, singular and beautiful." (my crappy translation).