Today was all about getting closer to the finish. Look how close we are! 1% left to go.
We walked through more hamlets and farms with the now ubiquitous gumtrees,
but I was more occupied by the distance markers than usual. We got down to 20km…
then to 19kms…
… then to the 12kms mark (at the end of Santiago’s airport runway! We will walk the last ten kms tomorrow.
A reflection: The Camino is noisy.
So I’ve been mulling over whether or not to share some of our more unusual experiences…. it is all about noise.
Mostly the noise is delightful. School kids playing, shouting to each other, laughing and being cheeky, or the elderly ladies congregating in the local square for coffee and cake. They are like a flock of birds, laughing, interrupting, demanding… gossiping. Noisy but entertaining. And then the noisy pilgrims, chatting with each other, swapping stories, laughing at jokes, talking politics, talking about The Clown (Camino speak for Trump). Then there are the local men, talking across the bar to each other, cutting through the hum of drop-in pilgrims. All noise. All ok.
…and then there is noise you don’t want. It starts with a quiet breathiness. She gets a bit louder, more rhythmic, more urgent.. OMG, we think. Now the thumping begins, regular but getting more urgent. She is louder now, oh, oh, oh, louder, faster. The thumping has increased. She is loud now and saying, …por favor. What? We sit up in bed? Is this for real? Is she saying stop or keep going? Is she spent or just warming up? He is working hard. A bit of rest and off it goes again. Louder, harder, faster. Rest. Again. Louder, harder, faster. The young men across the courtyard are staring directly across to our neighbours, agog. They are just as shocked. Being witness to the event hasn’t slowed the performance. Off they go again. They never reach nirvana! Just thumping and oh-ing. My assessment? She was faking it. He was trying really hard, and all they got out of it was mutual chaff!
Or how about a metal bed on a tile floor? As the activity builds, the bed starts banging, then grinding against the tiles, then screeching as it bounces along directly above you in the pension. She is a moaner this time, in fact, we weren’t quiet sure if she was just one moaner or possibly two. Moaning occurred in two different keys. Two hours of grinding and screeching.
But perhaps the most disturbing was my free ride. I’m not 100% sure, but lying in the bottom bunk, I started to feel like the young man above me was scratching… but it started to increase in speed. My bunk was along for the ride. Faster, faster. Stop. Phew. Nope. Off again. Carefully, then more urgently. My bed is moving with the beat. I’m moving with the beat. I’ve a free ride on a young man’s own adventure. And I’m in a convent albergue. Finally it is over. I vow to never to sleep in a convent again.
The Camino is noisy.