Day 12: Alcuéscar to Valdesalor.

I’m sitting on the terrace of Bar Pimiento with a cafe con leche and some awful, good, salty chippy things that list several non-food ingredients and then say “may contain traces of celery.” Haha! Only if you’re lucky. Tonight’s albergue is actually the locker rooms of the football field. There’s a room for the chicos and a room for the chicas and hot clean showers and sports mats for mattresses spread out on the floor. Hurrah, fiesta! We’re eight now, and at full capacity for floor space and crash mats. There are some new faces: Kaori from Japan who I like already with her cheeky grin, great Spanish and traveling guitar strapped to her pack, and Elso, her sort of unlikely traveling companion, a Spanish man of a certain age with big white beard and no-nonsense pilgrim ways. And there are also Iñaki and Renato again.

This morning Letizia woke with one eye (a little scarily) half closed and a swollen hand from what we assume is an allergic reaction to insect bites. So the day has been flavoured with seeing – and waiting for – various medical people and nurses just trying to get a prescription for an antihistamine. Thankfully she’s feeling fine apart from a bit weird, so we’ve walked on and are now in this nondescript ‘planted’ pueblo, a cluster of us lurking around the town hall in the free WiFi zone and waiting for dinner time.

This afternoon I gave Letizia a foot massage on a colchoncito dragged out into the shade of a tree. Then Renato said he wanted one. “Letizia, traduci!” But I could already tell by his tone of voice. Now we were a bit dark on him this morning because Angel our nice hospitalero told us he’d changed rooms without saying, and we thought, with our sort of purist pilgrim ideas, that this was not in the spirit of the place. Appreciate what you’ve got, like! Anyway, we were a bit grouchy at him. So it seemed a bit of a leap from massaging the feet of my dear pilgrim friend companion of ten days, to the guy we’re grumpy with and whom I’ve hardly spoken to. Then I thought, what the heck. Who am I to judge anyway, my job is to give! Be generous without measure you old silly goose! So I gave him a foot massage and then Iñaki too. And we actually had a sweet chat between a few languages and I could tell he was really pleased and grateful. And somehow it made me indescribably happy to be able to do this small thing for my friends, because they are all my friends now.

* * *

And that night at dinner we started an Italian-English exchange… and voglio imparare piu Italiano ogni giorno!

Also it poured on us. First time since we’ve been walking.

Also the hot water system in the girls room squeaked and dripped noisily so luckily I have my earplugs.

Happy goose


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