Day 30: Luarca ➡️ Tapia de casariego. DM: 25 mi
I felt like a little kid being sent to school as Sol waved me off with a buen Camino at 6am. What if the other kids don’t like me? What if I get lost? Did I remember my lunch?!
I thought I had made some headway into being an independent adult, but yesterday proved me wrong. I’d been procrastinating figuring out my post Camino plans. I mean, I know who I am hoping to see, and where they are, but the logistics of it all? Ninguna idea. I’d been waving it all away — blaming it on the uncertainty of El Camino.
Who the hell knows when I’m going to finish, right?
Wrong. A fifth grader could do that math. Total distance left (145 mi) / insert assumption about daily mileage (20-25) = 5-7 days. Come on, Carolyn — you are going to business school, aren’t you?
La verdad is I am le stressed. I have too many suitcases in too many places in Spain. And airline baggage limitations are too stingy for a girl who is using Spain as a stopover whilst moving from Kenya to los Estados Unidos. Before you take any pity on me — my mother and brother already schlepped back a couple of suitcases from Nairobi. You could say my foray into a #minimalist lifestyle isn’t going well.
The best way to confront overhwelm is to procrastinate. The best antidote to procrastination is to have a friend call you on your bluff. Sol did just that. On her birthday, she gave me the gift of spending two hours googling how to get me back to the US. Alas, fuel prices have skyrocketed, so her initial searches brought back ‘spenny results.
But, after she pulled out some tricks she had in her back pocket (who knew purchasing a round trip is cheaper than a one way?!), I finally have my departure flight. Gracias al mejor compadre, Sol!
Backwards mapping everything else, I’ve realized I need to finish El Camino between Thurs-Sun next week. Time to turn on the jets.
Sol and I did, though, make the most of our rest day in Luarca. We were joined for a couple hours by two peregrinos — Vinny y Fex — at a bar. We’ve crossed paths with Vinny a number of times. He’s a bartender in Ibiza. Yes, everything that you’re picturing right now is accurate.
To help me “learn Spanish” Vinny has taken it upon himself to enunciate everything and also demonstrate what he’s saying in a very exaggerated manner. Now just multiply that by ten and you’ll get a sense for what he’s like when he’s had a couple bebidas.
He ordered a bottle of Sidra — porque, Carolina, sabes que es el ultimo dia en Asturia, el origin de Sidra? — and, in high key bartender style — poured it from the vase, 5 feet in the air, into the cup on the ground below. And then handed it to me.
It was a sunny day, so, naturally, he rolled up his sleeves. He also started hiking his shorts further up his thighs. And further.
He then started doling out life advice to myself, Sol, and Fex — all a good 10+ years younger.
In overly-enunciated Spanish, Vinny described — how, when we die, we should not show up to the gates of heaven in a suit and tie — all prim and proper — to hand ourselves over to the afterlife.
No, chicos — you must rev up in a motorcycle with a cloud of dust behind you. Que tal, Dios?
Vinny got up off his stool to demonstrate said entrance — motorcycle imitation and everything. When he sat back down he rolled up his shorts even higher. Sol looks at me and I read her mind. Bro, why you peacocking?!
As Vinny poured another round of Sidra — this time missing the cups a couple times — he laid out his future plans. One of his three goals is to learn English. He’s decided the best way to do so is to move to the US. Vinny looks at me, pointedly, as he says this. I stare back in silence.
Vinny, if you want a proposal, you’re going to have to give me more than Sidra pours and overt displays of masculinity.
Or, if you check 2 of my suitcases on a flight to the US so I can avoid extra baggage fees, maybe we can talk. Maybe.
Sol and I were able to make an exit and enjoy the rest of her birthday by the sea in peace.
Needless to say, I’ve planned a couple long-haul days to get ahead of los hombres.
Day 31: Tapa de Casariego ➡️ Lourenza. DM: 24.3 mi
Today had me feeling emotional. Laura Branigan’s Gloria came on shuffle. It was one of Sol’s favorites and we had always broken out in dance when it came on. My solo yells of “I THINK YOU’RE HEADED FOR A BREAKDOWN” felt empty.
The 5 hours of nonstop rain probably didn’t help.
I got broken into long distance trekking on expo. Expo was the 11 day backpacking trip that my high school offered sophomores. We were put into groups of ~8, and made to carry all our food and gear for the trip. Some people barely weighed more than their packs.
Did we sleep in tents? No — that would be too luxurious. They made us sleep in inverted V-shaped dwellings that we erected with hiking poles, tarps, and string.
When was the trip? February — which — I’ll hesitate to call the “dead of winter”, because, anyone from like Boston or Calgary reading this blog would literally laugh out loud. But, it did hit freezing a couple times. More importantly, it poured almost every day. My memories of the experience are of being drenched and freezing.
The pinnacle of Expo was “solo”. It was exactly as it sounds. 36 hours on your own. With the clothes on you, a sleeping bag, a tarp, and a string. Nothing else. Not even food.
I enjoyed it all so much I applied to be an instructor my junior year.
On Expo I learned not to complain and to stay positive. There’s always a worse counterfactual.
Today, while I was walking in rain for 5 hours, I thought of expo. And I thought of how thankful I am to not be in the middle of god-knows-where- Spain in 104 degree heat on VDP.
As if she read my thoughts, Marzia, the plucky Italian from the VDP, texted me today to tell me she’s made it to Santiago. She even sent a picture. I’m truly in awe of her. I’m ~95 miles behind — and here I’ve been mucking it up on the CdN! She’s the real champ.