What an albergue!
After the arduous journey I had taken to get to Mazarife (ok, by bus) is it any wonder I was in need of some refreshments. I got it in spades.

As if the welcome that I got from the French lady and the Korean girl, when they got a glimpse of this fine figure of a man, strolling past them and up onto the veranda with the kilt a swinging wasn’t enough, the place was beautiful.

The house was on two levels. When you went in through the door to the sleeping area on the ground floor, there were about twenty or so bunk beds well laid out. Of course I wasn’t staying there with all the snoring and farting – it wouldn’t have been fair to put them through all that. No I had pre-booked my SOLO room. Basically a double room which, if you pay extra, means you can have all to yourself. Luxury, I hear the four Yorkshiremen say – bloody right I say.

Not that I don’t love my fellow peregrinos, but there are some things I like to keep private – although I am about to tell you now what goes on behind those closed doors to the solo room so that doesn’t count.

The sheer relief of being able to take all your clothes off and scratch the parts that even that fine beer wouldn’t dare go, take of your socks and examine what is left of the soles of your feet – yes I know I came by bus today, but let’s pretend I have walked 15km today for the sake of the story.

I’m telling you I may be scum, but I’m considerate scum. I’m saving the peregrinos from having to watch all that and then burn their eyes out with red hot pokers. Just as an aside, when I try to type scum into may mobile, it changes it to Scunthorpe

Anyway, I digress. My room was on the lower floor of this stepped house. About eight rooms in all down there and lovely they were too.

Didn’t even take time to scratch, scrub up, or even break wind, there were real people up their to talk to.

Up to the garden, bottle of beer and can of lemon Kas in hand, the cocktail known as Cerveza con Limon, or Shandy, as we call it at home.

Let the show begin.

As the veranda was, obviously, slightly higher than the garden, I did forget my Debrett’s method of sitting on its floor. French/Korean war 1866 relived. Martine representing the French and Henna representing the Korean.

Managed to save my dignity before they had lost theirs.

French, Italian, Hungarian, Dutch, German, Irish and Scotsmen and women were all represented in that little patch of pure green among the sun-bleached fields of Mazarife.

The United Nations couldn’t have organised it better.

We talked, we sat in silence, we sighed and we laughed together on that field of green.

Bottles of wine were being ordered and then served by our host. A lovely man who, for some reason, I forgot to get his name.

Henna the Korean girl was really excited about the dinner we were about to have. Knowing now what we had she had every right to be excited. We all sat downstairs at the communal table and dined on great food cooked by our very own chef. Muy Bien.

Six o’clock came all too early, but up, washed, packed, bag organised for transport, dressed and out – still dark, so head light switched on and off into the early morning darkness like someone who has stayed out too late and is sneaking home from somewhere they shouldn’t have been. So I’ve been told.

Fifteen kilometres today to do. No problem this time, BBC Radio iPlayer tuned in to Radio Ulster and Ann-Marie’s hourly news reading to keep me company, and it was easy. I wish she was beside me and I then wouldn’t even bother switching on Keith Burnside.

Have to leave this now as I’m really tired. Catch you tomorrow.

About CJ

Setting out 1st September to walk El Camino. I am walking the French Way and starting at Logroño. My wonderful wife is joining me at Sarria to finish the walk with me.
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