We were up and on our way this morning, before sunrise and before most other walkers. We needed our torches to pick out the path and find the way markers for the first 45 minutes or so. It made for peaceful walking which we both appreciated. And we didn’t need to breakout the turbo chargers to power on past anyone today – a very good thing.
Over the last couple of days we’ve found the trail particularly noisy and crowded. The hospitaleros we’ve encountered have often seemed pressured and tired as they’ve dealt with wave after wave of pilgrims – who wouldn’t be? The walkers haven’t always been cheerful, either, us included. Although we did expect the Camino to be busy the number of people has taken us by surprise. Mostly we’ve managed quite well but our sense is that the infra-structure is close to overwhelmed at the moment. Tempers do get frayed, especially when people are hot and tired and have to wait in queues, or worse can’t find a bed.
We’ve been considering our options; keep going, or stop for a couple of weeks and wait out the crowds. Apparently the numbers drop away towards the end of September.
But this morning’s walk in the sunrise was so peaceful, so beautiful, and then the welcome here in Azqueta so warm and relaxed we’ve decided to stick to our plan, and carry on.
La Perla Negra is a small privately operated albergue with a relaxed atmosphere. I’d been hoping they might have space for us and luckily they did. Actually, apart from the albergue, a closed church, a closed bar and a few houses there isn’t a lot here – not even through traffic. And now that the rush of pilgrims has finished for the day it’s extraordinarily peaceful.
Tomorrow we head for Torres del Rio. The friendly gentleman on the telephone accepted our reservation, too, so things are on the up and up.