Where is everyone, asked John.
Lingering over breakfast I told him. And they had been. When we left the albergue, ten or more of our fellow walkers were still placing their orders for coffee and toast, or cake. Yes, cake.
We bounded down the path, pausing to admire the sunrise, the verdant country-side. At the bottom of the hill John said, I think we’vemisssd the turn-off.
All was quiet around us; no happy chatter from fellow pilgrims, no click of sticks on pavement, no footfall. Even the birds were quiet, the cows, too.
We’d been talking a lot. You might say gossiping.
Or, you might say it was a case of too much investment in our daily, post-dormitory debrief.
But I’d say we were simply involved in a mutual in-depth analysis as to the exact composition of gender and personalities and nationalities for the ideal dormitory experience.
I’m not going to tell you the in and outs of that discussion – we wouldn’t come out of it looking very good! Suffice to say neither of us enjoy the loud-mouths and the braggers of the Camino and, in that respect, the night before had been pretty good, despite the large gender imbalance.
But, now that we were lost, we had two choices: trudge back up the hill for a kilometre or so and hope to find the path, or ask Google.
It was a no-brainer when Google said getting back on The Way involved only 2ks or so of a gentle undulating walk along the lane, rather than that long uphill slog. And Google was right! Nevertheless, I was very pleased to see this way marker!
I thought that once on The Way again, we’d be back in amongst the crowds. But as we’ve said so often, no two days are the same, and we have walked most of the day on our own.
This afternoon, not far from Gonzar we encountered more evidence of fires, burnt trees and undergrowth and a singed way marker.
We stopped for a few moments here. To the familiar Camino odours of freshly turned earth, dry autumn leaves, silage, and cow dung, I can now add burnt cheese. Weird, eh, but I’m guessing it was something to do with the burnt fungi in the undergrowth.
It was a long uphill walk to our albergue, in Ventas de Naron.
The welcome here was warm, the food simple, nutritious, and cooked with care; the company friendly and generous. That potato was devine.
We haven’t made any firm plans for tomorrow, other than to walk westward, towards Santiago. Maybe we’ll go 15, perhaps 25 kilometres. We’ll work it out as we go along.