Today was a sluggish day. The cumulative impact was felt in my muscles as I dragged my feet for each step. Burgos is the second major city on the Camino route. The majority of the walk was on city streets and I would see the yellow arrows on the side walks and the poles of street signs.
I checked into the municipal albergue for 5 euros and walked up five flights of stairs to my bed. In the kitchen I encountered an 18 year old German kid biking the Camino and a hippie like Australian who had a guitar and a detached and warm disposition. I wish I encountered more people that radiated unconditional optimism without the side effect of being absent-minded.
I sat outside at the bar across the street most of the day. The Australian and a native Spaniard sung and played improvised songs that invigorated the surrounding pilgrims sitting on the terrace. Karina came by a few hours after me and was steadily downing wine before her bus to Madrid and flight home at midnight. She was lamenting the end of a trip that gave her some momentary peace. I thought of the television trope of bored housewives and wealthy divorcees getting wine drunk while the asparagus is in the oven and starting rebound relationships with their yoga instructor. She shared my sentiments of being fed up with Spain’s unimaginative and repetitive Tapas menus at every single bar and their fixation with bread. Yet the Spaniards are still skinny. Tortilla de Patata (potato omelette), croissants, bocadillos de jamon (ham sandwiches), ugh.
Karina was fresh off a recent separation from her husband. He hailed from a wealthy New England family and her expressive eccentricity did not vibe well with the refinement of an old money family. We exchanged info and said maybe we could meet for a drink back at home in NYC. She had a strong sense of self, and it didn’t seem like it would derail her life.
Later in the night at the bar, a group with name tags on their chests invaded the bar. A Spanish girl asked if I wanted to participate. I was one of two other Native English speakers at the bar and I was soon surrounded by a circle of them. Eager to practice English, they peppered me with questions about New York City. A classically 1950s-actress-beautiful, 21 year old French girl started talking to me. I was left with a bad taste in my mouth, after she asked if I intended to visit France and I said no, it doesn’t really appeal to me. I must have said it looking for some kind of a reaction.