Day #4 El Camino
Saturday 16th September
Pamplona > Punta La Areina
Distance Walked: 25km (approximately)
It’s Saturday night, 9.30pm and there’s a slight party atmosphere in the Albergue. 8 beds in my room and only 1 person is in bed. He’s a grumpy fucker too. I walked in after getting some groceries around 6pm. He was laying on his bed reading his Kindle. I opened the door, a friend called out to me so I walked back to grab something off them in the hall, the door was open for less than 5 seconds and he called out aggressively to keep it closed. He’s probably carrying the ashes of his dead son’s body – I assume – so I decided not to engage. There’s been a little running joke with a few pilgrims on this walk already that since the movie ‘The Way’ came out, (directed by Emilio Estevez and starring his father Martin Sheen) that most people are doing this walk to spread the ashes of a loved one. Better than carrying the body and spreading parts I suppose. Oh, and if you haven’t seen the film yet… SPOILER ALERT: The movie is a pile of SHIT!
Martin Sheen plays an out of touch rich dentist or something who has a backpacker son (Emilio Estevez), yeah yeah, I know, this storyline is a little too close to home! But that aside, it’s still a piece of shit film. He receives a phone call one day that he needs to come collect his son’s body who somehow died walking the Camino. When he arrives to France, he learns what the Camino is all about and instead of returning to ‘Murica with the body, he cremates it and completes the “journey” his son was taking while spreading little bits of ashes along the route. He meets a bunch of shitty actors playing shitty characters along the way and spits out a pretty crappy film. It squeezes in all the main attractions and landmarks along the classic route and with that, gives a giant and possibly unwanted boost to tourism creating a major influx in Murican’s who come to do “the way” who make sure they mention the movie to every single person they meet on “the way” and of course talk about their personal journey and any dead relative that inspired them to be here. Look, I’m not saying this isn’t about a personal journey for most people, I’m not taking away from anyone and their intentions, but I imagine like any place that has been overrun with tourism, the locals must be sick of hearing about that bloody movie! It was no Shawshank Redemption. It wasn’t even as good as Police Academy 7 in my opinion! It’s only been 4 days and I’ve heard the movie mentioned a dozen times. Quite loudly, by Americans. I thought about making a drinking game out of it, but don’t want to become an alcoholic doing this walk! I can’t be a hypocrite either, I’m not religious and this is a religious pilgrimage. If I made a drinking game out of every church and cathedral I saw along the route I’d have my stomach pumped every morning and afternoon. I’ve just had a lovely home cooked dinner, a big feed of pasta accompanied by some red wine and a game of cards with a Swedish couple and an Englishman. The lights were out in the bedroom at 9pm. Nobody else was in bed, just the one guy. Now, I’m not one to deliberately cause trouble (I most definitely am) but I don’t believe 1 person out of 7 should get preference over visibility when they’re staying in a dorm. If you’re that worried about other people or your privacy, fork out the extra for a hotel or a private room, or at the very least an eye-mask and earplugs. I switched the lights on to pack and surprisingly he didn’t stir. I was bracing myself for an altercation. Damn it! Nothing. I guess I wanted one.
Today was a pretty good walk for me, I’d left Pamplona around 7.30am and had a funny walk with 2 new friends, a couple from Sweden. They’d just left their jobs and the upcoming winter in search of slightly warmer climates. They’ll look for work in Spain following the Camino. I was told the most hilarious story about a documentary of a retarded pig that was eaten by a tiger. It seemed like a Disney movie that was rejected. When a Swede explained this, interjected by a German asking equally hilarious questions, it made for an entertaining walk. I’d wanted to reach further along the route than where most people were stopping, but my legs and feet aren’t holding up like I’d hoped and as soon as midday arrives, my 4 or 5 hours of walking seems to tell me I should call it a day. I’d loaned out one of my sticks to the Swedish guy and he took off ahead of me, luckily when I arrived into town he’d left it at the door of an Albergue as a sign I should see it and stop. Good enough for me. And that’s where I’ll stop the writing for today too.