Writing from Cardeñuela Ríopico – Day 11

It’s funny when you call 24 kms a short day! Today was that. How long do they say it takes to form a habit? I’m sure 30kms a day is not one I can sustain but I will be positively fit by the end of it … unless I’m positively broken :). Ha ha no that won’t happen I’m getting stronger in many ways. I had my first internal melty moment last night and I learnt a camino life lesson.

Days on the Camino – 11

Kms – Today 24 kms. Our total is now around 273’ish kms.

Starting point today – Villafranca, Spain.

End of the day – Cardeñuela Ríopico, Spain.

Number of girls in Africa educated – 20

Total funds raised so far $6,150.00. 

If you’d like to contribute you can do so here.

Frances Antonia – Do it in a dress.

Thanks for the help Kimmy from the Women Who Hike team.

Today was dedicated to – my friend Annette who moves in a forward motion. She’s a writer of meaningful words. A painter of beautiful art. A gifted and wise BIG thinker with a heart you can feel within her words. A creative whose work shares what the world needs more of – depth.

Accommodation – in the last village before hitting the city of Burgos we’ve taken our shorter day. We like the country villages. A twin room at Sante fe (€17.50 each). This privately run albergue is super clean and has a brilliant cafe with excellent food.

Food highlight – Yesterday we met up with team Texas for a late lunch. We had the pilgrim lunch menu at Villafranca. I had lentils followed by steak, chips, salad and a flan for dessert. Sitting at a cloth table for a three course lunch (€13) in my socks and sandals didn’t feel weird at all 😊. After 30kms walking I can tell you there is never a morsel of food left on mine or any plate. In fact I’m sure there is very little food waste at the pilgrim tables … maybe we all need to walk more or be more physical in ours days. Gardening springs to mind.

In a word(s) – Allowing the camino to weave its way into my story.

After a long day yesterday, we arrived about 2pm to a busy albergue. Long days are different for all walkers, for us it’s kms. We are walking our kms at a relatively fast pace and we’re not inclined to stop for long periods along on the way. We enjoy the long hours walking and equally the long afternoons relaxing and recovering. We don’t like to walk until too late in the day.

We are used to being one of the first to arrive in the afternoons so the showers are always free. We then have time to get ourselves organised and settled for the afternoon. Basically to get showered, feet tiger-balmed, sandaled and the clothes washing done. Yesterday this wasn’t the case. The accommodation had 2 showers and the showers had no space to hang your clothes or space within the cubicles. The dorm we were in had 4 bunks in close proximity, so close you may say cosy but really not so cosy. We were number 5/6 of 8 to arrive.

I went to have my shower and as I stood in the line with fellow pilgrims who were awkwardly trying to work out how to manage the showers and keep their clothes dry and basically keep their dignity, I had to walk out. I thought that maybe I’d eat first and shower later. I sat on the ground near one of the only charger points on the ground and started up-loading my photos. I think if I tried hard enough I may have been able to well up some tears!

I knew it was a moment I had to deal with. Rather than message my husband to complain I messaged him to tell him about the lovely little Italian ladies who had just walked in. I haven’t seen them since day 3 and I thought they were far behind where we’d passed them last. ‘Forti Camminatori’ I said to them with the help of google translate. And they are – ‘strong walkers’. They have zero English and my conversational Italian is non existent, but I managed to share a nice moment with these two friends from Piedmont who are on their way to Santiago together. I’ll see them again so watch this space for a photo.

One thing about the camino is that people don’t really complain. And it is hard … for many people it’s way harder physically than it is for me. You know what we do? We laugh … really laugh, belly ache laugh, and at times with strangers. In fact I just had a belly laugh with a couple of sassy young American girls who we’ve seen over the past few days but have never had a real conversation with. We laughed at how we all laugh at our pain and discomfort – hard!

Side note:- We first met these girls as we stood back so one of them could pee privately – the reality of hiking as a woman and drinking copious amounts of water. Learning to squat is a life skill!

I gathered myself and did go and have that shower. We then went to a lunch with our friends, the brothers from Texas. Remember those cracker Americans from day 3, Frank and Alan. It’s a funny place this trail. Some days we walk the trails alone and other times there is a sea of people. In the sea each of us tends to find our people. Some we see for days before we actually talk (tonight’s pilgrim dinner we met some amazing women – tomorrow’s post) and some we’ll never talk to but along the way everyone makes their friends.

Those brothers have been two of the best, great laughers and story tellers. Alongside the Germans Mark and Lucas they’ve been our trail mates. We haven’t seen the Germans for a few days but I know we will. That is how the camino is – everyone is just around a corner. I wonder who’s around the next corner.

I’d love to say last night is the last dorm room we do but it’s not always that easy to avoid. Eight people in 4 bunks in a tiny room and ALL night bloody snoring from the two ladies in the bunk next to me. Laying awake in your bed all night on account of other people makes for a long tiring night! So we’ll take the double or twin option whenever it’s available.

Travelling with my sister makes it an easier to pay nominally more to have our own room. Aside from the snoring in the dorms I need the personal space, that’s one of the boundaries I need to set as an introvert on the camino (further from yesterday’s conversation).

A melty moment that turned into a turning point to show me that a. I really need to learn to speak another language ;) and b. our first response to situation, the fall back is one often worth challenging. And above all, belly laughing through pain and discomfort is a bloody good thing.

Buen Camino,

Fran xx

4 thoughts on “Writing from Cardeñuela Ríopico – Day 11”

  1. Oh Fran, thank you. 💗 I don’t even know how to describe the feeling of knowing that someone else sees the best of me. Wow. Thank you.

    Your journey is somehow carrying a wave of people along with you. You are refreshing our hearts. What a gift.

    Annette xxxxx

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hey Fran , gosh I would be the same… lining up for a shower, sleeping in dorms, lots of social situations… gosh I would shy away from all that too! Yet putting yourself in there I guess gives the real Camino experience. Although as you say you can do it your own way as your comfortable with. The snorers would definitely get to me… yep I’d be getting those twin rooms for sure. But belly laughs do come from discomforts. I remember that from back packing days. Good to laugh at the ridiculous of situations sometimes. Kids are great at belly laughs … we adults need more so I’m so glad you’re having heaps.
    What an incredible story your hike…. you will come back so physically fit for sure. Are you happy with all you chose to pack? Anything missing you wish you had?
    Thanks again for sharing it all. So inspiring! Not always responding but following your journey and thinking of you lots especially on my morning walks.
    Loads of love.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just think of the memories you and your sister will have in the future Fran! Gold.
    Favourite photo today, is the trail between the foggy trees. Sublime.
    Janet xx

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.