The little shack was more than enough for my needs, it had a little stove, a small (but tall enough) bed for me and Lucy, a little sitting area and 2 doors that folded open. It wasn’t really a place that you would consider luxurious but after spending 260km on the road in a tent without so much as a decent toilet.. This is all good. Not that I had a toilet, as you see in my inventory sum up, theres no toilet, also no shower, also no running water. There was a minor river flowing some 20m away though and to top the whole quarantine feel off, I had to walk at least 300m before I had a half decent amount of internet.
Perfect Pilgrim Dwelling
The next day I woke up and it was cold as shit during the night, clear sky and nothing to keep the heat from dissipating into the clear sky. Extremely hot during the day, then ice cold during the nights. My sleeping bag kept me more than warm though. I didn’t waste a moment and started on a little writing and Ana and Salva drove by and brought a little gas stove heater that Salva installed and explained to me in a jiffy. They asked me what I wanted from the supermarket in Burgos and I wasn’t completely prepared for this since I thought I was going to come with them. Turns out thats not allowed anymore, its 2 people max in a car or 1 family of more than that amount, but police set up routine checkpoints and taking me would be impossible. I would have to think a little about things I wanted from the store and promised to text it to them, Salva had given me his number and the translator app made it easy to communicate. They dropped off a big ass bag of groceries a few hours later with all kinds of nice thoughtful things. Meanwhile I chilled around my little casa and I could feel my body going into a state of constant cramps and pains, Arnold Schwarzenegger said that pain is weakness leaving the body and I guess I had a lot of weakness flowing from me, I doubt this is the same pain he was talking about though. Mine was a slow buildup of pains where my body was more in a state of survival flow than anything else. All the pains releasing now, was my body transitioning from survival flow mode into rest mode. I took naps and finally caught up on some reading. Lucy was chilling hard too. Ana and Salva brought me a big bag of dog food that she loved and that was basically the soul reason to leave the bed for her.
When they had dropped off the grocery bag they also insisted I was going to take a shower with them, I told them I was on my way and put some groceries while also gathering laundry/shower stuff. I arrived in their house and they were just ready with a pasta and how can one refuse a nice home cooked meal with your saviors.
Before dinner I took the best shower Ive maybe had in my entire life. I had cut my hair in their bathroom prior and the water washed all the grime away that I had collected from the moment I had crossed the Pyrenees. My clothes were already in the laundry and I felt truly blessed. As a beautiful cherry on top they insisted I share a nice meal with them as well. I went home fully fed/washed/cleaned. I left my dirty laundry with them with the promise to pick it up the next day.
Because there was no running water, I had asked Ana and Salva to also bring me a big 5L bottle of water, there was a water fountain in the next town over, about 5km of walk and a good time to also get some internet. The sunset was gorgeous with Castrojarez being folded around a hill that has hosted a fort for ages, pre-reconquista even, with the Goths and the Picts using the tactical natural vantage point to their benefit. The town used to host all kinds of artisans and stone workers. The town is also the longest Jacobean town on the entire camino. A Jacobean town is a town that was build along the camino becoming elongated in shape and Castrojarez was half a moon around the hill. The town was about 5km away from my little house and I planned on going there one of these days, see what I have to work with here.
At the end of the day the Guardia Civil from yesterday showed up, doing their rounds. They brought some food and the yarn I had spun was that Im waiting for the emergency coordinators in the Netherlands to contact me about going back to the Netherlands and if its possible to take Lucy back. In reality, I had no interest in the very least to go back. This house was a blessing and I had already told Ana that she should cancel the doggy transport box that she ordered for me on Amazon under direction of the police the previous day.
If I can just wait until the storm is over in this little place then Im sure I can continue whenever it feels right. Just rest, eat, clean and improvise my way out of the quarantine was the plan for now. The fact that police brought me food and came to check up on me means that I did at least strike an emotional cord somewhere and I appreciated them for this gesture. They said they wanted me to stay there until the end of quarantine and apparently also specifically told Ana and Salva this.
The little house normally belongs to a Polish lady called Nela, who worked as a hostess in the nearby albergue, she was on Tenerife or Lanzarote (Canary Islands) and she was in lockdown there, unable to travel back. She was safe though but as long as she was gone, I was going to be able to stay in the little house and Ana and Salva said that was probably somewhere around mid May. Ana and Salva didn’t mind me being there or providing me whatever I needed, I was determined to pay them back somehow though and Im sure a fitting opportunity would present itself.
I slept/ate/rested and the next day I went by Ana and Salva again who gave me all my clean clothes, my jacket smelled so fucking fresh, unbelievable.. My fried feet and body were slowly healing and the shower yesterday made all the fucking difference. I dropped off my bag of laundry and went to Castrojarez with a bit of a stroll through the countryside. Castrojarez was like I remembered but I struggled a little bit to find a working ATM machine, finding one and buying some minor things from a small store. The lady being very surprised to see me but being friendly about it.
On my way back I dropped 20 € off at Ana and Salva which they refused at first. I said Im not some poor ass pilgrim even though I look like one and insisted on giving that to them. It wasn’t about the money as much as its about how much of a blessing they are to me, I don’t need them to lose money on me. Part of the pilgrim code and all dat jazz.. Never take more than you need and I wasn’t going to take money from these salvadores.
One thing that really bugged me was the fact that there were so many fucking ticks around. Apparently right before the desert turns into a desert proper, these little fucks are having a field day and the sheer amount of em around is absolutely astounding. I had to remove 4-5 at a time, 3x per day and I already found them to be quite bothersome in previous parts of the camino but here it became next level, as did my paranoia level about them. That is, in the first couple of days, they were in my bed, on Lucy, on me and I had to be alert in removing them. Always the balance, rest and luxury is not easily acquired, always some downside. The ticks being the counter balance to all the blessings I had received over the last few days.
Diary writing was coming along nicely and I wasn’t even as far behind as I thought I was and I quickly got things up to speed. Police dropped by several times, not bearing any gifts but rather harsh words and promises that I was being watched. I already told them that the emergency coordinators contacted me and that it wasn’t possible to take Lucy along (I never filled out the form, things were going according to plan).
I listened to some great podcasts that I downloaded during my water run and music and after my diary worked on my blogs for my website, making nice progress as well. I still got most of my electricity from my solar panel with the occasional drop off of my power banks and laptop at Ana and Salva’s.
My diet consisted mostly of awesome protein rich meals. My body healed up good and after about a week I started doing some workouts to supplement my water runs. In the town itself everyone seemed respectful and happy to see me. Some random dude who worked in the Castrojarez hostel, called Paco, giving me some food and drinks when he saw me sitting around.
At some point I even made some new friends and it was good to have some social contact with likeminded individuals that wasn’t through a phone screen.
Still cant complain..