We met xxx, a Polish man from Ottawa who was walking from St. Jean to Leon. He previously had walked from Leon to Santiago. As he approached Leon he got shin splints and was limping badly. His wife was back home in Ottawa, and he had one daughter in London, and another in New Zealand. He was planning to head to Poland to visit his family still living there. We had coffee with him in the morning and he recommended that we start our walk in Mazerife because the walk out of Leon is mostly busy highways and industrial. Since we didn’t really know what we were doing, we thought this sounded like a good idea. After coffee and croissant, we figured out how to catch a cab, and made our way to Mazerife (30 Euro cab ride).
Insert photo of where we started
The initial walk was through fields on paved road. We got used to the feel of the packs on our back and saw a few people along the way. One was a Ukrainian man who we struggled to communicate with (no English for him, no Ukrainian for us) A man who was running the Camino passed us (small pack, strong calves)
We stopped for coffee and had our first conversation with another group of peregrinos – three people. One from Southern California – a small, lean, chiseled, gray-haired guys – epitome of SoCal. With him was a slightly more rounded man from the UK, and a younger woman from the Netherlands. When we told them that this was our first day walking they said “no wonder you have such spring in your steps”.
We stayed this night in Hospital de Obrigo at the Albergue Verde (9 euros each), recommended to us by xx from Ottawa. This was more of a “real” albergue – we shared a room with about 8 other people. I took the top bunk.
We walked into town and found a little bar attached to a hotel to have a drink. This was where we first met the two who came to be known as “the Canadians” – Chris and Laurie – from Barry, Ontario, outside of Toronto. They were staying at this hotel and sitting in the porch with their feet up, enjoying the rest, the view and the wine. We liked them right off.
Yoga class and vegetarian dinner were included in the price – we opted out of yoga, but in for dinner. There were two big tables – the younger seemed to gather at one, and the olders (us) at another. With us were two Swedish women who were walking with an American man. Jeannette (French woman from Ottawa) – who else? The dinner was eggplant, salad, bread – what else?
After the dinner, a young man spoke for a few minutes about a project that he was working on to help the Syrian refugees coming into Greece. He wasn’t raising money or anything, he just wanted to bring awareness to the issue amongst the pilgrim community.
Following his talk, the owner of the albergue took to his soap-box and gave a very bizarre talk on the state of the world, including the idea that 9/11 was caused by the US government. He rambled about how the towers topped in a very unusual way, and this gave evidence to his theory somehow. It went on for a while, and eventually the American guy at our table had had enough and piped up “I’m an American, and this is bullshit”. He and the owner went back and forth for a while, and eventually he stood up and stormed out of the dining room, followed by his Swedish friend. It was awkward.
Greg, was this when the handsome Swedish kid gave a little talk too?
Total walked: 13.9K (8.68 miles)