On finding a Koran in the albergue
A Koran in the gites along the way?
Perhaps it's there in case I want to pray.
It doesn't bother me, and what the hecka,
Perhaps I'll take a Bible into Mecca.
Copies of the Koran have been seen in other albergues as well. Very curious! They are written in Arabic, so we are hardly likely to be converted after a bit of light reading in the evening. They are well bound, expensive copies, perhaps funded by Saudi Arabia.
There used to be a kind of rule in the albergues that lights would go off at ten and come on at seven. Well, they often go off earlier than ten, if everybody's in bed, but they certainly don't come on at seven at this time of the year. It's still dark, and some people sleep in. So this morning, for example, I was out of the dorm before the lights came on.
I ate breakfast in La Colorada where there was a curious incident. My breakfast bun and my coffee came to four euros and some change. When I emptied everything out of my pocket, along with various bits of tissue and a walnut I found four euros and a Canadian quarter. The girl was very interested in the quarter, so I gave it to her. Don't worry about the extra, she said, and took my four euros. But as I left, she came running up, saying she had made a mistake, gave me a new bill, and some change. I didn't quite know what to make of this. Was she writing out a new bill to cover the fact that she had rounded off the previous one?
But it was quite different from an earlier experience. I had paid for a ensalad mixte with a fifty, and received my change in a pile of notes. I checked through them, and found a twenty was missing. Of course, he came running up, sorry he had made a mistake, etc. So, note carefully what you are paying with, and count your change.
Fortified, I left the hotel and strolled across the flat country, quite different from the ups and downs of a few days ago. Wind turbines were turning lazily on the distant hilltops, and horses were swishing their tails in time. But I had to get a move on. I have been ambling along thinking I have lots of time, but to arrive on the night of the nineteenth to listen to the Canadian election results, I have to walk some long stretches. And today was one of them.
I crossed the River Navia and ran into a pleasant American couple from South Carolina. She had been bitten by bed bugs in an albergue, so now they were staying in hotels. It had taken them the best part of a day put all their stuff, including their pack, through a washer and dryer. So they are about, the bed bugs.
I had a beer for lunch at La Caridad which was the end of a step. With the beer came some little tapas, bits of sausage on circles of bread, and some innocent looking peppers which burnt the top of the roof of my mouth. I think the purpose was to have me order another beer.
Then it was a 21-kilometre march to Ribadeo, mainly along the highway and minor roads. Quite a plod! Engaged in a conversation with Ted from Quadra, I missed a vital turning, adding a few extra kilometres. And it started to rain, so I had to perform acrobatics with my poncho.
Finally, crossing over a highway bridge, at least a kilometre long, I arrived in Ribadeo and Galicia, the final region of the walk, and also the region for pulpo. And then another kilometre through the town to find the Hostal Galicia. Strangely, Preben the Dane is not here. He had booked, hasn't cancelled, and the proprietor is gesticulating wildly.