I've just retread my previous blog- very unfair on the men! If I am to re-solve on this Camino (or become re-solute) it will require fluidity. Anyway, I'm now sitting outside Pobeña Albegue and already there are four women and seven men (but still no Brits so I'm thrown onto my bad French and worse Spanish).
I'm glad I arrived here very early, because there are only 22 beds and already 10 pilgrims at 1.30pm, and it's a long walk to the next place to stay. Perhaps it's also wise to place a steady rock in the stream, to hold one's place in a queue sometimes!
Today started with a nice encounter with a German woman in the showers; it was her second day walking and she had the fresh-groomed look of a new pilgrim. Before all your clothes get dirty, the make-up washes off and your hair goes flat because the travel hair-brush just doesn't quite do the job. Quite a few people give up on hair altogether.
The first couple of hours walk were very urban: high walkways over motorways and past graffiti sprayed on the plastic barriers. But then, slowly the traffic noise fades as I walk west and I sink back into the birdsong, cockerels crowing and donkeys braying.
Then suddenly there is a glimpse of the distant sea, and then a whole sandy beach and a deep blue bay. I have a beer and sandwich at Zierbena (La Arena) to celebrate.
Pobeña is a small village on a long beach with a Roman bridge and restaurants more to the point. I'm looking forward to exploring once the Albergue has opened at 3pm. It's a small, low yellow painted building with outside sinks at the back for clothes-washing and a line of chairs at the front for the queue of pilgrims.
So I check in- my Credential is stamped and I find a bunk. I have a horrible suspicion there may be bed-bugs here??? I find a dead something on a pillow! So I put out the bedbug sheet again and hope for the best.
Then I go to the beach; it's beautiful. The sea is azure at the horizon.
It occurs to me that this my first trip to the sea since Ali picked up my scallop shell at Saunton Sands in Devon, in October last year and here I am 8 months later, on my journey. Looking at online maps, I think I'm more or less on the same longitude. A nice connection in time and space.
I'm thinking about the process of dissolving and ponder that time is a great solvent in this regard.
I meet French and Lithuanian pilgrims on the shore and decide it's warm enough for a paddle, but then.... I wade in and swim! It's surprisingly warm- well like Cornwall in summer, but lovely and refreshing to the feet and legs. A very surprising end to my afternoon and then back to the albergue for a hot shower.
It's 'canary-song' time, so I set out to look for the Roman bridge after a cup of tea. It's very small- only spanning a ditch really. I had imagined that it was huge from the photo on the notice-board!
I'm slightly concerned that the German lady hasn't turned up; I hope she's OK.
The Frenchman, Lithuanian young woman and I go for supper at the closest restaurant. DELICIOUS! I start with a plate of pickled baby eels? with lardon and salad.
The talk is about 'real' wine, Confucius and Liu Tse which are written texts. The Gospels are written off as fabricated hear-say, but I refrain from asking whether the soul can read? Then an early night.