Camino Day 43: Being Uncomfortable

Day 43:  Manjarin, Spain
Day 43: Manjarin, Spain
Day 43:  Manjarin, Spain
Day 43: Manjarin, Spain

So, here we are. Day 43 in Manjarin.
Day 43 in Manjarin seems like a lifetime from Day 2 in Montbonnet.

Day 2 I quit and returned to Lyon in no small part because I wasn’t sure that I could share room and bathroom with other people for close to two months.

Day 43 I spent the night in a donativo with no running water or electricity. I don’t know how they fixed dinner but it was delicious and the setting was beautiful. We ate outside, overlooking the green hills. The latrine was a hole in the ground about 100 meters down the road from the bedroom (2nd picture). It was truly disgusting.

But the best part was the shower. It was an above ground concrete cow pond in a pasture about 400 meters down the road. There was algae floating on top and some people actually jumped in. I settled for clambering on to the wall and sticking my head under the pipe that was filling the pond with water and generating splashing myself with water. Mid-shower, in a true horror movie moment, I felt the hair on the back of my neck rise and I slowly turned around. Behind me were over a dozen cows standing in line, just staring. They looked like they had just spotted Gollum (from LOTR) perched on their watering hole. Frustrated because they were ready to drink but reluctant to approach. At least until the reinforcements showed up. Because right behind them were dozens of more cows, coming to a screeching stop, probably wondering what the hell the holdup was. I jumped down, grabbed my clothes, apologized for my intrusion but thanked them for their hospitality and headed back to albergue.

The bedroom (2nd pic) was actually two stories and about a dozen people spent the night in that shack. The beds smelled really bad. For some reason I had taken off the disposable sheet and pillowcase from my previous night’s albergue and instead of tossing them had stuffed them in my pack. This was the only time I did this. Of course this place did not have any disposable sheets and I was able to use the ones I had brought along. Serendipity or the universe conspiring again. It was really cold and I only had my silk liner, having shipped my sleeping bag home from Burgos. Let this be a lesson. It doesn’t matter how hot it is during the day, it still gets cold at night, especially in a shack. Hang on to your sleeping bag. I slept fully dressed, including socks and an extra shirt.

In addition to American, nationalities represented were New Zealanders, Dutch, Italian, Belarus, Australian and French. The French couple were a little bit uneasy about the place but in a good humored way. They happened to own a bed and breakfast in Brittany. We laughed that this was a positive experience for both of us and we should be able to handle anything for one night. They were a really nice couple.

There were also a bunch of dogs tied up just outside the bedroom shack. Starting at around 10 pm, after we had all gone to bed, they would howl and bark periodically; I’m assuming because they heard a noise or smelled some animal. This went on for quite a while and at one point the Belarus guy, whose bed was next to mine, and I just started laughing. The whole thing was pretty comical.

The French couple was the first ones out at around 5:30 and I was right behind them. I walked out of there with a smile on my face. Partially because I was leaving but also because a few weeks earlier I would never have spent the night. I was so glad that I had.

BTW, besides farms, there is nothing else in Manjarin except for this albergue. Google Manjarin, Spain and you’ll find pictures that give a true indication of how primitive this place was, which is what the intent was. To show the type of places pilgrims used to stay in.


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