Homer's Travels: Camino De Santiago - Grañon To Villambistia

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Camino De Santiago - Grañon To Villambistia

On this leg I made the biggest mistake of my Camino.  This is how it went down.

I got up at my usual 6:00 AM.  I headed out and, frankly, had a great beginning of my day.  The Camino passed through a small town every one to two miles giving this stage some interesting variety.  As you entered each town you passed by a tourist board sign with the town's name, a map, and pictures of the historical highlights of the town (i.e. churches and medieval baptismal fonts mostly).  The maps had orange blocks representing building on the light grey background of the sign.  Being an American I'm used to seeing the orderly grid layout of most of our towns.  The town layouts in Spain, the towns being hundreds of years older than modern urban planning, were a mite more haphazard.  The maps reminded me of Rorschach tests.

In the town of Villamayor del Rio I stopped, took off my pack and sat on a park picnic table to rest and eat a snack.  As I rested HT, EN, and KT showed up and joined me.  We talked about where we were going to stop.  We all decided that the town of Tosantos was the place to stop.  HT left before the rest of us as we left as we had arrived, staggered out.

I left EN and KT and headed on to the next town, Belorado.  On the way out of town I stop at a filling station and bought a coke.  I was running down and needed a boost.  Now, this is another strange thing about Spain.  At home I drink diet sodas exclusively unless diet isn't available.  In Spain it was leaded Coca Cola all the way.  Coke Zero was available but for some reason I craved the fully sugarfied caffeination of real Coke.

I arrived in Tosantos and wandered around looking for the albergue.  I ended up having to stop at a bar to ask for directions.  It was across the street.  I get there, they are still cleaning, so I wonder around looking for HT.  I didn't see him.  Then I made the mistake.  I decided he must of gone on to the next town so I left Tosantos and continued the 1.1 miles (1.9 km) to Villambistia.

I get to Villambistia.  It's a tiny town with the albergue, bar, restaurant, and tienda (store) all in one tiny building.  HT was not there of course.  He'd stopped in Tosantos as would most of the Grañon gang.  The only people at the albergue when I arrived were five Koreans (who I believe were also at Grañon.).  I talked to one Korean -  he was from Indiana - but he mostly hung with the other Koreans ... speaking Korean of course.  Later on three Spaniards (A couple and an older man) showed up but that was it.  The fourteen bed albergue housed five Koreans, three Spaniards, me, and five empty beds.

I wandered around the small town looking for something but only found a closed church.  As I walked around the town and realized there was nothing here and none of the gang was showing up I began mentally kicking myself.  I wasn't depressed ... I was more mad at myself for not stopping at Tosantos.

I spent most of the afternoon stewing in my bunk and running through my finances.  Yeah ... that's what I do when I'm angry and a little bored..  Up to this point my finances were pretty good, less than 2€ per kilometer.  (Sadly this would not continue through the rest of the Camino.)

During one of the brief periods when I was out of my bunk the hospitalera noticed me limping and asked what the problem was.  I showed her my swollen ankle and she took me back to the kitchen and sprayed some topical analgesic on the ankle.  I didn't have much faith in this doing anything ... and it really didn't do anything ... but my mood wouldn't even give it much of a chance.

Later that night we had dinner in the tight little bar dinning room.  I have to say that this was one of the better pilgrims meals I've had.  I had fried chicken that fell off the bone.  Unfortunately the good food was balanced off by less than stellar dinner conversation.  The older Spaniard kept referring to the Koreans as Japanese.  I corrected him, he acknowledge that they were in fact Korean, and then kept on calling them Japanese.  I decided he was using some type of slur and I wrote him off as beyond hope.  I tried to talk to the Spanish couple instead but my limited Spanish ended with me eating in silence.  I went to bed at 8:00 PM.

Or I should say, I tried to go to sleep.  I stewed in bed until the hospitalera came calling "Donde esta el Americano?" (Where is the American?).  She wanted to spray some more of her miracle spray on my ankle.  I answered, in a rather rude tone, "Tratando de dormir" (Trying to sleep) and I told her I didn't need her spray.  I was not very nice.  I didn't see her after that.  If I had I would have apologized.  I had a restless sleep.

Day eleven ended with me being angry, isolated, alone, and feeling a little lost.  Hopefully day twelve would be better.

Total Distance: 14.75 Miles (23.74 km)
Total Time: 5 hours 22 minutes
Total Elevation Up: 2,282 ft (695.55 m)
Total Elevation Down: 1,857 ft (566.01 m)

[Click on map for a larger version]


  1. Ah... Even if I already knew the story, reading it makes it sound even worse. Poor you!


  2. Err, not to be rude, but I was actually expecting worse (broken toe, aggravated tendonitis, etc). However, I do agree that it must have been a mood shredding stage.

  3. KSam: Yes, One of those days. Fortunately they were few.

    GV: Thanks. I survived.

    Gany, Not rude at all. I did kind of built it up a bit. Since the Camino was such a social event in my mind, stranding myself away from my friends was almost like breaking a toe. As for my Tendonitis ... it was already aggravated. Thank you Ibuprofen.

  4. I'm so glad your foot doesnt' fall off in this story :)

    I hope you get to spend more time with your pals soon on this trip!

  5. Miss McC: Me too!!! Read on (Actually, you already have.)