Camino Day 11: Paella and Picnics

Najera to Ciruena: 14.2 km/8.9 miles

May 15, 2016

When the large group of Spanish students was seen settling in the main hostel room last night, I presumed that I would be in for a less than peaceful sleep. My impression stood corrected. They were so well disciplined that I had to share my admiration with their leader who seemed to be chill, cool and well liked by the students. I also don’t recall any cell phones LCD screens glowing in the dark. Duly impressed.

We were nearly the last to leave the hostel this am, which would basically be our modus operandi for most days. Kashi was not much of a morning person and I just didn’t like to move quickly.

The day was overcast and threatening rain. Sundays made towns look empty and deserted since most shops were closed. Yesterday’s mileage caught up with us, and a shorter walking day was envisioned.

The wonderful, liberating feeling of not knowing where one would end up for the night, haunted me when I returned home post-Camino and tried to adjust back into my life. The thought of taking a permanent job scared the bejesus out of me. A quote that resonated with this freedom-loving spirit read, “It would be like asking Christopher Columbus to be content with a job as a postal clerk”. The image of a wild horse being bridled also came to mind. The societal transition post Camino continues.

We passed a few familiar faces en route today. Familiarity can be grounding for nomadic souls. Greetings exchanged, along with the Camino mantra, Buen Camino (Have a good walk)

Kashi and I were getting reacquainted. Our last rendezvous was in Nepal about 2 years back. What better way than one long continuous walk side by side?

The weather was still hinting rain as we approached Ciruena, a city hit hard with the economic crisis in Spain. The crisis started in 2008 when the housing bubble burst and unemployment shot up to 20%. Some housing developments were built for thousands, yet only hundreds were presently living in them. Ciruena was one of these towns. If not for the Camino passing through, the town would be at more of a loss.

A quick sweep around the village landed us a private room in a hostel. This was to be home for the night. There was even a tub in the room, which I planned to spend a great portion of my time soaking in.

Sunday afternoons don’t offer many options for eating out, but we remembered passing a golf course down the road that promoted a Peregrino menu. The place ended up being packed with locals drinking wine and eating paella. So this is where they were all hiding out.

Due to the late lunch, we had a picnic in our room later in the evening, while most were partaking in the Peregrino menu downstairs. These food spreads in the room were some of my favorite times with Kashi throughout our worldly travels.

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