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The next morning before we left the albergue in Santo Domingo, Mel and Caroline had an interesting experience. While we were packing up and getting ready to leave like we usually did, Charlie, whom I’d had dinner with the night before, decided he was going to change right there in the middle of the room. Mel and Caroline were right next to his bunk and received a full mooning from Charlie while he was bending over to pick up his pants. Thankfully, I was across the room and was busy packing up my own things so I did not see the entire event take place. This event brings up an interesting point. People from different countries and cultures are more comfortable with nudity (and thier own bodies for that matter) than others. It is inevitable that you will see someone walking around in their underwear, or with nothing on at all at some point because sometimes on the trail people stop giving a shit about the way they look and only worry about what is comfortable. Just turn around or cover your eyes. If you’re gonna say something, be polite and remember, you are representing your country. Or you can just laugh your ass off.
One of the only things I remember about the hike this day was it proved to be a difficult hike even though we only went 23 km because yet again, we were hiking directly into a headwind. Not the easiest thing, but sometimes on the trail you just have to put in your headphones and put one foot in front of the other, start talking to someone nearby, or sometimes just sing any song you know. Anything to keep your mind off how miserable that moment is.
Another habit I had developed was spending the majority of my hike solo while the rest of the group was a good 300 meters ahead or behind me. During this time by myself, I achieved one of my goals I had in mind while on this journey, learning to be by myself and being ok with it. If you feel the need to always be around someone and are never comfortable by yourself, the Camino is a great place to exercise your ability to be comfortable with being by yourself. Whether by choice or happenstance, everyone needs to experience this during thier own Camino. That being said, it was good to have friends nearby at the end of the day to hang out with and share a meal.
Once we got to Belorado we walked through the winding streets and settled on an albergue called Cuanto Cantones. The owner spoke very good English, and because we were the first ones there, we got to pick wherever we wanted to sleep. This was one of the advantages of leaving so early in the morning.
After settlting in, we decided to have an early dinner at the restaurant located upstairs in the albergue. To our great surprise, the meal was amazing! No offense against the chef or the albergue, but the place had a simple cottage feel to it with all the necessities: hot water, clean showers big kitchen, and as a bonus there was a small pool in the back which opened in the summer. The 3 course pilgrim menu was amazing and as an added bonus, it happened to be the first solid food meal I had eaten since we left Los Arcos because of the food poisoning.
After the meal, we all took to our chores of washing a few clothes, journaling, napping, resting and taking care of our tired feet, hanging out with the other pilgrims as they trickled in, the usual. Eventually, we ventured out and found a pub just down the street from our albergue. It was tiny, but we had the place to ourselves. Since I’d just eaten my first solid meal in nearly a week, I decided to go all out and celebrate with 1 beer (don’t wanna get too crazy). Once again, another great end to a long day of hiking.
Distance: 22.9 km
Accommodation: Cuanto Cantones- The hospitalero spoke very good English. There were several bunk beds in one room, but not too crowded. Once again, hot water and a roof over your head are usually the basic essentials you look for in most albergues as a pilgrim. The albergue had a small cottage feel to it with a full small kitchen and an outdoor garden. In the summer, a pool was available as well, which would be very useful in the hot summer months. Upstairs, there is also a small restaurant, which serves amazing food!