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The road from Carrion to Terradillos was a particularly challenging hike for me. Not because of the the terrain, but because we walked on an old dirt road which was straight as an arrow…for 20 km! There weren’t even any hills, we just walked in a straight line for about 5 hours. I think these were the roads that were built by the Romans if I’m not mistaken. Anyways, walking this way gave me plenty of time to get lost in my own head. Thank God for iPods and new playlists from friends back home. For the majority of the time, I kept asking myself questions like “what am I donna do once I get to Santiago?”, or “how nice of a hotel will I stay at?”, or a question I asked myself a lot : “where is the first place I want to go eat when I get back to Nashville?”
I think a challenge that I faced a lot during my Camino was trying to stay in the moment. I love taking trips/challenges like this, but I tend to let my mind wander on what’s going on back home. It’s funny now to think how much time I spent wondering what I was missing out on with my friends and family back home while I was here in Spain backpacking across an entire country. Sometimes I had to just remind myself to stay in the moment and to keep my mind focused on what was in front of me, this long dirt road that I thought would never end.
Before entering Terradillos, we decided to settle in a relatively new private hostel, Los Templarios. There wasn’t any Wi-Fi available to help pass the time, but I was able to use 1 of the 3 computers to Skype my mom back home and sing happy birthday to her. Before I decided what month I was going to do the Camino, I made sure she would be ok with me missing her birthday. She said it would be alright as long as I skyped her on her birthday.
The only other way to pass the time was to hang around the bar buying each other drinks and greeting incoming pilgrims. Some people got a little too comfortable around the bar and sat around drinking a little too long, but at least they weren’t obnoxious about it. If it would have been warmer, we could have enjoyed the large front yard set up with tables and chairs to relax, but it was around the mid 40’s in the middle of April. If memory serves me, there was also a pool in the back as well.
A piece of advice, bring a book or a journal to help occupy your mind. Usually, people are finished hiking by 2 or 3 o’clock. After that, chores have to be done like finding a place to stay, laundry, resupplying, and getting a bit to eat. After chores, unless the place you’re staying has a pool table or something, you have to find your own entertainment. For me, journaling is a great way of helping me remember my adventures, friends I’ve met along the way, and the lessons I’ve learned about myself and the trail. I saw several people bring their own iPads because they were light, compact, and could store e-books, and movies. I was lucky enough that Caroline, one of my hiking buddies, brought her iPad mini with her to help pass the time watching Australian movies and Law and Order.
That night, after dinner, I decided to join a group of guys that had been sitting at the same table since about lunch. There was a younger kid, American, about 19 (the legal drinking age in Spain is 18) whose lips had turned purple from red wine some time ago, and he was about ready to fall out of his seat. Then there were 2 Irishmen, and old man and a younger one, and an Australian. I sat down, ordered a drink, and joined in on the conversation. We had a great time sharing stories, telling jokes, and sharing philosophies. It was the conversation that took place after it was just me, the old Irishman, and the young American that has stuck in my memory. Every time the old Irishman talked, he always clear his throat twice with a short cough. We’d been sharing with each other the reasons why we’d come on the Camino when the old man spoke up.
“(cough, cough) Some men and women come to walk the Camino to escape their problems.”
The inebriated American replied “So every time I have a problem I should just come to Spain and walk the Camino.”
Old Irishman, “No, you should do what the Camino taught you to do. Step back from the problem and see it as a whole. When you take a vacation for 1 or 2 days, the problem is still there when you get back. When you step away for 20, 30, or 40 days, then you really have time to see the whole problem and how to fix it.”
Then the Irishmen turned to me and asked me how I was enjoying the trail. I told him that I was loving it, but sometimes the afternoons were a little boring. Then he asked:
“Do you find that people bore you to talk to them at the end of the day?”
Me: “No, I’m just really shy most of the time.”
Old Irishman: “So am I, but that shouldn’t stop you from being able to talk to a stranger. If I see someone I want to talk to, I talk to them. If they don’t want to talk to me, then I say to myself ‘fuck’em'”
I always looked forward to having these types of conversations at the end of my day. It just added to the entire Camino experience.
Destination: Terradillos de Templarios
Distance: 26.8 km
Accomodation: Los Templarios Albergue- No wi-fi, internet access is available, good bar selection, good laundry service. It’s not quite in town so there’s not as much to do, but that shouldn’t stop you from having a good time and striking up conversations with other pilgrims.