[연재] 사랑하면 산티아고로 떠나라, 그녀처럼

[Serial] Leave for Santiago Trail if in Love like Her

11. Getting into hot water

Written by Su-a Lee, assistant principal cellist with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra

입력시간 : 2018-12-16 05:06:10 , 최종수정 : 2018-12-19 17:44:46, 편집부 기자
사진 = 이수아


Getting into hot water 


Day 11. Woke up a little after 3am. This is fairly normal. Insomnia has been a feature of my life since last summer. The problem is less about falling asleep, but rather in staying asleep.

 

I have tried various remedies with varying degrees of success. In general though, I only get around 4 hours of sleep a night, if I'm lucky!

 

I had hoped that being on the Camino, getting fresh air and exercise would provide a natural remedy. So far I haven't seen any evidence for this. But I guess I'm happy just to see how things progress.

 

At breakfast, we looked out of the window and realised that there had been a fair snowfall overnight. Today involved some height gain, so there were nervous rumblings about what it might be like up there.

 

Again, we all left at roughly the same time (around 7:30am), therefore creating another crocodile...but because I was ensconced in my hat/hood combo and couldn't hear or see much, I was happy to walk alone.

 

Just when my mind had wandered and I was having rather mischievous thoughts about what would have happened to the resident chickens at the albergue if I'd put our leftover chillies in their composting, a massive dump of snow landed on my hood from a heavily laden tree branch! What a shock! And served me right! Someone up there was punishing me for my devilry...

 

At the first village, there was a huge "HOOLLAAAA!!!" written in the snow! This is the signature cry from Antonio whenever anyone from the "group" appears. It is heartwarming and contagious and has become a regular anthem.

 

At only 45 minutes into the day and only just warming up, it felt too early to stop for coffee at the first village, so I decided to forge on for another 4km until the next one.

There, a rogue sign saying, "Bar 100m →" sent me down a hill and on a 10 minute wild goose chase...it turned out to be closed for the season.

 

Another 2km later, I was rewarded with coffee and tortilla.

 

The rest of the day turned into a long and relentless march in snow and slush. The snowfall overnight had been between 4 to 6 inches and it snowed and sleeted during my climb.

 

I was glad of my genius idea that morning to wear my spare wool socks as mittens. Better late than never. They made a huge difference.

 

I discovered that it was much harder to follow in previous pilgrim tracks, because the snow then became slushy and slippery under foot. Rather easier to make fresh tracks, because the snow packed better.

This presented problems of a different nature. Firstly, I had to pick up each foot higher (therefore more tiring) because of the depth of snow, and secondly, there was then a danger of finding a cold and wet surprise if the snow cover was disguising a deep puddle!

 

One or two from our group of pilgrims took the bus for this stage because of the weather, and others who nearly turned back, but were spurred on by passing pilgrims.

 

There was a further height gain of over 400m and a distance of 15.5km before my next stop. It felt interminable.

When I fell into the bar/restaurant, I determined that I would make this the last stop of my day if I could possibly help it!

 

The albergue here is a converted monastery and was rumoured to have no hot water or heating though, so most of the group were heading on to the next village 4km down the hill. I was utterly exhausted and had soaking feet. Once I'd had lunch, coffee and a stiff brandy, I ascertained that the monastery albergue DID have hot water and heating after all. So that was it, decision made.

 

The monastery was freezing, but they did switch on the heating for us. In the large dorm of around 28 bunks, there were only 7 of us.

 

One lady was already inside her sleeping bag by the time we arrived and she never emerged for the rest of the day. Perhaps she had been there for days?!

There were also two Americans who were clearly trying to warm each other up in the same sleeping bag! We spoke with them at the bar later in the evening, and they had met at the beginning of the Camino, and had taken 4 weeks just to get to this point.

 

Jade, George and Hartmut were the only ones in our group that kept me company.

 

First on the agenda was a shower. I was very glad of separate male and female bathrooms for what then ensued.

 

Jade and I were a little nervous about whether the promise of hot water was a reality, so I decided to be the guinea pig and test the shower before fully stripping off (it was Baltic in the bathroom). The shower pressure was good at least. After several minutes of freezing cold water, there was great rejoicing when it finally started running hot. Because the handheld showerhead had no hook, I placed it on the taps while I went to get ready.

 

Suddenly there was chaos, because I guess the strong shower pressure had caused the showerheadtofallofitsperch.

It had turned into a writhing snake, spraying boiling hot water in all directions!

I didn't know what to do first...but in the heat of the moment, this became the order:

1) rescue my towel and half my clothing from getting drenched

2) strip off to prevent the rest of my clothing getting wet

3) attempt to contain the writhing shower head that was spraying boiling water everywhere!

All the while, shrieking with horror.

 

Jade stood by and howled with laughter at this ridiculous sight! 


Su-a Lee 이수아

 















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