Tolls. It tolled for me with an unwanted wake up call at 3am. From then on every fifteen minutes, like clockwork, a chime rang. Sometimes more than one ringy-dingy. The bell was far more than annoying. Every quarter hour, I was reminded, "Hey Jeff! That's fifteen more minutes of sleep you've been deprived of!" By 7am, I called it and went in search of coffee.
I put my legs on automatic pilot mode and set the timer for five hours of cruise control. Off I went on a bracing morning. Autumn is now giving Summer the bum's rush. The days are almost equally divided between light and night. Multicolored leaves are in free fall. I take my few breaks in full sun and race through the shady parts. Yet Spain is warmer than the feel of winter I experienced in Switzerland. The daily low temperatures here are the high temperatures in the Land of the Alps. My forecast looks brighter too. I'll take it.
It's been interesting to go from orderly, precise and proper Switzerland to gritty, graffitied and rough cut Spain in less than a day. Take a few steps off the Camino de Santiago's path and you'll be on a collision course with an impromptu latrine. I won't go any further on details. Let's just say, I never saw this on the Haute Route.
An analogy of the two countries differences can be summed up by their rivers.
Switzerland's rivers are born from glaciers. The water runs cold and clean with a sense of purpose. Spain's rivers meander along with a manana attitude. The Spanish tap water has a tang to it. I still drink it; once in awhile my stomach will gurgle. I'm sure I'll get used to it like I have in the past.
A Pilgrim from the 2013 graduating Camino class gently reminded me that Saint James always provides. She's right! I'm now using Booking.com to score rooms along the way. Still the towns and hotels are packed. I'm hoping there's a drop off of Princes and Princesses on this Pilgrimage. It was so much easier when most of the Pilgrims stayed in the Albergues. (Dorms).
Now this Jewish Prince is tucked into a cozy room and bed at an early hour. So far so good. I don't hear any Church bells.
Good night from Estella,