‘Bad Pilgrim! Bad Pilgrim!’ – this is how I taunt Clarisa every time she whinges about her feet, the weather, other pilgrims, the time it’s taking to get to the albergue, how knotty her hair is, the temperature of the drinking water, whatever. I say it a lot.
However, I, despite my angelic looks, have committed many of my own camino faux-pas over the past five weeks including losing my temper inwardly (though not outwardly – but I know a woman who has) and behaving in the most un-pilgrim-like manner throughout.
We’re two days from Santiago and I am triply resolved to walk in presence and gratitude (It’s not as easy as it looks) from tomorrow on, not lose my temper with other pilgrims, the weather or John Brierley’s endless understatements and out-and-out falsehoods. So, as a cathartic exercise and cos, well, it’s a laugh, here’s my top 5 bad pilgrim-esque behaviours I’ve seen, indulged in or been party to over the course of the camino.
But first, the walk. In the last two days we’ve travelled along the hilly roads and pathways of Galicia from Portomarin to Boente, falling 5k short of our target for the two days. To be honest, we’re cream crackered. We’ve been walking for 8-12 hours every day for 14 days straight now and a rest day is badly needed. However it’s 45k to Santiago and it seems daft to rest so close to the target! So, we’ll press on.
The walk from Portomarin was super wet and far more uphill than the Brierley guide had led us to believe. The aching arse muscles were all worth while though thanks to this mischievous kitten. Not only did she take much of my sandwich, she also tried to help herself to the coffee and played emotional mind games with both of us when we tried to leave letting out desperate and heartbreaking cries when we motioned to leave. Bad kitty!
Today’s walk was another total fib, looking easy in the guide yet anything but. Hilly and challenging with the weather changing every couple of kilometres forcing wardrobe malfunctions and many changes of footwear. Rain on sweat on rain on sweat on rain = stinky.
Today’s walk again featured lots of beautiful, green and lush Galician countryside and horses and cows striking silly poses as we passed. How they like to tease us!
Bad Pilgrim, Bad Pilgrim! Shameful behaviours witnessed and delivered on camino.
1) Upon waking up for the 6th time to the same girl’s mobile alarm within an hour (she just lurved to snooze – shame no one else did) – Clarisa shined her torch directly into the teenage pilgrims eyes and whispered in a low intimidating voice ‘No estas sola aqui’. Top Pilgrim Tip: Alarms are super rude. Vibrate if necessary, and if you truly have to do it, turn it off quickly!
2) While busting for the toilet at 2am I ran out quickly to the communal bogs to find my feet standing in pilgrim pee. It was everywhere, and I was busting. It’s the first time I’ve paddled whilst on the toilet. The aim of male pilgrims is just as bad as the regular workaday male. Top Pilgrim Tip: flipflops at ALL times.
3) A british male pilgrim snuck an apple from a donativo table, took a bite from it, pulled a disgusted face and tossed it aside – without paying. Top Pilgrim Tip: Um, don’t do that, tightass!
4) When I realised I was infested with chinches, instead of taking my sleeping bag and socks in a plastic bag and disposing at a designated area, I tossed them out of my bag in disgust and ran from the scene! Very bad pilgrim. Top Pilgrim Tip: carry a few spare plastic bags, they will help out in countless situations! (Including the one below)
5) Where you think is a beautiful place to stop and take a picnic, another pilgrim thought was an awesome place to take a crap. Top Pilgrim Tip: extra caution when laying down your bag, coat, towel! Bleurgh!
So, when I next post I should have arrived at Santiago de Compostella – How exciting and delightful is that?