After a good night’s sleep, things seemed and felt better. For one thing the Zen Removers had learnt their lesson, whether someone had told them or they had realised it themselves, and their mobile alarm was now on vibrate. I knew I could sleep on because I had the Fitbit on my arm and it was set to silent alarm at seven. Obviously there were 5 am Plastic Bag Rustlers in the room – just below me, as it happened – and then all the others started about six, but I persisted in resting. I even found ear plugs useful, which I have never done before. When I was finally ready to leave, the bar below was about to open, so I waited for Amparo to arrive so I could have some coffee and breakfast.
When she did, some others from the private rooms also arrived. I knew I had to go a lot down hill today so I wanted to adjust my Pacerpoles accordingly but could not unscrew them (user error – I should have unscrewed and dismantled them when expecting big temperature changes). It took the collected might of me, Amparo, a dishcloth and a large pair of pliers before the poles gave in and surrendered. This time I was consciously late leaving Acebo, hoping to find the right time after all the Acebo pilgrims have left and before the Foncebadón early birds arrived, so I could be on my own. As it happened I timed it perfectly – the only other people I saw on the whole walk down to Molinaseca were two young-ish men who had stayed in the Meson too, and who had had a late night in the company of the Zen Removers and other vinogrinos. They didn’t go far before they found a nice bit of grass to rest and possibly catch up on their sleep. Then I was alone.
I didn’t really take many photos this time, I concentrated on being in the moment and not seeing it through a lens. Having poles in my hands might also have had something to do with it and maybe that’s a good thing.
Finally, after another glorious, fun, challenging and exciting walk down the hills in magnificent solitude, I reached beautiful Molinaseca. The sun was shining, pilgrims were resting in the outside seats by the river, and I felt so much better than I had done the previous night. (I decided I had had Day 3, which is always hard, the day before.) And I really didn’t want to move on. I looked at my guide and my plan and decided that as long as I walked every step from Sarria to earn my Vicarie Pro compostela, I could allow myself this little treat of staying in Molinaseca the rest of the day. I sat down in the sun and relaxed with other pilgrims and a large Clara and felt the Camino calm click into place. This was the Zen I was here to find.
The skin I had taken off my shin made the idea of crawling into a top bunk seem like a bad plan though, so I went to a little place I know, Casa Pichin, where they have two private rooms and one mini dorm with five beds. Again I was the first one there and secured the best positioned bed, no climbing or crawling necessary. After a shower and a bit of electronics charging I went for a slow stroll around town, sat pilgrim watching by the river and had a meal before I went back to Pichin. It turned out I was still the only one in the room so I essentially had a private room for €10! I grabbed the opportunity to have another early night and some undisturbed sleep. I must have needed it.