Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 34: Haystacks of Fun!

Dscn2148bSeptember 14: Karolina and I woke up at sunrise, which put us in the back of the pilgrim pack. The vast majority of hikers in Najera had passed us by long before the sun rose.

The first town of the day, Azofra, was small but had hikers spilling out from the one coffee shop in town. Karolina wanted to stop to go to the bathroom, and I said I’d watch her bag for her, but she said that wasn’t necessary because she could just leave it with some other friends who were already sitting down enjoying their hot drinks. So I continued on without her. As much as I enjoyed Karolina’s company, I didn’t want to wear out my own welcome either. Karolina didn’t plan to camp out for a third night a row, but I didn’t want her sick of me for another night of camping some other time.

So I continued on without her.

An hour or so later, the trail passed near a rather impressive haystack, and I decided I wanted to do something photogenic with it. I could see lots of pilgrims taking photos of this haystack, but I wanted a photo that nobody else would have. So I studied it for a couple of minutes, thinking about it, and wondered if I could position somebody so it looked like they were single-handedly holding up the haystack with their bare hands. But I needed to enlist someone’s help. I looked back on the trail hoping Karolina was not far behind and could help me out, but I didn’t see her.

Eventually a nice couple from Utah arrived, and I asked if they’d help me out with a photo op. They were Jim and Michelle, and I tried to explain the shot I was looking to get. They were game for trying, but pushed me into the photo. I went along with it, but I had a feeling it wouldn’t turn out like I wanted. I couldn’t direct a shot when I was actually in it! Jim took a couple of photos of me, then showed me the results, and it didn’t look particularly good. So I finally got him to be in the photo while I took the photos, and I liked those results a lot more. But since I didn’t really know Jim or Michelle very well—I literally met them for the first time just a few minutes earlier—I didn’t feel comfortable asking them to spend a half hour trying to get the photo just perfect. Where was Karolina when I needed her? Karolina would have been happy to pose for the better part of an hour and probably would have enjoyed it. =)

Eventually I got a couple of photos where I thought, “That’s good enough,” and stopped imposing on Jim and Michelle. They were really good sports about it, though, and didn’t seem to mind my unusual requests. =)

The rest of the afternoon was completely uneventful, and I ended the day waking into Santo Domingo where I checked into the El Corregidor hotel. I decided on a hotel rather than a hostel since I had been offline for several days and wanted to catch up on email and any work-related issues that might have come up during my absence.

I did have one bit of trouble actually getting into my room. I spent a good five minutes wiggling the key in the lock and trying to get the door open, but it just would not work. So I sheepishly walked back down to the front desk to ask for help. It was just a regular old key--this isn't rocket science kind of stuff--but I'll be darned if that door would open for me.

The desk clerk came up and got the door open in about two seconds flat, which didn't help my self esteem any, and she explained that I have to pull the back towards me a bit before I push the door out and open. Seriously? That was the trick to it? I had to pull the door in a direction that it didn't open in order to open the door?

The desk clerk locked the door again and let me try, and sure enough, when I pulled the door to me then pushed it out, the door popped open, no problem at all. But I was still left puzzling over why it did that in the first place, and still left wondering if these kind of doors were so common in Spain than they felt it wasn't necessary to provide instructions on unlocking doors to their guests upon checking in!

A shrine along the Camino.

Graffiti on the trail!

I think a redneck lived here. =)


It looked like they were building an aqueduct or something
alongside this section of the trail.

Tom pretends to hold up the giant haystack. Although
I think it would have looked more realistic had the
palms of his hands not been so readily obvious. =)

This one I think worked out better since it didn’t
require careful positioning of his hands or body. Here
he’s just pretending that the haystack is falling
on top of him as if it had dropped out of the sky. =)


Camino art in a roundabout.

The road into Santo Domingo.

More Camino art. It’s kind of amazing how prevalent
scallop shells symbols are all along the trail!

One of the coolest water fountains along the trail!
Water comes out of the flask to the right of the boot.


TerraKacher said...

Do you have a copy of the map or the route your on? Or something to show the route you are taking.

Ryan said...

You can see, roughly speaking, the route I followed through Spain at

I say "roughly speaking" because I took many alternative routes that are close to (but not ON) the main path which is what I think this path shows. I'm also not sure how out of date this route even is. But it's pretty close to what I followed.

At this point in my blog, I'm a bit to the east of Burgos.

-- Ryan

anne bonny said...

Why does the graffiti art in the roundabout look like the devil to me? lol You know what I'm going to say right? No self-portrait? lol