After several visits to the door of Albergue Calle Mayor in Nájera, where I pressed the appropriate door buzzer on and off for five minutes, I was starting to move into that travel-weary haze where I verge on the edge of laughter or tears. My clothes were still damp from the early morning rain, and I was in a great deal of pain. Thankfully this time, a local lady stopped and explained that the hotel around the corner managed the Albergue Calle Mayor.
After retrieving my backpack from the hotel’s lounge area, the receptionist gave me the key code for the Albergue and led me out through the back door into Calle Mayor. Three flights of stairs later and a walk along a long corridor, I opened the glass doors to a vast room. I stood at the door for a few minutes. There were five beds, three on one side and two on the other; to the rear, a large dining room table was a sofa, two oversized cushioned chairs and a coffee table. The back wall was shrouded in heavy curtains. I opened them and revealed the Rio Najerilla and Puente de Piedra, the Pilgrim’s route into this part of town.
My spirit had revived itself with dry clothes and a large space with a great view to hang out in.
I sat at the table watching the Camino Way walkers come into town, hoping that I would see Michael and Lisa before they got lost in the narrow streets of Nájera.
Finally, I spied them, crossing the Puente. I began waving frantically, trying to catch their attention, cheering them onto the finish line, which was still three flights of stairs away.
The ambience of the apartment changed once we had completed a load of washing and strung it around on our temporary clotheslines and the rack I’d retrieved from the central kitchen. The once classic apartment was transformed into a backpacker’s room.
Thanks to the concierge at the hotel I had booked the next nights accommodation and located the local supermarket. Michael and I shopped for cheeses, cold meats, bread, tomatoes, grapes, lettuce and the local vino, Rioja. I raided the communal kitchen for plates, knives, forks and glasses. We picnicked at the large wooden table while watching the last of the walkers drag themselves into town.
I was still on the verge of deciding if tomorrow would be my last day on the Camino Way. As I snuggled down into my sleeping bag, unable to move around too much because of the fall on my bum, I watched Michael repairing his feet from another strenuous day’s walk. Wondering at my inability to say goodbye to the Camino Way. There was, however, no decision about the mode of transport for tomorrow. I was catching an early bus to Santo Domingo de la Calzada with the injured German lady I’d met earlier in the kitchen.