Como se dice "squat"?
The Camino de Santiago is, among other things (more significant) a cheap way to travel in Spain. The albergues (pilgrim hostels) generally cost about 5 euro per night, and often have kitchens so you can cook your spaghetti and dump that can of tuna in and eat on the cheap.
Even so, it adds up, so I have been cutting corners by occasionally sleeping outside, which is of course worthwhile in its own right, though after a sweaty day of walking I miss the showers dearly. (And I will definitely be dry-cleaning the sleeping bag when this trip is done.) A couple nights ago I had decided to sleep outside, since it was beautiful weather, and the first albergue I had checked that day was 12 euro. (12! What is this, the Hilton?)
I heard the albergue would let me shower for free though, from the waitress in town who I bought my daily bocadillo from (seriously, I am so sick of Spanish bocadillos…I don’t mean to be ungrateful to my host country, but Spanish cooking is tremendously unimaginative. White white white bread, eggs, and jamon do not a cuisine make! Sorry, had to get that off my chest).
So I headed over post-haste (what does that mean? I think I am losing my grip on the English language…) and found the albergue was in an empty building. It had a rusting swing set out front to indicate that it was once the town’s schoolhouse, and I found myself wondering if they had built a new one, or if the town kids had started escaping this town earlier than usual. It was basically a squat, thin mats thrown down on bare floors, bare bulbs hanging in a couple of the rooms, nothing in others, except for one very important difference: the bathroom had a massive new water heater.
Praise Santiago! Like I said, it has been blazing hot lately, and I spend most of the day dripping. By the evening it cools down though, and I am generally not a fan of the cold shower when I am not in Mexico.
Anyway, the point is that I slept in an abandoned schoolhouse, which was pretty cool. There was a farmhouse across the street whose cow lowing in serious irritation for awhile, and the farmwife offered to make us cups of coffee in the morning for a euro each. I loved it.
P.S. “Squat” in Spanish is the same as English. I suppose it would have the little dots over the u though….the umlaut thingy.