Today was the earliest I had gotten up in my week on the camino. I was forced to get up in time to pack, check out and walk to the bus station. It was pretty dark at 7 am. The kind of darkness I saw at 5 am when walking the Camino Frances in May. The air was fresh, brisk. I saw a few people about in the park taking their dogs for a walk. I did miss this time of day on my walk, I realise. It’s very peaceful to walk before the world has woken up. Of course, I am walking through a park, so I am mindful to walk dead in the middle of the paved pathway. Despite the early hour, it’s pretty safe. I stopped off to have a coffee at the bar before waiting for my bus. Once again, it’s all very efficient. I feel braver now for doing solo travelling. I still find it hard to wander about the city in my own and eat by myself, but I am getting better.

Last night, I dined in the rather posh NH Collection hotel in my rather pilgrim like clothes. Not only did I feel the sting of being a solo traveller, I felt seriously underdressed. I walked past the hotel several times deciding whether to step in. There were many other places to dine. The trouble is, I couldn’t necessarily understand the menu. This is the trouble I am having too. Speaking very little Spanish. I wanted to eat something different but I needed to know I wasn’t going to accidentally stumble on to blood sausage. That’s what I need to do for next time – learn more Spanish.

Pictures of my 19€ menu del dia. I’m sure you’ll agree it was worth overcoming my discomfort of being a solo diner, and underdressed at that.

The trip to Asturias airport was about half hour. I queued at Easyjet, checked my backpack in and wandered off to look for another coffee. Satiated and another half hour time spent, I cleared customs. I guess I could have slept in another half hour. Once in the waiting, I am surprised at how quickly time flew. I suppose when you are flicking through your iPhone, texting people, doing the odd blog update, time does fly.

After clearing immigration, I headed of to catch the Stansted Express. It was my first time using the QR code ticket which I had purchased in advance. Buying your tickets at least 7 days ahead of your travel is much cheaper. I paid £12 instead of £18. Train travel is still confusing and I still get tripped up on finding the best deal. 

And suddenly, after being up for 8 hours, I am home with thoughts of yet another camino in my mind.

 

Bread stick appetiser with cream cheese dip.
  
Tartare of fish. Delicious!
  
Veal shank. Totally not what i expected. Very tasty.
  
Lemon mango thing with meringue topping. Divine.
  
It’s bad to drink by yourself, so I drank to everyone I knew.
  
View down to the bar area. this ysed to be an outdoors courtyard when the building was still a convent.
  
Painted ceilings. Ornate and gorgeous.