Friday 31 July 2015
I was woken up early by the sound of rolling thunder and heavy rain. Today looked as if it was going to be wet, wet, wet.
Breakfast was supposed to be at 7am but this is Spain so. . nobody even turned up until 7.20 and it was 8.30 before I finally set off. It was raining hard and continued to do so for pretty much the whole day.
I was determined to get to Refugio Viados, and so I have, but this was not a journey to recount or dwell on. There was much rain, and also hail, much thunder and lightning, and by the time I got here, "drowned rat" would be a fair description. No views, hence not much in the way of photos, though I did manage to snatch a couple.
The difference between French and Spanish refuges, on my experiences to date, remains stark. If you walk into the common room of a French one, everyone says hello. In a Spanish one everyone just stares at you, then carries on talking amongst themselves. None of the staff are friendly or helpful, and I don't feel welcome. Partly this is my fault for being unable to speak Spanish, I think, but it is too late to do anything about that now. If I could think of a practical way to do it I would alter my route to stay in France, but I am too dependent on Ton Joostens' hrp guide to dare to ignore it completely. Still, I will see what options I may have. This might be one reason why the French GR10 route is so much more popular than the Spanish GR11, by a factor of ten in fact. In mitigation, the evening meal was not bad, and I was put on a table with three Frenchmen, so was able to have a conversation at least.
Viados is short on facilities. It has no drying room for example, and since everything I wore today is wringing wet, it will be a challenge sorting out clothing for tomorrow.
The function of bad weather is to make one properly appreciate good weather, and it has certainly done that for me in spades. It can stop now. ..
One more thing I should mention is that at one point I passed a small cabane, and who should be inside it but my friend Mark from Ealing, who I last saw in lescun. He is also walking the hrp, and I expect I will bump into him again. He walks faster than me but says he is in no hurry, he seems to like a rest day now and then.