A hedge in Soulac sur-Mer – the other side of the road
Setting a new record for the shortest distance covered in one day! I was ready to push hard, no doubts about that. Granted, more keen on the idea of a day on Playa Cala Saladaita but that’s best best of what’s yet to come. My spot for the night was peaceful, even if my conversation with the local red squirrel wasn’t. Ok, I’m no doctor Doolittle but I understood that by the time the little bugger had thrown the 16th pine kernel at my head with a startling degree of accuracy, the translation was pretty much “who the fuck do you think you are camping on my turf?”. He gave up after a while though. I like to think he saw the kindness in me but he probably just caught a whiff of my shoes.
Regardless of my ambition to set a new daily record, the lack of power in my devices wasn’t going to let me press on. My phone was almost dead and the power pack wasn’t able to bring it back to life so I used the last of it to research, packed up my tent and prepared myself for the long trek to a campsite for the day, about 35 meters in total, arriving within 3 mins.
I checked in and didn’t even bother negotiating the princely sum of €12, setting yet another record for the day. Straight into the showers and returning to my pitch like a wrinkled prune an hour later having scrubbed through an entire bar of soap (hotel size, I’ll give you that).
With the tent only staying in the bag for half an hour, fully erected yet again and my prize possessions under the safety of 0.3mm of fabric, I headed for the cheapest supermarket in town (“altogether now!”) Lidl to stock up royally for the forthcoming journey into the wild over the next few days. Sweets, chocolate, cuscos, mackerel, salad, sweets, brownies, cereal bars, sweets and, of course, chorizo. Oh, I got some sweets too.
The idea was to chow down, prepare a couple of packed lunches for the next few days, catch up on blogs, send out emails, recharge devices fully, Skype the family and friends, repair some shit etc. A no progress day with lots of progress you might say. Or a day off! Whatever. I got the Skyping out of the way when a new task was added to the list – “bier?” I heard over my shoulder from the tent next door. Oh well, there goes the progress!
The waiter was a local guy by the name of Francois and la beverage du jour was Heineken. My body was a temple for 20 days but a bit of company and the satisfying fizz of larger rolling down my throat was more than enough to put that to rest. I prepared some finger food and we slowly made our way through a six pack. A joy for me but no doubt an uncomfortable challenge for poor Francois who had to search his memory for the English phrase to everything he wanted to say. I, of course, returned the favour by speaking English with a terrible French accent. I don’t know if this helped or insulted but I was a bit too drunk to notice at the time. I did, of course, extended this gesture of good will by replacing the beers with a last min dash to the supermarket to buy six more, Belgian, blonde, and very, very strong! I don’t know if this was their slogan. Maybe I should write to them in an annoying French accent. The Belgians didn’t stay for long but I did. Francois was good company, possible something to do with the fact that we were both scorpios of ’79 and both on our own solo journeys, maybe just because it was the first social of the long push to ibiza, whatever, it worked for me! Selfish? Yes! But… no, just plain old selfish.
My tent shut, eyes shut, my brain shit and, at 3am, my arse decided to open. Seems those Belgian like to party late and don’t take kindly to the music being turned off early. 3 separate hot foots to the loo with only 4 sheets of loo roll was a challenge that makes my journey seen like a walk in the park, or a run in the dark.
So I woke the next day properly dehydrated with a mountain of food I couldn’t carry, emails unsent and blogs that didn’t exist yet. No need for Roy Castle to rise from the grave and polish his brass. The day certainly wasn’t going to be a record breaker!