Camino Day 35

The highlight of today was a nice long catch-up via zoom with friends from Australia. As we are resting again today and basically just wandering the town, I thought I deal with a couple of Camino issues no one mentions.

The first is that there is not a single public toilet on the Camino. Generally the simple solution is to buy a coffee in a bar and use their toilet. But there are stretches without a bar or where the timing is off, and there things get ugly. Not only do people not clean up after themselves, they only go a meter or so off the track. The result is all too often you see toilet paper beside the track. And, seriously, I’m not talking about once in a while – there is a persistent tissue issue. Probably the most significant thing that is needed is education – people need to be told to bring a bag and leave nothing behind (well, they shouldn’t need to be told, but clearly…).

The second thing is graffiti. It constantly amazes us that when packing some people felt the need to include a permanent marker so as to share their deepest thoughts with everyone else. What makes it more frustrating is that they feel the need to share those thought on the limited available space on the way-markers. It’s incredibly selfish, and seems especially so because these people’s deepest thought seem to have been procured form Christmas crackers.

That said, there has been more interesting graffiti. All the way across Spain some local group has asserted their independence through crossing out or amending the signs for the area we find ourselves in. For example we are in Castile y Leon and at first people have crossed out the ‘y Leon’ but as we’ve moved West they have been crossing out the ‘Castile y’. In the Basque Country the graffiti was often far less subtle and would involve massive and repeated over-writing of previous messages.

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