Total Distance: 23 km
Total Time: 6.5h
Total Euro: 21/person
Route: Santo Domingo to Belorado
Somehow E and I managed to get out the door by 6 am. Our early start paid off, though, as it was another hot day. I have been wondering about my decision to wear long running tights on this trip, but after today, I’m ready to buy a long sleeve shirt the next time we find an outdoor store. I haven’t been this brown since summers at Patricia’s and while the tan isn’t a bad thing, the distinct feeling of developing skin cancer is.
No dashing English cowboys on the road today and we arrived at Cuatros Cantones albergue around 12:30. The man checking us in saw our passports and brightened. He told us that American passports were his favorite because we were the only country that allowed people to smile in passport photos. I had been told not to smile for my Japanese driver’s license, but I assumed the opposite – that Japan was the only country that didn’t allow people to smile. It was a sweet and surprising thing to learn about my home country.
I spent my afternoon soaking my feet in the pool and talking to a Canadian and an American, while E responded to emails and used the internet. We’ve decided not to cook tonight after learning that the albergue cooks using vegetables (and probably livestock, judging by the chickens and rabbits penned up in the yard) from their own garden.
This last paragraph is not for the faint of heart, the overly squeamish, or anyone who isn’t interested in a total over-share from me. Normally, it’s not the sort of thing I’d talk about on my blog, but I feel it’s my duty as a future midwife and women’s health nurse practitioner to take a moment to describe what one might do if one were to menstruate while walking the Camino. Two words, ladies: Diva. Cup. The Diva Cup is a small silicone cup that sits inside the vagina to catch menstrual blood (the cup hold one ounce of fluid). It’s small, so it’s easy and light to pack, and it completely eliminates the need to carry around pads or tampons. Additionally, you can leave the Diva Cup in for up to 12h (and even with the heaviest flow, you can still get a good 6h out of it), which is plenty of time to get you from one place to another without having to empty it roadside. It’s also subtle – no strings hanging out for anyone to see as you enter and leave the shower. And, despite any doubts you may have, it’s comfortable! The main downside of having the Diva Cup while staying in hostels is when you actually do need to empty it. Sinks for rinsing the cup are typically located outside the bathroom stall, so you have to get a little creative, unless you want to waddle out with your pants around your ankles holding a blood-stained object. I’ve been bringing a bottle with water in it to rinse the cup over the toilet. This works pretty well, except that it does take a fair amount of time and the lights in the bathroom (which are on timers) often turn off on me. But I only have to do this three times per day, tops, so it’s not the end of the world. Inserting the Diva Cup also takes some practice, so I recommend trying it out before going on your trip. On a related note, they sell ibuprofen in 600 mg tablets over-the-counter here. To quote Maki, “Amazeballs.”