May 2, 2016 Monday. 15.5 miles. Left at 7:50 – arrived 3:45pm
We left our beautiful albergue in San Nicholas late. We had left some food in their refrigerator and couldn’t get it out until 7:30 – so moving slow we left late and had a leisurely walk to the next town Sahagun, a lovely ancient town with old churches and little cafes and pilgrim statues. On the way into town we snacked on hard boiled eggs. SweetSophie was so kind to peel my egg for me when she saw me fumbling with frozen fingers. – and then I dropped. it in the dirt. She peeled anther one. Such patience and kindness. Mary, Sophie and I walked into the city together and enjoyed breakfast with other pilgrims.
After leaving Sahagun we walked along a path again under leafless trees beside a highway. Mary and Sophie left me in the dust and I walked enjoying the solitude and the warming of the day as I shed layers of clothing. The Camino split into an optional route after awhile and Mary and Sophie waited patiently for me so we were sure to be on the same path.
Again we were on a tree lined path along an asphalt road lined by wildflowers and fields of wheat and/or canola flowers.
With Mary and Sophie far ahead of me, I ran across S from Taiwan and we walked and talked together until the next town when we stopped for lunch. I went to find the ladies room and in the process of taking off my backpack Itook off a slice of skin the size of a small postage stamp. It was bleeding profusely and I couldn’t stop the bleeding and take care of business. What a mess! I finally got myself together well enough to wrap my hankie around it and ask the man behind the counter at the cafe to tie my hankie around my hand as a tourniquet and instead he kindly put a band-aid on it.
S from Taiwan was ready to move on down the road, but because I had spent so much time on first aid in the bathroom I needed to eat my lunch – which was two hard boiled eggs and an orange. M from Austrailia was talking to me. Earlier S from Taiwan and I were talking about we don’t think we are improving. It seems like everyone else is getting stronger and faster and let us know it and we are still at the same speed, energy level and endurance as. when we began, or maybe worse. In other words S from Taiwan and I were on the same page – real sisters of the Camino. After S left, M and I continued talking. But we were talking about the Camino in general and I told him I was learning and being tested in my character – sort of character development but I didn’t express anything specifically. Then M from Austrailia said to me, “Perhaps you are improving then, on the inside. Maybe that is more important right now.” My heart skipped a beat as I thought perhaps God was sending me a message through this atheist on the Camino and I was willing to listen.
As I was leaving this little town of Bericanos I saw some little white wildflowers and bent down low to photograph them. A nice looking, well dressed Spanish gentleman came up to me and asked”Que pasa?” Or I thought that is what he said. I pointed to my camera and said, “flores” (flowers,I think).That began a 15 minute conversation in Spanish. He asked me what country I was from, where I started the Camino, what state in the USA did I live in, did many people speak “Castillian” in San Diego . . . On and on. M from Austrailia passed by and asked if everything was all right – I assured him it was and off M went down the road. After too many “No intiendo’s” on my part. (I don’t understand) he asked me if I was going to sleep in Bericaos and I pointed to the road westward and he nodded he understood. He held my face in both of his hands and kissed both cheeks, one at a time, and said “Buen Camino!” I gave him a big American bear hug and said “Vaya con Dios.” He smiled – he beamed as I waved good bye to him.
I walked away with my heart so full of love for the opportunity to be in this country-at this moment-to share that moment with a Spanish gentleman. What kindness I had received today, what insights and messages, what a wonderful day. I spent the next two hours walking by myself. I walked slowly enjoying the feeling of the sun on my bare arms. I was in short shirt sleeves and there was just enough of a slight breeze to keep it from feeling too warm.
Here is some of what I saw:
There was about 10 minutes where I thought I might not be on the Camino, but I saw somebody and asked them what the town was ahead and he told me it was El Burgo and I knew I wold be at my destination soon.
Tomorrow I will be in Leon.