May 7, 2016 Saturday 12.8 miles Started at 7:30 am and arrived at 1:30 pm
Today was again a wonderful day beginning our climb into the mountains. The hostal I stayed in last night was quite a disappointment. They were not set up to take care of a pilgrim. It was wonderful having my own bedroom – the first time in three weeks, and the shared bathroom down the hall was an improvement over the albergues, but the lady who registered me into the hostal told me they opened at 6 a m and I could leave my backpack for transport any time after six. It is complicated to explain, but the hostal was over a restaurant, so I could get out of my room by a side door, but not into the restaurant except through the front door. I woke up at 5 am and got ready, hoping to leave at daybreak, which is about 6:15 now. But when I went out the side door, around to the front, they were not open. I could not leave until they opened the front door and allowed me to leave my backpack for transport. I waited outside in the cold until 7:30. Not a good way to start the day. All I said to her was “Muchas gracias.” I couldn’t explain myself in Spanish and she didn’t understand a word of English, but I was bound and determined not to let her rob me of my joy so I walked away with a grateful heart that I did not have to wait longer, and that I was on God’s time schehedule-not mine.
Yesterday was raining but today it was chilly and the sun was trying to come out behind the clouds. I found my way from the hostal to the Camino and within a mile there was a little church, so I stopped and gave a donation and poked inside.
After walking out of the church I joined the other pilgrims leaving Astorga, one by one they all passed me.I knew it was a short walk tody but wanted to take my time. I didn’t know if I would see J from Brazil, but hoped Iwould. Soon a tall man came up next to me and said something in Spanish, which I responded in Spanish but before long we knew we both spoke English. This was the beginning of a 12.8 mile walk with a most interesting man. M from the northwest is a former priest and now spiritual seeker, married with four children; his wife is a former nun. We talked so much and I was so fascinated by his story, I hardly noticed the mountain terrain, which I have to admit at times felt like home. We went through many small dying towns with old stone buildings that did not feel like home.
M from the northwest and I stopped mdmorning for a snack. Except for that it was steady walking along an old road, some times in mud. I saw the back of J once and called to her, but she didn’t hear me. Mary and Sofie passed by also. We just kept walking at my slow pace.M had fallen last year and broke two ribs near Leon. He returned to Leon this year to finish his walk to Santiago.
When we got to Rabanal Del Camino we ran into J and the three of had lunch togetherin a great restaurant -snug and warm, protected from the cold mountain wind beginning to blow outside. In the background we heard Irish music. and. that. is the. first. time I. understood that Spanish Gailic wasn’t caused by the Irish immigrating here, but the other way around. After lunch we all went our separate ways and I went around this lovely village taking pictures.I have taken so many more pictures than I have shared that I willhave to think of a way I can share the when I get home and download them all.
I went to mass in the little church across the street. I read it in English as the priests were singing. It was lovely. M from the northwest was sitting next to me singing in Latin. It is starting to rain, I can hear it on the sky light in my room. The day ended better than it began.I met a new interesting person who has much to say, several people passed me on the trail that I haven’t seen for days, old Camino friends and we re-connected for a few minutes, I continue to enjoy the sweet presence of J.
I. am going to bed tonight with gratitude that my ankle and health in general is holding up. Each day is a challeng, but today was relatively easy. Tomorrow there is more of a climb – from about 4,000 to 5,000 ft in the rain -and possibly snow? If I make it up the mountain I will go to Cruz de Ferro -traditional for bringing a rock from home and then symbolically leaving it there and leaving your burdens, your pain, “whatever” that needs left. I picked up a fine Quartz in the mountains between Laguna Mtn and Cuyamaca Mtn and. will be leaving that.
Soon Lee and Brian. will be here from San Diego.