Dubious start today when I went to the corner Cafe for an early breakfast only to find it closed, and upon returning to my hotel discovered I was locked out. It was 20 minutes before the night manager answered the bell. So I had neither breakfast nor an early start. However, it was still dark when I left making it difficult to navigate my way out of the town, though it was beautiful to watch the sunrise.
I was feeling a bit lonely, as it seemed all my Camino friends had either left the Camino or were a day or two ahead of me. A young man from Germany came along walked with me for a while which relieved my melancholy. His name is Deni reminding me of my first day and the first person I walked with from Lourdes, a Frenchman also named Deni, who I did not expect to ever see again. Late morning I stopped in a park for a rest & snack. I was approached by two men, one was calling me by name. Because of his hat I had not recognized Deni, my French guide from Day One! What a great surprise! His son joined him the day after we met and they took an alternate route over the Pyrenees.
Upon arriving in Azofra I was once again surprised to see old friends appear. This made for a pleasant lunch catching up with them and their stories. Linn from Germany, Marianne from Sweden, and the injured Dutch woman Gerta.
Back to the pilgrim life in an albergue for me tonight. No hotel. This night is in a large new municipal facility which was very nice with a garden foundation pool that many took advantage of to soak sore feet.I enjoyed an early dinner in town so I could catch the church service which the guidebook book said was at 7:00. No service tonight.
A closing note about all the friendly, hardworking, and honest people I’ve encountered in France and Spain. This has been true of just random people offering, a Buen Camino, or directions, to all the cafes staff. Last night I dropped the envelope in which I keep spare cash. I thought I’d returned it to its hiding place in my fanny pack but had somehow missed and it slipped to the floor unnoticed. When I returned from the bathroom the waitress had it in her hand and asked if it was mine! 💕
Day 20 – Granon
Spectacular morning walking through rolling hillsides displaying their cultivated fields, creating a myriad of patterns. It is beautiful to walk through but seemingly impossible to capture in a photograph .
Spent the morning walking with my wounded and now solo friend from Sweden. We enjoyed a quiet time together imagining that this brown scenery and blazing sun is a prelude to the upcoming Meseta (plains).
We continued together to Santo Domingo where we visited the cathedral which keeps a hen & rooster on display (for the strange legend behind this try Google). Here we parted company so she could heal her feet and knees and I could continue on to Granon.
I have read and been told that staying at the albergue run by nuns with a communal dinner & prayers is a must for any true pilgrim. However when I arrived I discovered that the accommodations included two inch thick mattresses side by side on the floor. I could not envision my trying to get off the floor multiple times in the night. So I checked into the only other option in town. This one is run by a free spirit as a Donativo. No set price, you donate what you’d feel is fair for a bed, communal dinner & breakfast. Very funky place to say the least. Dinner was an interesting affair with only one or two English speakers, other than my friend Deni and his son. The dinner menu was bean soup followed by roasted potatoes and salad.