Day 21 – Villafranca Montes de Oca
Between the noise in the albergue this morning and the breakfast of stale bread I decided to try and early start walking in the dark leaving Granon. The Camino once again provided rewards I wouldn’t have imagined, a full moon lighted my way through the fields. Plus the signage here is excellent.
Speaking of guidance, I feel as though I’ve been guided since I said yes to the Camino. So many aspects of my life have seemed to just fall into place. All I have to do is follow the signs & arrows….
I am often surprised when I pause in my walk to look back. The scene is often quite beautiful as is my life when I view it from today’s perspective. I can see that everything worked out as it was mean to. I’ve been blessed all along but did not know it.
My French friend Deni & his son came upon me in the midst of contemplation to once again provide guidance. They had a new friend in tow, from Italy. She was struggling a bit with language and physical ailments. A woman passing by sensed this and stopped to offer help adjusting her pack and offering her advice. Again the beauty of sharing on the Camino. We later stopped for a snack in Belorado before again parting company, for some solo walking.
Even though the field had turned monochrome the pathways were still dotted with splashes of colorI arrived in the tiny village of Villafranca Montes de Oca, Friday afternoon, in time to witness Spain’s version of bowling being played in the Church’s courtyard. I have no idea what it is called or what the rules are. They all seemed to be having a lot of fun and many laughs, especially when the wind blew down the pins.
Day 22 – Cardenuela Riopico
When the lights go on in the 20+ person bunkroom it’s time to get up and get going. Not interested in another predawn start I delayed my departure with some coffee and breakfast in the bar. I happened to leave the albergue at the same time as two Dutch women, Charlotte and Janni. Ww found ourselves walking together on and off throughout the morning. (I must be meeting every Dutch pilgrim on the Camino!)￼
Today’s walk we enjoyed mostly on good paths with a few uphill challenges, and enjoyed some of the last shade trees we will see for quite a few days. Also discovered a number of interesting sights along the way.A new pilgrim arrived as we were finishing our morning coffee stop. Father & son team with their sweet donkey, Mariano, pulling the back end of an old car as a cart.
Charlotte was a bit disappointed not to get to ride in the cart. The previous evening she had celebrated her birthday at dinner and after a bit of wine the offer had been made.
We stopped for lunch in the picturesque village of Ages. Took the opportunity for a photo op with my little bear buddy. We were entertaining watching the antics of a group celebrating Saturday… it was a motley crew. As we were finishing our lunch, a car pulled up right in front of our table. Out jumped Deni! He had severely hurt his ankle and his wife had driven from their home in Toulouse to pick them up. He just happened to spot me and pulled over to invite me to visit their home after I finished my Camino!
Sadly, Yanni announced that she could walk no further that day as her feet and especially her hip were bothering her. Charlotte and I continued on as she had to be in Burgos in two days to make her connections to return home.
The high pointed of the day, literally and figuratively, was coming across a huge spiral labyrinth at the highest peak of the day’s walk by Cruz de Matagrande. It was so large that we only walked it one way to the center. I have been interested in labyrinths since I walk led my first January 1st this year. (my post Camion project will be a book on labyrinths) Today’s was personally a very significant event. I am grateful that we took a break from our walk West to do this circular walk, and that a Charlotte agreed to walk it with me… Little did I suspect that when we reached the center she would turn to me with arms open. It was as if our souls collided.
We ended the day at a very small Albergue and were offered a room with just two bunk beds. Fortunately we ended up having the room to ourselves, and with a private bath. There were a number of pilgrims who were also in attendance during last nights celebration, so they sang another chorus of Happy Birthday to Charlotte.
Day -23 To Burgos
The walking approach did not offer much until we were in the city boundaries and entered the beautiful river walk.
We arrived just in time to see the last of the finishers of the cities annual marathon. We were a bit stunned when a lone runner turned to us and said “Buen Camino “! We wandered through the adjacent weekend market more interested in finding a hotel and dropping our packs than shopping. Also, having to carry all of your worldly possessions keeps you from any frivolous purchases.
I could not resist one night in the hotel El Cid with a room looking directly out onto the majestic cathedral. Needless to say it was magical for this new Camino couple. We enjoyed our second night together. In the morning I put Charlotte in a taxi to the train station to return to the Netherlands not knowing if we would ever see each other again. And I went off in search of another hotel for a second night in Burgos.
Day 24 – Halfway
This is the halfway point of my walk 500 kilometers down, 500 to go. The next section of Spain is the Meseta which features high plains. Is is reportedly flat, hot, and boring. Some people hate it, some choose to skip it and take the bus, others find it a wonderful meditation. Stay tuned…So I am taking a two day holiday in Burgos. My day of rest entailed changing hotels, doing laundry, running errands, a bit of sightseeing, and of course running in to fellow pilgrim friends new & old. The cafés here are like eddies on the stream of the Camino, a place to rest and watch the other pilgrims swim by.