374.5 kms SdC
Rain! It rained a little in León this morning just enough to be a nuisance. Veronica went to the cathedral and I went to the Internet shop (which was not open). We met later at the Estación de Autobus de León for the bus to Sahagún. This is a common bus or train route for pilgrims (Sahagún to León) as the two stages are long and crossing the major highways is dangerous. I have heard those bed bug stories again.
Driving through the western end of the Meseta it looked extremly dry. Many of the trees planted for the benefit of the pilgrims in the 1990's have died. I always watch the pilgrims passing, some with a happy step, and some just plod along.
The Celts walked this way for centuries before the Catholics claimed The Way as their own. The Celts completed their journey at Cape Finisterre (finis-end, terre-land, earth) walking to the end of the then known world. At Cape Finisterre they watched the sun set over the Atlantic Ocean, then amazingly the sun rose the next morning in the east. I have always walked with my Celtic heart and thought of Katie Fitzgerald and my ancestral Irish roots.
Off The Road, Jack Hitt he mentions the Victorian era renovations to this church. They replaced the lewd stone carvings with a more moderate theme, it was 1800's censorship.
I lost a sock today. They were wet, not having dried overnight, hand washed socks take a long time to dry so I placed them in the top of my pack this morning to dry from the sun. When I put on sunscreen I must have pulled one out and not noticed, oh well I still have two pair.
It was a cloudless sunny day but Kim (Irish - camino 2007) was with me. I thought of the Irish prayer she sent me before another camino, the wind was at my back.
May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And the rains fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Veronica told me that her brother died today. Sincere sympathy Vron.
September 20, 2011
20.2 kms (12.5 miles)
The walk to Hontanas is along the road and you know by now that I would rather be on the path. The path is special, the road is a road! I think it is beautiful walking the meseta and I don't want to miss it. Up on the high mesa it was busy with the many pilgrims walking west.
Veronica and I had a drink and then decided to meet at six after a siesta. Good idea Vron! The bar's comedor (dining room) is small, five tables seating four each, so being early we were at the first sitting.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
A different day along the way ........ taxi, bus, taxi, walk
By now a purist has left this site but I make no apologies. A pilgrims camino is a personal journey and how they go about it is their business. There is not a rule book for a pilgrimage. Some judgmental people make their own rules and want to apply those rules to other pilgrims. In 2002 I did not know how to take a bus, or call for a taxi, so I walked but when I needed to rest because of blisters I took a train from Burgos to León. I told myself that I would come back to walk the meseta (I did). A friend told me that I was cheating. My firm belief is that anything a pilgrim does before the last 100 kms is their camino. A pilgrim must walk the last 100 kms or cycle the last 200 kms - this is a rule from the Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela. I have never broken that rule going west. Oh, and nothing says you have to carry your pack, the pilgrim has to walk, not the pack.
Veronica asked last night if we could take a taxi to Burgos as she wanted to attend early Mass at the beautiful Burgos Cathedral. Her brother's funeral service is today in England and this way she felt she could feel part of it. I needed a Telebanco (ATM) and Farmacia (more plasters, foot gel and Ibuprofeno) so was fine with this. We have been together since Palais de Rei and now want to be together in Logroño for a farewell dinner. Vron also suggested that after Mass we should take the bus to Villafria (where many pilgrims take the bus into Burgos from the other way). There is a long 10 kms straight stretch through the industrial area and suburbs. Since I have taken this bus before I agreed. I am grateful that Veronica is with me. Veronica is a step ahead of me and clues me in to what is required to move along on the return journey.
I thank Ilsa (my Spanish teacher) for giving me the ability to communicate while in Spain. The longer I am in Spain the better my language ability gets. I stumble at times when accents and words change within the various regions.
Coming through the forest I could hear cars and trucks whizzing by (loud) and did not remember this in previous years. The new highway N-120 can be seen in the far right of picture, it makes a difference to this beautiful walk. The highway is so new the road surface is still jet black :)
I had planned to stay at El Parajo the truck stop that I stayed at in 2002, 2007 and 2009. Once I saw Hotel San Antón I could not go past it. My feet said, STOP! My room was so quiet that I fell asleep at 15:00. I did not set my alarm because Garry had said he would call at 16:00. Garry woke me at 19:00 - I had a four hour siesta, guess I was more tired than I realized.
John Brierley writes about the following in his guidebook. John was offered a meal and bed but wanted to move on to the next village. He found everything completo in that village. My point is, when the next albergue is 12 kms away why, oh why, do pilgrims not stop? I see them continuing on so late in the afternoon and running the risk of all albergues being completo (full). Yes, some look like they could do it easily but others look like they should have stopped a few kilometers before passing me.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Gracias, senōr. I am honored by your gift.
Obviously the person who wrote this has not worked it out that the blue arrow is for the returning pilgrims.
I was on a rest break when a man passed by, then a woman who was followed by the most lovely looking boy (blonde, handsome, maybe 8 yrs) who was singing at the top of his voice and twirling his stick like a drum major. Just watching him made me smile. After he had turned a corner I thought not everything can be photographed some things are for memory.
Walking around today the fliers were everywhere, they advertised a Mass and Concert, 20:00 at the Cathedral tonight. I was at Bar Pedra an outdoor table, on the camino, watching the constant flow of locals walking to the cathedral dressed in their finest clothes. Then I sat in silence when a hearse, bedecked in flowers, slowly went past. I could read one card on a wreath and the flowers were from, esposa y hijos (wife and sons/children). What a strange time for a funeral I thought. Lo and behold the funeral service was at the Cathedral. Must have been an important man to preempt the Mass and Concert, or were the fliers for his service?
A REST DAY FOR THE FEET
A rest day for the feet? Let me explain that this means a rest day from wearing boots. I am not tired. I can walk around Santo Domingo in sandals, no socks with the blisters uncovered to dry. I am tempted to throw my boots in the trash but maybe Germany will be cold and I will need them.
Veronica sent me an SMS asking if I can stop by the cathedral and take a photo of Saint Veronica, I will. The cathedral was not open when Veronica walked through Santo Domingo. I was at the cathedral yesterday but did not photograph Saint Veronica. Santo Domingo Cathedral has undergone major renovations and glows with its clean old stones and a new stone floor. The pews are modern in dark wood and the altar in light wood. The chicken coop is still the same. Were the chickens in the coop daily while renovation were being done? I remember the cathedral from 2002 and it was dark and dismal. Now light and airy with the entrance on the other side and a €2.50 fee for pilgrims. Progress, we must look after these buildings, the cathedral has survived over 700 years and I hope it lasts another 700+.
Yesterday my pack was heavy with wet clothes that did not dry overnight. This morning those clothes are dry, what a relief. When clothes are wet the backpack gets heavier, and the difference in weight is felt on your back.
I have finished my walking for 2011. I will return to Santo Domingo de la Calzada in 2012 to continue the retorno (return) journey along Camino Francés to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (SJPP), France. Tomorrow I move on to Logroño a city that I am ambivalent about. I have happy memories in Logroño and yet do not like the city.