It was a short day today after doing 66 km in the previous 2 days. The next stretch of camino is 17 km with no stops, so it was either continue on and do well over 35 again today or make it short. I´ve been having a little pain in backside and left leg, so decided it would be better to keep it short today. I had a lovely evening in Fromista, which was a very nice little town, having dinner in a restaurant with Mario from Montreal, and Mary from Ottawa. I found out that Mario is a "jack of all trades" and that he had wanted to do the camino for about 10 years and was finally giving it to himself as a 50th birthday present.
|Mario and Patricia|
The albergue was nice last night, and not full. People were friendly. I caught up with Mario on the road this morning, then we split as I decided to take the alternate track along a canal and water instead of along the road. I didn´t see anyone for a long long time. A couple of hours. There were parts of the road that made me think I was back in Stephenson, MI, 8 or 9 years old, running barefoot along the road bordered by small shrubs and cornfields. I went right back in time, thinking about my grandfather, Aunt Viola (Ola) and Old Harry (Harold, my uncle), and how the death of my grandfather was my first real encounter with the death of someone I loved, and that I don´t think I was ever allowed to fully process it. So, on and on... the memories were so very vivid and had me in tears. Then I looked and on the top of a hill behind me was a whole flock of sheep outlined against the ridge of the hill with the morning sun behind. When I stopped I could hear their bells ringing. The sun came up and the moon still shone in the full sun, and I was walking right into the setting moon. It was a rather emotional, but lovely morning, and seemed so timeless, with the cornfields and sheep, and lots of small birds flitting in the trees and bushes.
|Sheep after Fromista|
After maybe 3 hours I came out at this church, and right behind me came the Colombian couple, Ximena and Francisco, and then along came Mario, who had decided he didn´t like walking along the road and had turned around. I had noticed that he was pulling on the straps of his pack, and that indicated that it was fitting him right. So, when he put it on, I helped him adust it -- the shoulder straps were not right, and the band across the chest wasn´t right, either. By the time we made all the adjustments he said he it was much much better. I´m starting to think of myself as the camino pack doctor. Then I stopped in a church for quite awhile, then had a tortilla and cerveza, joined by the Spanish couple who do not speak English but our paths have been crossing and we have stayed in many of the same places for about 19 days now. Mario had continued on, but I think he was planning to stop here because of his blisters, although I haven´t seen him here.
|Francisco y Jimena|
I just met a Japanese man from Hokkaido. Eitan, which sounds like a Jewish name, not Japanese! And then there was a couple from Oregon in the kitchen of the hostel just now. The last part of the walk today was along the road, which was distinctly unpleasant. After I arrived here, it turned cold. I am now wearing fleece and long sleeves and long pants, and it is still chilly. It was pretty depressing walking around town in the afternoon, with absolutely everything closed. I had to wait for this internet cafe to open up, and then it was full. Oh, and I have found my first horse peregrino! When I came back to the albergue after wandering around town in the cold, there was a horse at the door! The rider said he thinks he is somewhat famous, as everyone tells him they´ve never seen a horse peregrino, either. He unloaded and unsaddled, leaving the saddle in the garage of the albergue, and last I saw he was leading the horse off somewhere. It has always amused me that the Miam Miam Dodo guidebook always lists whether horses are welcome and whether indoor or outdoor stables are available. So, there is an option for those of you who would like to do the camino, but not walk!
|Horse peregrino in Carrion de los Condes|
I have bought a few things to have for the road tomorrow, for the long stretch with nothing. I need to decide wether to try to go nearly 40 km to the larger town of Sahugun (3000 people) or stay in some tiny place along the way. I am one day ahead of my original schedule, and would like to add at least one more day, preferably 2, which I may be able to do, as I have some short days in the original schedule.
A young couple who is friendly with the other Spanish couple invited me to eat with them tonight -- they will cook. So I said yes. The young man in the couple speaks quite good English, and has helped me translate from time to time. I think Mario is here somewhere, but I have not seen him, but have met several of the other pilgrims I have been seeing along the way, including the old guy (from Brazil?) who walked with me in the dark yesterday morning. There are several albergues in this town, and a few hotels, too. I should get out now and visit some of the churches while they might be open. Big black clouds looming although sun is shining at the moment. It may be a long cold walk tomorrow.
|They were so kind to me -- do I have their names?|
General note: I have been getting up early in the mornings, usually by six, walking the first hour in the dark as it doesn´t start to get light until after 7, and the sun has been rising a little after 8 a.m. For the past two days the moon has been magnificent in the morning, and it was also shining last night as I walked back from dinner at 9 p.m.
|Moon in the morning after Hontanas|