I’ll post pics as I gather some together, but I’m not going to attempt a Camino day-by-day. That seems like overkill. But I will provide some impressions and some information as I gather it.
First some pics.
My first observation is that there are Albergues open in some small villages but they are not posted on Booking.com or Expedia. I thought I would need to go to Estella today after looking online in my travel apps and in Wise Pilgrim. But I arrived in Villatuerta very sore and very tired. The door to Casa Magica – one of my very favorite Albergues – was open, and I went in shouting out Hola! to the darkened reception. The nice couple came out of the kitchen and said they will be open on the 28th but directed me to take three lefts and a right to Casa Azul. Not on any website, newly renovated with green power, complete with a simply lovely host.
So perhaps its better to just wait until I get tired rather than stressing about a bed. Like my first Camino, today I was so grateful for a bed I wanted to cry. Suddenly I remembered how that felt. And my lunch reinforced that the Camino, for me, is all about gratitude.
My second observation is that I need to tape myfeet. I skipped it the past two days but I can feels sore hot spots tonight. I will not forget that in the morning. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – as grandma used to say.
At the only restaurant open in this town, this meal is the best thing I have ever eaten. It doesn’t look like much, but I was so hungry I was shaky and this was the last of their chicken, with none on the horizon due to the trucking strike. Jeff was on the phone with me when the plate was sat before me. He laughed at my reaction. Mouth watering, I took a bite and moaned audibly. The owner of the cafe smiled. I was so grateful for this food after walking for five hours without a cafe open in any town. It tasted divine. I wonder if this strike continues if food will become an issue all across Spain. Camino or no Camino. <Gulp>
The cafe was filled with old men debating politics and the trucking strike. I love sitting in a coffee place and listening to this dance as old as time. I could have been in any village from here to Afghanistan and it would have sounded exactly the same. Raised voices, flailing arms, slapping counter tops, just to make a point.
There are a few Pilgrims walking. I found them. A Korean family who insisted I take some of their tangerines at a rest stop in a town square. A couple from British Columbia in Canada who walked with me for a bit. He had found the lost rubber tip from one of my walking poles on the trail and happily returned it to me. Amazing. A British Couple from Norwich who shared their chocolate with me. And a German girl who poured her heart out, needing an ear and someone to hear her story. I was grateful to be the one she chose to tell it to.
So this quiet, very cold Camino isn’t so different than the others. Less crowds but more intimate moments for connecting. And more space for thinking and writing. For me the Camino is about processing and letting go. Of old hurts, old patterns, old thinking. Of gaining a new perspective by spending time with people who bring a fresh one with them. And by spending time alone. I should have plenty of that this go. Something else to be grateful for.