The stamina, courage, pain tolerance, and life stories shared with us on our camino is such inspiration that I continue to be humbled. Witnessing others’ struggles and love for each other on this rocky road is also a metaphor for whatever itself should be. To top it off, this German speed skating champion (Franz, the guy who I referenced last night on FB), asked me if it would be OK if he wore one of Cullen’s bracelets when he competes in 2014 Olympics.
Awoke to a nice dusting of snow on the mountains and about -5C, whatever that means. I do know what it feels like! Three layers wasn’t enough, so I stopped and added a fourth! Sufficient until it started “snowing hail,” or something odd. Not sure if the pictures will show it; not sure also why some pictures upload, but most don’t seem to. Probably something about weefee data speed, and sharing often with a hundred other peregrinos at the end of the day. So I’ve discovered mid-day seems to work best, when I stop for my cafeconleche fix!
So I ran into the two German kids, who couldn’t find a place to sleep that night, so just unrolled their sleeping bags under a tree and crashed there.. Waking in the morning to snails on both of their faces!!! We got a good belly laugh over that one. I also (just five minutes ago) walled up upon one of the earliest families I had met. The guy who last his brother (Matt), with his cousin (John) and father (Todd, I think), who were simply amazed to see me again. This was their last day, were flying back tomorrow, perhaps doing more next year. They had bussed part of the route, and even biked one leg, so certainly didnt expect me to be anywhere near them… especially carrying “my load.” Believe me, he is carrying me, not vice versa. Much love to everyone holding us up in prayers.
I will never again complain about my knees, now that I have met a man with no leg (see last picture, hiking with prosthesis). I continue to slow in my pace, but realize how blessed my life has been.
Although I have no idea where the two German guys ended up, I found a magical “rural” (farmhouse) Albergue to stay tonight. Got here so late (walked 38 kilometers today!), that I got no clothes washed; I expect to be walking alone tomorrow, everything I have really (REALLY!) stinks!! I think I have underwear, but no shirts, and definitely no socks!!! Yuck.
The Brierley pilgrim’s guide says Ana de la Cruz offers a warm welcome, and she did (although she did NOT provide transport for the 2Km off road to her home, like the book assured). Wonderful dinner, and since I stopped in a small town (villamayor del Rio) instead of Santa Domingo or Belorado, I have a small house, simple home cooked food, and two wonderful new friends from California. More tomorrow, gotta talk to my wonderful wife now! Much love.
First met Franz and Sebastian today,
as well as this wonderful couple from Ca at Ana’s B&B
Addendum: If you read this in anticipation of staying here with Ana de la Cruz, call ahead and agree on price first. I was taken back that she charged me for the double room (2X price) even though I was alone. She also charged us for the wine, which sounds reasonable, except this is the only place on the entire Camino where this was additional. Cost in morning was over twice what I expected.
14 down, 4 more to go before Mass at 6! Quick break , meeting with friends I seem to keep running into from Belgium and Italy…
Sorry the posting has been so thin; seems like when I have weefee I’m just exhausted, and when I finish for the day early enough to write, either there’s no Internet, or reception is so poor where I am that a post that took an hour to write just evaporates! I have so much to say, its a bit frustrating. But there may be a lesson there also.
Last night i was at a monastery where St Francis of Assisi stayed when he walked the Camiño. I also joined the friars and nuns praying the liturgy of hours or vespers, or something in Spanish, I was on the other side of vestibule with the lay people. Much of what they prayed was in Gregorian chant, and took my breath away. As it turns out, Canas was birthplace of Santo Domingo de Silos, who restored the famous monastery which now bears his name, and the home of Gregorian Chant in Spain! More later, much love.
No idea why mapmyhike app didnt work so well today. most of much shorter 6 hr day was alone, but very much enjoyed matt from san fran who lost his 17 year old little brother to a fall while hiking – 15 years ago – and his cousin john. we caught up with his parents a couple of hours later, and connected, as if we just understood each other, and the same loss. Without saying a word. Stopped way before i intended to. Because my knees said so. Villatuerta was having a basque separatist (or something) festival. With cervesa. That’s all I
needed! Good meal, good people, and did I mention some cervesa? Lots more to come.
Feel a bit like Martin Sheen in “The Way,” dragging in with a headlight, too tired to care the difference between a bed and a room. The difference is, I just had to keep going because the albergue’s were all full; Not to be discouraged, I sat to share some of the local grape crop with brother perigrinos, but I then had to continue on until I got here. Kinda feel like I’m cheating though, because what I finally crawled to is a real hotel, not a hostel or Albergue. Oh well, I had Peregrino intentions, I think that’s what counts, so I’ll suffer through only having one bed in my room, my own toilet, and hot water coming out of the shower!
Ok, today’s camino lesson…
I really really enjoyed the hours spent the past two days with my new friends, the stories told and the years shed – I thought I was the most emotional man I knew, but now I know I’m very good company. There’s a certain anonymity about pilgrims walking together, also sharing the physical pain (serious pain, check out the mapmyhike link – it’s been brutal), that allows, even encourages exposing one’s inner stuff, without masks or pretense. Many thanks and much love to Dirk (soon discovered he was Dirk de Man, who became what will be a lifelong friend) from Belgium, Franz (german Olympic hopeful Franz Weikert) and Bastian (Sebastian Seeling) from Germany, Tom from Ireland, Laura from Canada, Maryanne from “Budapesht” (Actually Marianne Banati) , some dude from San Antonio (addendum: in the too funny and awesome category: Paul Rockwood stumbled upon this blog and informed me that he is the “dude from San Antonio” – one of my brothers I sat and shared with in Utrega, during an earthquake believe it or not, in the café at the front of Camino de Perdon, I’m so humbled that people actually read this!)…. If any of you ever find this, please know that learning about your own journeys has enhanced mine, and is every bit as inspirational.
But the time I’ve enjoyed, grown, embraced the most is the few hours every afternoon, when everyone else has stopped for the day, and I continue “alone” for a while. I am not alone. And I’m not devastated with our loss.
I’m not alone on my camino.
No, really, and it sounds like it, but it’s not a cliche. The load on my back is a piggyback ride, and we’re seeing the most beautiful scenery you can imagine. Pictures could never do justice. I’ll show the few that I took, but much of what we saw was just for my son and me. Amazing experience this is. And this is just after two days.
Staying in convent no wifi (weefee) exhausted, crawled in on my hands and knees!
What an incredible first day! My calfs are so sore from the uphill, but much worse are the fronts of my thighs from very very steep downhill in snow and mud. Unfortunately most of the beauty was obscured by the fog and drizzle, but the glimpses I got were truly breathtaking. Walked with two Germans for a while, then one from Hungary and a Canadian. Everyone has a heartfelt story, life is so inspiring. And despite all the falling on this rocky road, we are truly blessed.
Over 200 staying this Albergue, bunk beds…very interesting; when you suffer together its quite a connection. Mass tonight in Spanish was nonetheless moving and unforgettable, a fallen away catholic girl next to me was sobbing, proving contagious.
Lights out at 10, up at 5:30.
More later, buen camino!