Wednesday, March 10, 2021

El Camino - The Way #22

In this third week of Lent many may ask themselves - am I doing this correctly - what have I accomplished - where am I going? After our previous night on the Camino I think we were asking ourselves this same thing. We had walked all day - a very hot sweaty day - stopped at the suggested village - only to discover that three alburgues was about one too little - a lot more pilgrims than could be accommodated - one lonely restaurant that didn't serve dinner until 7:30 PM at night and by 6:30 PM already booked full twice over. That was an exhausting day - a trying night - sleeping in a dusty gymnasium - one bathroom - did I mention a cold water shower?   Still - God did bless us with a peaceful nights sleep - considering the rude early morning shuffling of the 5:00 AM early risers - shinning their flashlights into our eyes - morning arrived on time - we - the normal pilgrims - waking refreshed. Once we had our things gathered - back on the trail. At this point we were starting to see more pilgrims - peregrinos (Spanish) - on the trail. A quick stop for our morning cafe con leche y tostada - and on our way.  Today we met our first peregrino walking the trail backwards - often pilgrims will walk to Santiago - then walk the trail back home - especially those who live on the trail.

Hello - can I burro your trekking buddy?

This was a first for us - Arlene's face shows her surprise as this older peregrino with his donkey walked by.  
A quick buen camino - exchanged by both and on we continued. 

Buenas dias senor - Buen Camino 

Hot - Dry - Lonely - Never Ending Trail 
**You can see today's trail wind to the top of  the mountains in the center of this photo. 

This stretch of the Camino known for its heat - dry - brown expanse of nothing - fields harvested - laying dormant - definitely a sweat zone.  Only thing to do - pray - pray again - continuously.  During our Lenten journey - many days will feel like that - never ending - tired - perhaps boring - the same old - same old - yet - we continue - in faith we stick with it - somewhere - to an end. 

Surprise monument to Saint Brigida

Saint Brigida Statue in Alcove 

Pressing on at the 11 Kilometer mark we find an albergue - serving a second breakfast of cafe con leche y tostada - looking around - we decide to make it a short day - this place a palace compared to last night's gymnasium.  11 Kilometers not a long trek - but there was a fair amount of uphill - besides the laundry facilities excellent - the latte only €2 - who can beat that. Bocadillas for lunch - taking a nap - waiting for dinner - tonight another full bottle of wine

Welcome to our albergue - they even carried our back packs upstairs for us 

Possibly the only day that we stopped this early - yesterday was rough - spotting this oasis - the promise of a real bunk for the night - we treated ourselves to this short day - no guilt.  On our Lenten journey - we often stretch ourselves too thin - make ourselves depressed that we failed to do all planned - occasionally we stop dead in our tracks - take a day of respite - no good reason to push ourselves too hard - this really is not life or death - after all - we are trying - right?

Washing station - laundry tubs - hot water - drying racks - excellent

A few other pilgrims obviously had the same idea - plenty of space to take advantage - of free time - time to relax

Arlene enjoying the free time 

The photo below is the same shown above the Saint Brigida photo - long walk - climbing up the mountain - recharging our emotional batteries -  mentally preparing for that long up hill that we will tackle tomorrow. 

A short enjoyable day - plenty of time to relax - pray - meet a few pilgrims - share some stories.  Our Lenten journey should always allow time for unscheduled interruptions - especially when it involves sharing our experience with others.  You never know when you might meet Jesus in a stranger - break bread in an out of the way place.

Deacon Dale