Monday, May 18, 2015

Camino de Santiago Monday 18th May: Day 6

Hornillos del Camino - Carrion de los Condes
64.3km, total time on the way 10hrs

Life is very simple on the Camino. Get up, run & walk, rest, sleep. Interspersed with eating. Life is very simple in general but we spend most of our days making it complicated. 
And we need so little. Food, water, shelter, the clothes we are wearing, companionship and those few things we can carry. And love. Yet, we often want so much more.

Left at 06:10 in dawn's first light.  It was distinctly chilly under clear skies but we were treated to a perfect sunrise just after 07:00. 

Passed through the lovely little village of Hontantos, past the ruins of a convent in St Anton and then on to Castrojeriz, with 2 lovely churches (locked) and the hilltop ruins of a castillo. I grabbed a choccy pastry and bought get another lip salve - I am donating them to the Camino!!

Passed a couple from S Korea walking with their 6yr old son. From what I could gather they were walking all the way to Santiago de Compostela.
The Camino is well into the maseta now. 120 miles of fairly flat, fairly straight path (mainly farm track) across the northern plains of Spain. some pilgrims bypass it finding it 'boring' and 'featureless'. Except that it's beautiful!! Truly rural, sparsely populated with unspoilt villages seeing paused in time. 

There was, however, one decent hill. Many were struggling. One particular lady was particularly struggling, barely making forward progress. I offered to carry her bag. She politely declined, saying it was all part of the challenge of the Camino. 

A Canadian lady, Krista from Nova Scotia, laughed as I passed. If I'd had my wits about me, and had known she was from Canada, I could have replied "Why do you titter so, Canadian" in the style of Monty Python's Life of Brian…the benefit of hindsight!! She was a marathon runner but couldn't imagine running this. She took a photo of me for her daily Facebook update.

Just before Fromista, I met a French couple who had started from Le Puy on April 13th. A total journey of over 1000 miles! Stopped in Fromista for some food and a sit down as I was tired, and my legs were beginning to feel the repeated distances. 

The next stretch was just over 19km. Flat, straight and all alongside a road. Tough work with lots of walking. 

Spent some time chatting with a Russian lady. We saw a stork. I joked that it was bringing a baby. Apparently, in Russia babies come from cabbages!! Stork vs cabbage…you decide!!

At last, it was Carrion de los Condes. The first albergue was full, as was the second...and the third. I was getting slightly concerned as the next village was 17.5km. Eventually got a room at the Filipenses hostel, a large, modern convent. The checking in process was done by an elderly nun via Google Translate room with a shower, dinner mad breakfast, all for 28€...bargain. An even older nun showed me to my room. It was only on the first floor but we had to use the lift due to her age. I felt very guilty. 

Big dinner of asparagus soup, and chicken and fried eggs. And copious bread as always. 
Then I went to Pilgrim's mass and blessing in the centre of the village. It was simply wonderful. During mass, the Augustine sisters played music and sang so sweetly. During the blessing the nuns gave all the pilgrims a paper star - "a guiding light", and said some wonderful words. The priest blessed each pilgrim individually by making the sign of the cross on their forehead. The whole service was deeply 

Wandering back up to the convent, we were treated to a stunning sunset which lit up the church next door. The perfect end to another great day. 

Phrase and comment of the day:
Said by the senior Augustine sister at the blessing (whilst looking directly at me): "Remember, you are never alone on the Camino. Jesus is always with you. For Jesus is the way. Jesus is love"

Oh...and the birds?? Well...they are singing me all the way to Santiago de Compostela 

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