We were a noisy bunch of chatterboxes at breakfast this morning. The little woman serving us kindly asked us to be quiet in consideration of the nuns who were sleeping upstairs. We stayed at the Convent de Santa Cruz, part of which is an albergue maintained by voluntary hospitaleras. The money raised goes towards helping poor children in Peru fulfill their dreams of becoming teachers, doctors, ballerinas, etc. You don’t mind paying extra for blankets and a phone call when the money goes towards a good cause like that.
We enjoyed meeting other peregrinos here: Cheryl and Annie from Australia and Rose from New Zealand. Rose felt overwhelmed knowing we are only half way to Santiago and have to walk the same distance AGAIN! I suggested thinking back about each day she has already walked, how they were all different and special in some way, and how lucky we are that we can walk the same distance again, creating even more wonderful memories. In other words, our glasses are half full, not half empty. She laughed and agreed that was the best way to look at it. We may even want to walk slower when we get close to reaching Santiago because we don’t want it to end. (Dave doesn’t quite believe that! LOL!)
I got some useful information from two young women from Ottawa and a woman from California. A company called “JACOTRANS” will transport your bag to your next destination for 6 Euros. You fill out the name and address of where you want it sent on the outside of the envelope and put the money inside. It is a reliable company and a good solution, especially when dealing with an injury.
The other thing I learned from them is that the John Brierley Camino guidebooks are not all the same when it comes to the section we will be walking today and tomorrow (almost 40 km from Sahagun to Mansilla de las Mulas). The older version (ours) shows the main Camino route following a scenic, more remote route with the alternate route being alongside the highway. The newer book shows the main route following the highway and the scenic route being the alternate. This change has probably been made in the newer version because many peregrinos might have difficulties going long stretches without facilities; for example, tomorrow we’ll walk 22.8 km without facilities. If we are supposed to be walking in the footsteps of pilgrims from long ago, which way did they go? Hmmmm…
As always, we preferred to walk the more remote scenic route. When we had already walked a few kilometers from Sahagun and the trail continued alongside the highway, we thought we might have missed the turnoff. I became resigned to letting the Camino choose our direction but, if we had to follow the road, I could silence the traffic by listening to tunes on the iPod. If the iPod could drown out the howling of the wind two days ago, it could drown out traffic noise today. Happily enough, though, the turnoff to the scenic route appeared, turning our day’s walk into one of the best yet.
Today’s walk to Calzadilla de los Hermanillos was serene, beautiful, and totally in keeping with the inspirational music I was listening to. Lyrics I had only skimmed over before I listened to carefully and thought about the meanings. They touched my heart and sometimes made me teary-eyed.
It seemed like yesterday when my sister, Carole, phoned to tell me to Google “The Prayers of St. Francis” sung by Angelina. She waited while I listened to it and said that was the song she wanted to ask her grandson to sing at her “garden party” which was to be her “celebration of life” last year. She knew she was dying, and that song meant so much to her. It was one of the first songs I heard today.
Carole promised to always be on my shoulder, but really it was the other way around. It was always me who was on her shoulder. She gave me strength, just like in Josh Grobin’s song: “You raise me up so I can stand on mountains; you raise me up to walk on stormy seas; I am strong when I am on your shoulder; you raise me up to more than I can be.” I miss her. Carole truly was “The Wind Beneath My Wings,” another song that spoke to me of her.
Carole might have been our Camino angel who came to our rescue this afternoon. We are in Calzadilla de los Hermanillos a small town of only 200 people. Of course a town that small has no bank. Whatever money we have must last until we get to Mansilla de las Mulas, 24.5 km away. After pooling our resources, we discovered we would have to make our few euros stretch by foregoing our usual cerveza in the afternoon and our pilgrim’s meal at dinner and shop for provisions at a grocery store instead. Then (drum-roll please) Dave found 50 euros hidden away, probably put there by the Camino angel! We felt rich, so Dave went straight out for helado (ice cream) to celebrate!
We love our little private room with bath at Via Trajana Albergue in Calzadilla de los Hermanillos. Even though we’ve had lovely hotels in Burgos and Carrion, this place feels like home and we could happily move here. The pilgrim meal we had was one of the best ones too.
The town is like a strange little ghost town or an alternate universe, but we like it too. There are hardly any people or cars. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw a fender bender take place. There were only two cars on the street and they weren’t going anywhere. Too funny!