September 26, 2002

9/26/02 Arroyo de San Bol

13 km

Since today was also another short day, I didn't really want to leave until at least sunrise. Had coffee and chatted a bit with everyone as they were leaving. Finally made it out the door and into another frigid morning. But it wasn't long before I was walking in the sunlight across miles of rolling hills. At one point found another stretch of the Camino with hundreds of little stone cairns.

Irish pilgrim cyclists get an early start

As I came over the top of a hill with a St James Cross, down below was another refugio, but different from any I had seen so far. Josué had thought this place was special on his last Camino, so I decided to check it out.

Nearing San Bol

The refugio is small, only sheltering twelve pilgrims downstairs, while the hospitillero has a place in the loft. There's a small kitchen and table. But the most interesting part is the round chapel which has a dome ceiling painted with stars. Outside is a spring that is said to have healing properties. Pilgrims have been washing their feet in its waters for hundreds of years. The water was ICE COLD!

Murals surrounded the courtyard

Met a few more pilgrims that just stopped her for a break. Larissa is from Canada. And who should stop by but Alfonso. I met him in Estella. He had been walking with a couple from Ireland because they were all having problems with their knees. He said he's doing great now and is moving fast to make up for lost time. Also saying hello was Tatiana from Barcelona who I met briefly in Belorado. A very nice woman. Just spent most of the afternoon catching some sun.

Tatiana [España]

Turns out there are only two of us tonight here at the refugio. While Udo, the German hospitillero, was a little distant during the day, he was more relaxed at dinner. He said he had been here at the refugio since April with only one day off in that whole time. He was closing the refugio in a few days and was looking forward to his holiday.

Later, when Udo went to town on errands, Jason and I sat in the chapel and talked. Above us, painted in almost exact detail on the inside of the dome was the night sky. With only one candle (or maybe because of it), we could see the painting all clearly.

Because the refugio has no electricity (and no outhouse ), and because the place just invited it, we ended up going to bed as the sun set.