May 12, 2007

5/12/07 Castrojeriz Spain

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,
we must carry it with us or we find it not."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

It was a struggle not to get mad when someone turned on the lights at 6AM. Half the room was still sleeping and we don't have to be out of the refugio until 8AM. But it's just the way with some people. It does no use to get angry.

It was hard to fathom all the pilgrims I saw ahead of me on the Camino. Again I ask myself where are they all going to sleep tonight. But I try to just accept it and walk my normal pace instead of speeding ahead out of fear. I worry for those who have injuries like Alexandra and Marianne, who lag behind.

No trees but lots of pilgrims

Advertising is spoiling the Camino

Another cool morning as the sun came up over our shoulders. We passed the refugio at San Bol but it looked like no one was stopping to see this unique albergue. I stayed there on my other Camino.

I remembered that the pueblo of Hontana is built below the plain at the end of a valley. One minute all you see is sky ahead, then instantly you descend into the town proper. The two restaurants were doing brisk breakfast business with those pilgrims needing their 'cafe con leche'. I ate an apple, but kept on going.

Hontana down off the plain

The old narrow streets

It was a nice walk. The road was lined for miles with wild flowers, and one section of road was lined with huge trees. A really nice walk to Castrojeriz.

A wonderful road walk

Ruins of a castilo (castle) above

The albergue was at the other end of town, but I passed several private refugios with lines of pilgrims already forming.

I arrived at the municipal refugio about 11:30, maybe 3rd in line. But by the time the hospitaleros arrived at 1:30, there was such a mad rush to get, I was almost last to get one of the 45 beds. No matter. When someone asked why didn't I cut in, I told them it was ok.

While waiting, I met Jose from central Spain. He does research on bees. He doesn't speak English, but we seemed to get through the conversation alright enough to go out for lunch after we checked in. Joining us was Jose Luis from San Sebastian.

Later, who should I run into but Alexandra. She said Henrietta, Barbara and Marianne made in to town ok. They ended up splurging and getting a good room in at the first hostel they came to. I'm just glad they made it ok and had a roof over their heads.

With Henrietta, Barbara, Marianne & Alexandra

The hosptaleros are so nice. While Elena checks everyone in, Nacho carries their bags. Nacho laughed when I said his English was good, because he said he only knows a little. But when his son Nacho stopped by, he introduced us. His English was great. We had a good chat about America. Good people here for sure.

There is a younger Spanish man with cerebral palsy walking the Camino. I've talked to several people who have seen him along the way, and every time he has a smile. Looks like he has some cuts and scrapes from falling. Elena helped wrap up a knee that was not doing well. He seemed to enjoy the attention. Later Elena wanted his picture. You should have seen his smile.