May 21, 2007

5/21/07 Santibanes de Valdeiglesia

"To live life is to make a succession of errors."
Jack Kornfield in A PATH WITH HEART

I think it rained all night, so I wasn't surprised to see that it was still raining this morning. It's so nice to be dry in this refugio instead of packing up a wet tent.

I enjoyed walking with Alexandra most of the morning. Mostly it was a drizzle but also a little cold too.

When we reached Hospital de Orbigo, we decided to take a break. But walking through town, almost everyone we passed did a double take looking at my rain skirt. Very fashionable.

We reached Santibanes just before it started raining harder. We were warmly greeted by Hercules, the Italian hospitalero. So full of life. He said he retired after 20 years as a banker and now just spends time volunteering. He said he'll spend the whole summer here.

Because he spoke no English and I spoke a little Spanish, he asked me to translate for him to the mostly German pilgrims. Later I also spent time as his assistant treating everyones blisters, including Alexandra.

First in line for the blister clinic

Tamoko is next

This already is a special refugio. Because there is no store or restaurant here, the hospitaleros cook dinner and we all eat together.

Dinner was a grand affair. All fifteen perigrinos sat around the table as Hercules brought a huge steaming pot of pasta. We ate and ate and ate till it was all gone. To our surprise, he brought out another huge pot of cooked garbanzo beans. Along with this there was salad, more bottles of wine than we could drink, and some of the best bread I've had in Spain. We hardly said a word as we stuffed ourselves. To pay, the hospitalero put a donation box on the table.

A grand Italian feast

After we helped clean the table, I went in the kitchen to give the elder senora a hug and a kiss, then a hardy handshake to Hercules for such a wonderful meal.