May 3, 2007

5/3/07 Viana Spain

Pilgrims get up early! Alarm clocks kept going off just before 6AM. In the dark, a few had trouble finding them to turn them off. You can imagine the symphony of bells in a room packed with 50 people. When one persistent alarm was finally turned off, one of the Italian women yelled 'Bravo!' and every laughed. So, it was kind of anticlimactic when the lights finally came on.

Definitely a cold crisp morning. It was a long dirt farm road out of town and the shear number of pilgrims was staggering. You could see a line of perigrinos as far as the eye could see, both in front and behind. My foremost thought was 'Where will they all sleep tonight?'

It is amazing, the infinite shades of green fields on each side of us, with the road bordered by red and yellow flowers. And the blue of the sky, that peaked out from behind the clouds was awe inspiring. Too bad, we only saw a few patches of sky before dark clouds covered it back up.

Shades of green

About an hour from Los Arcos, Betty realized that her passport and wallet were still back at the albergue under the pillow where she slept. What a bummer! But not long after she started back, word came from the other perigrinos that the hospitalero found her stuff and she was to continue on the Camino. Once she got to where she was going, she could call and they would get her stuff to her. What a relief.

In Torres del Rio there was a little tienda (store) doing brisk business selling bocadillos, a sandwich of french bread, cheese and ham. A little dog kept following Betty around. He knew a soft heart when he found one. He wouldn't even touch a piece of bread - he was holding out for some meat. He wore her down and was rewarded. [smile]

Torres del Rio

Santo Sepulco Church

A simple altar inside

We had a steady climb up, then a long trail down. My legs are having a tough time of it. Been having more problems with shin splints. I seem to always be hobbling like one of my patients. 'Big hiker' that I am, I had to ask Betty to go on ahead because I couldn't keep the pace.

Susan catching up

The girls move on ahead

When we came into Viana, there was a little pilgrim park with a few tables and a fountain. Along one wall was a huge pilgrim mural. We met Michael who had walked out his front door in Zurich on February 24th to walk the whole distance to Santiago. Also said a sad goodbye to Susan. She was going to push on to Lagrono.

Taking a short break

Over the portal of the church

Kind of mass chaos at the refugio. They always seem to fill up almost as soon as the doors open. This one had triple decker beds. They are a real challenge to climb down from, especially for folks with sore feet and legs.

After a quick phone call, Betty decided to take the bus back to Los Arcos, get her stuff, and return on the next bus. While waiting, I tried to teach her some Spanish words. A few older men kept an eye on us to make sure Betty got the right bus.

After she got back, we decided to snack until the restaurants opened at 8PM. Helio had bought cheese, chorizo (dried sausage), olives, pickles and some bread. And a bottle of wine. We almost ate too much. Later a large group of us had the pilgrim menu at the restaurant. We barely made it back in time for lights out at 10PM.