May 6, 2007

5/6/07 Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Since we weren't sleeping in a dorm room, we were able to sleep in a bit. Breakfast was all the leftovers from last nights dinner, more than enough.

Got talking to Lizzy and she has a book of quotes that she carries just like me. I loved the quotes she had written. She even had some of Pema Chodrin. Another Buddhist, or close to it.

When I asked her why the Camino, she told me she was a midwife. And in the UK they just changed the laws requiring midwives to have malpractice insurance. She says it costs too much to make a living. This Camino is just a spur of the moment thing so she can think more about her future. And she was very interested in the Appalachian Trail.

Another cold day on the road. It seemed there always was a bright patch of sun elsewhere except where we were walking. Wore my rain gear but it never rained.

The green fields were amazing. They looked like they were planted at different times, as some were already starting to turn golden. Just hard to describe the shades of color.

Lots of pilgrims on the road


Down to Santo Domingo

Stork nesting in the church steeple

I continue to have problems with my feet. Even after a week, they still feel as raw as hamburger. I thought maybe I was overdoing the mileage, so decided to take a short day today, only 15km (10 miles). I was limping pretty bad when we finally walked into Santo Domingo.

I stumbled into the first albergue that I passed, Abadia Cisterciense, a different one than I was in last time. My bunkmate is Elayna, from the Czech Republic. She had a mala around her neck and a red protection string around her wrist. Before she came to the Camino, she spent five weeks in Dharamsala, India. Another Buddhist.

Just when I was wondering where to eat, I heard the hospitalero give directions to a couple from Australia. Outside they were having trouble getting oriented with the map, so I offered to help. What we thought was a recommended restaurant turned out to be a retirement home operated by nuns. But of course they had a dinning room where we could get a meal. Kind of special. Had a good meal and good conversation with Renee and his wife Ruth.

Out in front of the other refugio was a good place to sit in the sun. I had seen Jua Ma several days on the Camino but never got a chance to talk to him. He lives near Pamplona. I';m guessing that his name is a Basque version of Juan Maria. We actually had a good conversation, entirely in Spanish.

And who should I see coming out of the other refugio other than Helio. He said he too felt a little off today so cut it short. But he said that Daniel and Lizzy decided to keep going. Maybe I'll see them again.

Spent the evening alone, not even bothering to eat dinner. Later I went to the Sunday service at the Cathedral. I call this 'The Church of the Holy Chickens' because they have a chicken coop inside the church because of a miracle.

The story goes that a family was making the pilgrimage to Santiago but when the stopped at Santo Domingo a local girl accused the son of sleeping with her. He was tried and hung from a tree. The distraught parents continued on their pilgrimage. When they returned coming through Santo Domingo, they discovered that their son was still alive hanging from the tree. They went to the Lord of the land and said it was a miracle and to get their son released. The Lord, who was dining at the time, when he heard the story exclaimed that their son was as alive as the two roasted chickens on his table. But then suddenly the cooked birds sprouted feathers and flew away. It is said that the chickens in the coop are direct descendants of those miracle chickens. Believe it or not!