May 8, 2007

5/8/07 Villafranca Montes del Oca

"The wanderer is overcome by the joy of existence
so that he can only laugh.
Tibetan Dhyani Buddha

I had to laugh today, at myself.

Took a little more time leaving the albergue, having a bit of breakfast first. But then I joined the exodus out of town. Even at 7:30, the sky was bright blue with not a cloud in the sky. A wonderful morning for a walk.

Walked with Emilio, from Switzerland, for a bit. It is so easy to strike up conversations with complete strangers. In a short time I knew about him as a friend. He said the Camino was a way for him to empty his head for a bit of all the stresses of normal life. When he retires, he wants to walk the Camino from his home.

As we approached Tosantos, I reached for my camera. Instantly I realized that it was still on my bed in Belorado. I laughed. In the rush, I was bound to forget something some day. Nothing much to do but walk the 5km (2.6 miles) back.

What else could I do but smile when people asked me why the change in direction. An elderly Spanish couple (the gentleman who had his 82nd birthday a few days ago) tried to tell me that they had offered to carry the camera but the hospitalero felt it was his responsibility.

It was hard not to think that I had just lost two hours of the day. But it was a beautiful day, I was happy, my feet didn't hurt to bad, so what was a few kilometers either way.

It was kind of special walking out of town so late. I mean everyone was ahead of me, far ahead, so I had the Camino all to myself. I knew the sunshine would lift everyone's spirit, including mine. I accept the need for clouds and rain, but the sun is intoxicating. Good thing I bought sunscreen.

That way to Santiago

A beautiful day for a walk

No one home but us chickens

Green but hot

Got into Villafranca a little after noon. Pretty early to check in, then again I'm on the slow wandering pilgrimage now. Did all my housekeeping chores and made some lunch. The town is basically one street which is also a busy highway full of trucks. I wanted to meditate but couldn't really find anyplace without the noise, so I sat down on the church steps.

Found a quiet spot near the church

While there, Henrietta from Holland stopped by and asked if I was meditating. She had started reading a book by the Dali Lama just before she started the Camino. So we spent a lot of time discussing spirituality. She's a nurse, so we had medical aspects of the discussion as it dealt with our patients. A nice woman, and another friend on the Camino.

Wasn't feeling real well. It might be the beginning of a cold; sore throat and sinuses beginning to stop up. I hope it doesn't make my snoring worse, or I might be linched in the middle of the night.