2014 Walking the Way

Day 19: Technical Difficulties

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Day 18: Healing Day on the Way: Carrion de los Condes 0K

As I write today’s blog, I sit by the river in the sun listening to the birds in the background and a group of happy people talking at another table. This is our second day in Carrion de los Condes. We decided to stay another day and give Barb’s right foot a chance to heal. Which I am happy to say it is.

Yesterday, I woke up tired as I didn’t sleep well. We took our time getting up and out and stopped at a cafe/bar around the corner for a couple of coffees. I’m drinking solos again because I like the stronger taste and as I am not eating bread for breakfast I don’t need the larger Americano to wash it down. Barb still likes the larger Americano. We talked about our options for going forward: staying here longer, taking a taxi or bus to the next day’s stop, sending the pack on by a luggage shuttle service. From our understanding of the rhythm of the Way we knew there are no mistakes and if we pay attention all will make itself clear. So the next thing to do was to rest and take it easy and wait to see what showed up.

I went to the local supermarket to shop and Barb returned to our lovely hostel to write the guest blog. While it didn’t look like much on the outside, our hostel is actually a large three story structure with rooms on every floor. Each room appears to have its own bathroom which is always a treat. A large well worn wooden staircase takes you between levels and the floors themselves are of Spanish tile. We have really enjoyed our room too. It has a table and two chairs for sitting and eating and a desk and chair for writing. I am always appreciative to have a place to write.

The supermarket had a plethora of goodies including rice cakes and goat cheese. Also the staples of oranges, nuts and dried fruit, and with fresh foods of watercress, carrots, cucumber, and a beautiful large red bell pepper. My only mistake was forgetting that in larger stores in Europe you are supposed to weigh and tag your produce before bringing it to the checkout stand. This error caused a backup in the line as the clerk had to go back and finish the task. I felt a bit embarrassed and regretful for holding up the line. I had the same experience in France but then the woman told me to go back and weigh and label the fruit I had bought. This was on my second leg of my journey through France and it had been several weeks since I’d been in a big town and going into that supermarket was overwhelming to my senses, attuned to the simplicity of the French Camino. When she asked me to come back with the fruit labeled, it was too much for me and I abandoned my apples and went on.

On returning to the Hostel Alma Barb and I feasted. Our treat was a bottle of lemon soda, something neither of us would normally drink, yet was a wonderful and fresh change from drinking so much water. Barb then read me her guest blog and I had fun listening to how I have grown in her perspective from my experience on the Way. I’m grateful to have such a loving mirror.

The afternoon moved on as I took a nap and Barb enjoyed the sun outside. After our siesta we went to find the Church of Santa Maria and the Albergue of the singing nuns. On the way to the church we met an elderly woman who gave us directions. She was kind and had a light about her. She asked after Barb’s feet as she saw Barb was limping. She then went on and entered a convent that was on route. We conjectured over her being the Mother Superior of the convent. Regardless we felt she had given us blessing.

The church was beautiful. At a side alter was a statue of St. James with a place to light a candle. This was the first real candle in a Spanish church we’d seen. To date to light a candle meant to put in a coin and an electronic candle would light up. I don’t have much interest in those. Barb and I both lit a real taper and said our own prayers to St. Diago. We then sat for a while in the quiet listening to a Gregorian Chant piped in over speakers on the wall. Then in contrast to this sacred moment came the priest or some caretaker and matter-of-factly did chores about the church including getting out an aluminum sliding ladder and sliding and banging it around. We laughed at the juxtaposition of these sacred and mundane moments.

After our meditative time we went out to the grass out in front and did our yoga practice. We seem to attract attention when we do so, which Barb likes and I am not adverse too either. I had checked out the singing nuns and when it came down to it neither of us was up for the socializing aspect that would have been a part of the experience. We were both in a more quiet internal space and being with a large group introducing ourselves seemed more than we wanted then.

Supper was again at the restaurant or cafeteria as they call it. Nothing looked particularly inviting but when Barb settled on Spaghetti Bolognese I opted for the Spaghetti Carminara, she having red sauce with meat, I white sauce with ham. It was very yummy. Again I had a beer and Barb vino tinto.

Home at our hostel for the night we both took long baths. Barb’s foot was feeling better and we had bought some Epsom salts to soak our feet with. By the time I finished my bath Barb had turned out the light and was fast asleep. I read for a while and soon followed.

Part 2:

I woke up at 7:00 after a fabulous sleep and asked Barb how her foot was doing. She said “not so good, maybe I should try on my boot?” I said no need if your foot doesn’t feel good let’s stay another day and see what unfolds. As she was amenable I rolled over and went back to sleep for another two delicious hours. I think I might still be there if nature hadn’t called me to get up.

We had a quiet morning breakfasting on fruit and nuts. As we were leaving the room we passed our hostess, a lovely lady, and I told her we needed to stay one more day as Barb’s foot was hurt. She was sympathetic and kind. Just as we exited the hostel a van pulled up with the word “Angel” on it and a woman hopped out, passed us and grabbed a suitcase that was in the lobby. Barb and I looked at each other and she said, This is a sign… I can have my pack sent onto the next destination and walk tomorrow.” So we made arrangements with the kind help of our hostess to have Barb’s pack sent on and made a reservation at a CR there so it and we would have a place to go to. Many people do this with their luggage so they can enjoy walking without a heavy pack. Many of us like to carry our own weight, so to speak, yet it is also a blessing to have your weight carried for you when needed. And it was only 7 Euros to boot.

One of the lessons of the Way we have talked about recently is that each of us has permission to create our own experience of the Camino. Every pilgrim can mold the journey to their own needs and wishes. This has been an insight for me for on much of my last walk I thought there was a “way” to be on the “Way.” And I went through some hardships because of my ideas around this. However, that is also part of lesson of the Way, you can grow and learn from your experiences and do it differently next time, as I am now doing.

Having the clarity now on how to move forward we felt a sense of ease. The day was ahead of us to enjoy and tomorrow we would begin our walk again. On our way to coffee we stopped in the pharmacy of the night before where we had bought the Epsom salts. This time Barb was looking for a foot brace and some kind of fiber to help her sluggish system. The woman who helped us was a different person from the pervious visit greeting us with her pretty face and sweet nature. When we got around to talking about the fiber she showed us several options, the final being a suppository, which she demonstrated its use by patting her bum. It was such a cute, funny and yet precious moment that we all burst our laughing and did so awhile. We both like the pharmacies here in France and Spain. They are small, individual, contained, efficient, and unique. So different from our CVS or Walgreens. This particular store was set up like an old apothecary with old fashioned jars decorating the walls.

On we went to our cafe on the square and had coffee. While sitting in the warming sun I read the last two entries of my time with Barb in France, completing the record of our trip together. As I read about saying goodbye to Barb, my then constant companion of 20 days on the Way, I again felt the strong emotions of the sadness of leaving Barb and fear of the unknown I faced once she was gone. Odd to reflect on that moment as I was sitting with her in this one. Both with their own equal footing in reality. I then began to read the entries that have never been published, those I wrote after leaving Le Puy on my own. Two years have passed. 0pening them up to read them for the first time since then was revealing. I’m now excited to read them again and to see what learnings and insights I recorded as I continued on the road to Santiago. As I was no longer writing for an audience I remember being more candid with my feelings and observations. In reading over these past entries I can see the possibility of writing a book about my adventures on the Camino.

Today we decided to have our main meal at lunch rather than in the evening. There was a restaurant near our place that only opened for breakfast and lunch and we had wanted to try it. We were taken to a sweet little dinning room with table laid with cloth, napkins, flatware and wine glasses. We each chose paella: me seafood and chicken and Barb vegetarian. Served on hot metal dishes it was very attractive and tasty. I even ate the inevitable green peas, something my friends and family know I generally detest. After lunch we headed over to the sweets store that advertised what looked like ice cream sundaes, something Barb has been craving. Sadly this picture of the sundae was only that and the only fare they offered was the packaged kind of bars and cones. I had a white choc almond ice cream bar which was delish. Barb had her heart set on the cup of ice cream and went away a bit disappointed.

After lunch we strolled down to the park, or I strolled and Barb limped. It was on the river and we stretched out on the bank in the shade. After awhile we did our stretches and sure enough others started showing up settling in our vicinity. I then did a healing for Barb’s foot and could feel the “cold” spot that was at the center of her pain had begun to “thaw,” the energy was flowing again. Later when she got up to return to the hostel, and I stayed behind to write in the park, she said that her foot felt much better! Yeah! Thank you, St. Jacques!

Now we have just finished our dinner of rice cakes, fresh veggies, tuna, and chocolate. I like eating lighter fare. My body seems to too. We are packing up to get an early start tomorrow as it is forecast to be a hot day. Once done I’ll take a bath and go to bed. So it is now time to wish you all:

Buenas Noches Amigos!

Our hostel we’re on the second floor window.Our front door. Florist, funeral home, and boutique near our hostel.

Our lovely room.

Village street leading to hostel. The Way out of town. River Park.

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