Day 14 on my own was a pretty okay day (as I last left you, here on this bloggy thing). I made my way to an albergue, then met some new friends in the street, who invited me to their pilgrim-created dinner – a thrown together Spanish-infused Italian pasta feast, attended almost entirely by Germans. So I was blessed not only with a delicious meal, but the chance to flex some different muscles in speaking German for one night. The food was amazing and the company was awesome. I met a man fifty years my senior who was walking his fourth stage of the Camino, from his hometown of Antwerp, Belgium to Santiago. He was just wrapping up this session in a few days and will be back as soon as he can do do the last stretch of Leon to Santiago. He explained to me that no one in his life understands why he does this at age 83, and though he cannot give a good answer himself, he does it.
The hike yesterday was unbelievably gorgeous. I headed out around 7:30am, caught an amazing sunrise, and ascended above the plains to a mesa for about 10km before heading back down in elevation to my destination for the evening. For those of you that are Facebook friends with me, you may have caught my Facebook live video around 8am my time. The walk yesterday was so lovely, so wonderful. I actually felt very moved and inspired – even started to write a song! So when I landed in town at Castrojeriz, the mood was a sharp contrast to my upbeat demeanor all day. I could find hardly anything in town open. The guidebook described the town as a “delightfully sleepy village seemingly permanently on siesta.” There is nothing delightful about that to me. I have a stack of over 20 postcards I need to mail to you guys and I can’t even find a post office open anywhere. When I did find the “Correo” post office yesterday, I saw that the hours were marked as “Open 11:00am to 11:15am” Monday through Friday. That’s it, guys. So… sorry for the delay in sending postcards. Hopefully when I get to Leon on Monday I can send a whole bunch of them!
So the town was delightfully sleepy and I was annoyingly lonely and in a weird mood. I went down the road about a half kilometer to the next bar to grab a beer and some wifi, but felt unsurprisingly unsatisfied by the sound of a badly-dubbed Sandra Bullock movie. I gave up on my afternoon writing session and wearily trudged back to my albergue, where I ran into a fellow pilgrim from a few days back. She excitedly told me that everyone was staying down the street and they would love to have me come by for dinner! Amazing how the mood of the day went from so high to so low to so high again!A mere few hours later I found myself with my old familiar group, drinking some red wine and laughing about blister-filled misfortunes. The night ended with the best roast chicken and gravy, a tour of a tenth century wine cave, and a very wet and rainy walk home back to my albergue.
This morning was a start before the sun (which is easy as the sun doesn’t rise until about 8:30 am!) Leaving Castrojeriz, I was greeted by an extremely unwelcome ascent to the plateau, leaving my calves burning and hot. Guys, this is a far better way to wake up than coffee. Shortly after hitting the top and celebrating with a drink of water, the path immediately made way to an even sharper descent back down. “Why didn’t they just carve a god damned tunnel?” excalimed the Irishman behind me. “We have to suffer,” I replied, with a smile, of course.
Just like that, it was a reminder to me how quickly we can be up, and how abruptly we can be down again. Not just physically on the Camino, but also mentally and emotionally as we make our way down this path. I have had very high highs and severely low lows here already. Moments have been consumed by my bliss in the magnitude of the sunrise, then I am lost in suffering of the mind as I ponder what the hell I’m going through right now. There’s no right answer to how we are supposed to feel out here. Anything goes.
Tonight I am happily in the next town of Frómista. The albergue I wanted to stay in was unexpectedly closed (this happens a lot), so I got a private triple room with two other ladies on the Camino. Go with the flow, y’all.
For those of you that are Facebook friends with me (or even those who aren’t), I will be going “live” on Facebook tomorrow (public) at my midway point of the Camino. So at 6pm Spanish time Thursday (12pm EST/9am PST), please log on to Facebook and search my name and “#the33project” to join in the conversation and ask questions about the Camino thus far. I am tentatively planning to be on for at least 6pm-6:15pm my time, depending on the interest level.
Thank you SOOOO much to my sponsors! Day 14 was sponsored by the adventurous and inspiring Harn C. and one of my oldest friends Jeff L. and his new bride An. And today, Day 15, was sponsored by my incredible neighbors Cristina M. and Terrence H. and the lovely Lauren G.! I love you all so much and can’t begin to properly express my gratitude! Thank you so much!