Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Circuena/Villamajor del Rio
Never judge by first impressions. The albuergue had a distinctly rundown look and a "cat" smell in the foyer. The hospitalero was a man who at first seemed a bit strange. I thought, well, a pilgrim is grateful for a roof and a bed, and we'll just make do. But it turned out to be a gem of an evening. Roberto (I'll call him, for I never asked his name) made us wonderful lentil stew in his humble kitchen and served it up in rustic wooden bowls with piles of bread and generous bottles of good wine. The peregrinos who gathered were French, Quebecoise, Australian, and German, and we had a lively conversation, finished off by nuts and fruit for dessert. But best of all, Roberto invited us to the little village church for a peregrino benediction at 8:00. Imagine our surprise when he himself arrived to unlock the door and lead the benediction himself. My heart went out to this man who was attempting to keep alive the old hospitality traditions in this dying town. Thank you, kind sir!
The following morning we left extra early to get to Santo Domingo for what I loosely call breakfast. As we sat down at an outside table at a bar in Santo Domingo, a milagro (miracle) occurred: I felt a tap on my shoulder and there stood Nora whom I had left many days ago in Los Arcos. How could this be? Although I had prayed for a camino miracle, I really felt I would never see her again. She would always be far behind even if she continued, I thought. But there she stood, many pounds lighter in her pack, feeling great and just having walked a full 21km. What are the odds that we would meet in the streets of Santo Domingo? As we screamed and hugged in disbelief, Nora shook her head and said, "Magic!" So, now we walk together, us three, and the second photo is of Truus and Nora writing in their journals at the albuergue in Villamajor del Rio.
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