This morning was cold. The distant pilgrims looked like ghosts trudging through the thick veil of mist that shrouded the river bank.
This is the second time I’ve had to wear socks on my hands to keep them warm. Heck, it works and it saves the weight of mitts. I know – mitts don’t weigh much, but if you keep adding things to your pack because they don’t weigh much you end up with a very heavy pack in the end. You really have to find double uses for things.
Xavier walked with me for a little while, but then needed to speed up to keep warm. Eventually, I walked with Karen from Winnipeg who was walking the Camino as part of her retirement celebration.
She was a nurse and still fills in on occasion to keep in touch with people.
Later on, I walked with Hedi.
Michael walked up ahead by himself. He said he had a bad night so was tired and in an off mood. He said the snoring in the room was too loud even with his ear plugs in. Hedi joked and told him he was likely hearing himself snore.
Eventually, I arrived in Carrion de los Condes on my own.
It’s been an interesting and wonderful evening. This albergue experience has been more of a religious one actually.
The albergue is run by nuns and is located right beside the big stone church and garden that I was sitting in when I first began writing this post.
The nuns gathered all of us in the foyer, many pilgrims overflowing into the stairwell.
We all introduced ourselves and explained where we were from and why we were walking. Again, I’m not entirely sure although I know it has become about letting go of things both physical and emotional.
We were all handed sheet music with songs in different languages. One of the English ones was Amazing Grace. We sang along with the nuns and three young musicians who played acoustic guitars.
At the end of the sing-along they wished us all well and told us that God’s love will help light the way for us. They also invited us next door to the church for prayers and a pilgrims blessing.
Later there was a mass where a priest gave us each a pilgrim’s blessing.
When it was my turn, he recited a blessing in Spanish and then drew a cross on my forehead with his thumb. He smiled at me, his eyes full of kindness. It was a neat experience and I must admit that I really do feel blessed.
At the end of the service I observed a woman praying on her knees in a pew. Praying in a church is something very new to me, but I decided to kneel and pray too. I prayed that my body would hold out for the rest of my journey. I also asked God to help Andrew too wherever he is. Hopefully his blisters and knee pain heals so he can make it to the end.
A statue of St. James stood at the front of the church as well as another bowl of taper candles.
As I did in St. Jean Pied de Port, I dropped two euro into the money box, lit a candle and placed it with the others. I sat quietly and watched it burn down.
Back at the albergue, I sat beside a really lovely sister during our communal dinner. We tried to communicate, but it was challenging because of the language barrier. We had connected earlier when she helped me with the laundry machines and I sensed a connection of energy between us. I tried to use my iPhone app to communicate, but the internet connection wasn’t working. It was another reminder that I really need to learn Spanish when I return home.
Tonight, because my laundry was still damp on the line it is now hanging off my bunk bed. Luckily, the lady sleeping below me is good with it all hanging at the end of her bed too. Hopefully it will all be dry in the morning otherwise I will have to revert to being a walking human clothes line again.