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Published: December 10th 2017
SUNRISE ON "THE WAY"
Due to the unexpected heat we rose early and hiked in the dark with a headlamp until the sun came up and the cafes opened.
Hiking the El Camino
ROUTINES AND SURPRISES
We hiked through farmland and villages. First it was wheat fields. Then there was wine country. Then corn. We enjoyed wild flowers along the roads. Then there were tractors and billowing dust as the fields were harvested. We hit milestones, 200 miles, 300 miles, 400 miles. Rural areas gave way to more and more cities. We walked through acres of park trails at the edge of several cities. Always there was the unexpected.
We arrived in one small village in the early days and it was late. We looked for a bar. Finally we found one but it only had bar food. That was OK with us. We were hungry. As we were waiting for omelets a young woman at the next table started talking to us. Susan and her boyfriend, Lars, were tennis players, alternating their time between southern California and Sweden. She was so friendly and gave us each a bracelet she had made before her trip; twine with a tiny scallop shell and a little wooden cross. Then she took our picture. It was a bitter sweet meeting. They had to abandon their pilgrimage because Lars had injured
A nice old gentleman joined as we approached Bourgas. He insisted we enter by the White Gate where he left us to go home. As we went through the arch Bourgas spread out before us. How did they ever plan or finish such an ediface?
his foot. It was their last evening on the trail.
Confused about the trail, we were walking through a city park and met Natalia, a very nice lady with a small black dog. She had us draw a card from her deck…they were affirmations and very uplifting. She told us about a friend of hers who ran an albergue about three kilometers away, an Italian woman who is a terrific cook. Natalia called ahead for us and when we got there the woman was expecting us. The place was quaint and artistic. The food was good. And the room was practically on the church next door. Natalia didn’t tell us about this. The bells rang every fifteen minutes…all night long, and tolled each hour, one, two, three, four…. We laughed about it each time the bells rang, until we finally slept.
Early one morning we stopped at a very European café in the middle of nowhere. The owner had a stamp with ants on it. We took photos of the three giant metal ants in his yard. Shortly we came to a road on the right which took us to an old Templar church, Vilar de
CAUSEWAY AT HOSPITAL de ORBIGO
This causeway was so beautiful, and from the top of it I looked down on what appeared to be a military garrison. Our albergue was just beyond the causeway.
Donas which had a life size stone statue of a knight. Lauren really wanted to see this. About half way to the church we suddenly realized we had left the café without paying for our breakfast. We were really embarrassed. We found the church and it was locked up tight. Checking the guide book we discovered it didn’t open until noon and it was only eight o’clock. We looked all around the church several times and didn’t find the knight. A man next door told us to walk up to the museum, quite a side trip. It was obviously a park of some kind, also locked. When we got back to church the man said something about keys. We couldn’t understand him and started back to the main trail. A hundred yards down the road we met an old man who smiled graciously. He was 89 and he motioned for us to follow him, dangling a large handful of keys. He asked us if we spoke Spanish and I shook my head, no. He spoke only Spanish. He proceeded to tell us the entire history of the church, in Spanish. He would engage Lauren and she just nodded her head
Poppies and other wildflowers boardered our walk for at least three weeks. What a treat!
and gave him all her attention. It was charming. I was so proud of her. We understood some of his lengthy dissertation about the church’s history. And there inside the church was Lauren’s knight. It was a great morning. Then we walked back to the café and paid for our breakfast. The owner simply shrugged off our apology.
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