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Camino de Santiago, Day 16: Redecilla to Villambistia

Tosantos Church

Tosantos Church

The weather has been crazy.  The locals say it’s not normal.  Day after day, we are getting rain.  And it’s so cold.  This morning it was 2 degrees Celsius.

I stayed in a hotel last night and was hesitant to go out in the rain this morning.  I soaked up every moment of warmth and dryness I could and didn’t end up leaving the hotel till 10 am.

As usual, my body resisted movement for the first hour of walking.

There were long stretches walking along a paved road and long stretches just beside the freeway.  I listened to Cat Stevens’ “Wild World” and sang along – I can sing while I’m walking and nobody has to be subjected to my bad voice.  Lovely!

Listening to music, I felt rushes of pure bliss.  At times I was almost skipping.

Then the hail came, pelting my face for a good ten minutes.  Ha ha Mother Nature!  Can’t stop me!  I’m the Gingerbread Man!  Or something like that.

I’m having fantasies about living in one of these small towns I walk through.  Just to draw for a year.  Could I do this?  Yes, I probably could.

I walked for miles and miles with small pebbles in my shoe.  No way to stop and clean them out.  Nowhere to sit.  It seems in life, every day, we have pebbles in our shoes. Don’t we?

I walked through Belorado, the largest town I saw today.  There were storks nesting in the towers of the church.  I made a cursory look for Jamie but the town was too big to find him so I continued on.

Arriving in Tosantos, a town of 60 residents, I saw the most amazing church built into a craggy cliff.  There were caves beside it.  It was a small walk off the Camino but I felt compelled to walk up the hill to the church.  Sadly, the doors were locked.  Still, the tiny church built into the cliff was amazing.  And the view from up there was nice too.

It turns out that 800 years ago a woman, known as “La Hermita” lived in the caves beside the church and made it her duty to minister to the traveling pilgrims.

I kept walking in rain, thick, sticky mud, and against strong winds.  It seemed I was walking against the wind all day.

I arrived in Villambistia at 4 pm.   The only hostel in town was also the only bar and restaurant in town.  I was happy to find a bed available – a top bunk is what you get when you arrive late.  As usual, other pilgrims have their crap strewn all about with little understanding about maintaining personal space.  This is an annoyance.

I went down to the bar, and decided to try the drink the local men were drinking . When in Rome.  The drink was made with La Navarra liquor and was quite refreshing and fruity-good.

Outside the bar, a local man in his sixties scowled at me.  I decided to break the ice.  I asked in Spanish “How many people live in this town?”  He said 30! He asked where I was from.  Next question: He asked if I was married.  He was pleased to find out I was not, although his scowl never left his face.  I felt a proposal coming on and departed before things got weird.

The “pilgrim’s dinner” was served at 7 pm in a small room off the bar.  The diners were all over age 55 and included an Australian-super annoying retired social worker, a retired Dutch hospice nurse, an infant and mother care worker from Holland, a plastics factory worker from Holland, a software projects manager from Germany, an IT guy from Germany and one guy who never spoke to anyone. Lucky for me, English is the default language on the Camino.

Over dinner it is common to be asked “Why are you doing the Camino?”  and this breaks the ice quickly.  At this dinner we went around the table one by one with everyone answering.  When asked how long i had to do the Camino, I explained that I has quit my job and gotten rid of all my belongings and had as much time as I wanted.  i was met with polite smiles and silence.   I explained to the nurse that I had also been a nurse once and her questions led to more questions.  You know how to assuredly end all conversation with a bunch of Europeans? Tell them you used to raise alpacas for a living. That seemed to do the trick for me.

Today I walked 18.8 kilometers ( 11.5 miles).

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One Comment

  1. Damn, those boots are broken in! Sounds cold over there. I don’t know if I could do it after being warm all the time for so many years. I too have pebbles in my shoes, they seem to have migrated to my lower back this morning…arghhh! Slowly working them loose.

    As for music, I remember listening to Belle & Sebastian in Paris, walking the river alone and instantly feeling happy and wanting to run off walls and dance. If only I had been acrobatic I might have impressed some people.

    Backpackers are sooooo inconsiderate. Obviously not all, but I totally feel all these annoyances you are feeling. Snorers, early morning pack rustlers, shit everywhere, people using up all the hot water, coming in late drunk, etc…..fun!

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