Just two days ago I had a really interesting conversation with Edward from London. He said the Camino is such a good advertisement for Europeans getting along, so much so that he thought walking the Camino should be mandatory for MEPs. That made me smile.
Last night however, the detente between nations almost crumbled. In retrospect it was funny, at the time it was a bit tense.
First there was a problem with the door to the attic room, it kept sticking. We decided the best thing would be to leave it ajar. (That wasn’t actually feasible because of the light). At about 9.30pm most of us were already in bed, and a lovely (stern looking) German man, named Karl, who, it turned out, I’d met way back in Orisson asked if we could turn off the light already. Two people were already asleep so we thought it was ok.
It wasn’t ok for two ladies from Denmark (who unfortunately were next to the sticking door). First they thought we’d locked them out … and when they burst in they exclaimed that it wasn’t even 10pm yet, and after a lot of fiddling with the door turned the lights back on. An elderly bloke sorted out the door (with a bit of string) but then they sat there -with the light back on – talking extremely loudly. I mean really loudly. And poor Karl, who had been woken up twice by then, asked them (in English) …are you just going to continue and continue. They couldn’t see the problem. In the end it was resolved, but they weren’t happy … and in the morning left without a Buen Camino to anyone.
I could see both sides. Their amazement that the lights were off so early, their frustration with the door, but also Karl’s bewilderment that they’d keep on talking loudly when others were already asleep.
This morning I set off on the Camino more or less as usual, a bit later than I have somedays, and by the time I reached the end of Molinaseca and its lights, it was light enough to walk.
The view down into Ponteferada was amazing and I met some nice pilgrims on the walk in!
And I met Sant Tiago in the city!
I really liked the city, the castle is impressive, but on the way out I missed the arrows and got very lost. I couldn’t find the Camino or any arrows or waymarkers, or see any pilgrims, but I did find a nice park … and used my map to find my way down to the river and from there picked up the trail again! Phew.
The route by the river was lovely and the Camino was beautifully waymarked
(I’ll try to insert photos later … the WiFi can’t cope with the influx of pilgrims)
I met up with a lovely lady from Canada (Victoria Island, BC) and her friend and we walked together for a while. Like me, she liked the unique waymarkers!
Shortly after this disaster struck in that I noticed I’d dropped my credential and map book (see separate post) … but the Camino “delivered” and I was so blessed in that Janine (also from BC) had not only seen it but picked it up and so was able to give it to me.
The funny thing is that Janine and I had talked earlier in the day but she’d misheard my name as Laura so didn’t know it was me she was looking for! And it turns out she and the other pilgrim from BC were friends and doing the Camino together! Not a coincidence I think!
I carried on the Camino for another hour or so, meeting up with Lionel again (the hero of the door fiasco last night) and also Doug (who like me had got lost on the way out of Ponferrada) and had been feeling a bit frustrated until I told him my lost and found tale.
I found a nice looking pilgrim refuge (not listed in my book or on the sheet given in St Jean Pied de Pont) in Camponaraya and was glad to hang up my boots for another night, having walked 19km.
I was the first here so got a choice of beds, but almost immediately a lovely lady from Japan joined me … and all afternoon the pilgrims have been trickling in. I met some pilgrims from Chicago, an uncle, dad and son who is having a gap year before going to college. They were amazed at my story … and like me, love it that the Camino (and its pilgrims) “delivered” (as they put it!)
I feel so very blessed!
Oh and I had a siesta in the sun!