My soul is awakened, my spirit is soaring
and carried aloft on the wings of the breeze;
For above and around me the wild wind is roaring,
arousing to rapture the earth and the seas
Day 19: Carrion de Los Condes to Calzadilla de la Cueza – 17 km
Today was marked by four things:
- The lovely accommodation in the monastery overnight and the delicious breakfast
- The long long straight Roman road we followed
- The wild head wind that buffeted us as we walked along, making the day exhausting but exhilarating.
- The bar man at the accommodation that night who was absolutely the most congenial and funny host we had had yet. He had a joke and wink for everyone and made the afternoon and evening at Calzadilla de la Cueza fun for everyone
That afternoon in the bar, I met Jean and Hugo, two young people from Sth Korea who had met each other and formed a relationship on the Camino. What a lovely pair they were. Jean took a photo of me at the table in the bar with my camera and also with hers. After that, I really discovered how good Vino Tinto is! I drank 5 glasses of it and woke up with absolutely no after effects! If I had done that with Australian wine I would have been comatose with a headache and probably throwing up!
Wake! For the sun, who scattered into flight
The stars before him from the Field of Night,
Drives Night along with them from Heav’n,
The Sultan’s Turret with a shaft of light – Omar Khayyam, The Ruba’iyat of Omar Kayyam
Day 20: Calzadilla de la Cueza to Sahagun – 22 km
Today began with another magnificent sunrise. I just love leaving early and catching it. This one was truly spectacular and we stopped a while to watch it change.
Most of the rest of the day I spent walking by myself in silent contemplation, trying not to think about sore feet and spending some of it catching up with other pilgrims we had met previously. There was Åsa, a Lutheran Minister from Sweden who was such a beautiful lady, then a younger girl from Sydney who spoke perfect Spanish and perfect English, so I presumed she was an Australian of Spanish descent. She worked with homeless youth. She walked a while with Åsa and me and then sped off at the rate of knots hurrying to get a bed in an Albergue.
Even though it was fairly flat, there was such a lot to see and much for me to reflect on. Close to Sahagun, the track took a sharp detour to the right and my heart sank as my feet were becoming very sore and I was so close to Sahagun, however, when I saw why, I was very happy. It came to a little church which was set off the track and was quite beautiful. I spent a little time in there, resting my poor feet and thinking about things before heading up the track to our quite posh hotel in Sahagun.
I did have a small language and hearing miscommunication with the chap who was signing me in. I thought he was telling me that my actual room was in another part of the hotel further into town. When he he showed me on the map, I was dismayed as it was quite a distance. Happily for me, Cheryl appeared and the misundstanding was sorted out. The little chap came tearing out of the hotel to stop me from leaving but luckily for me, I had waited for Cheryl and was sitting outside. It appears that he was telling me where to go to get a sello, or stamp, on my credential to mark the exact halfway point of the journey from St Jean to Santiago!
Who knows what may lie around the next corner? There may be a window somewhere ahead. It may look out on a field of sunflowers. – Joe Hill
Day 21: Sahagun to El Burgo Ranero – 17 km
Sahagun, is an intriguing town with plenty of old buildings still in existence. “It was once the seat of ecclesiastical power, largely courtesy of the influence of Alphonso VI who, along with his various wives, is buried in the Benedictine Convento de Santa Cruz” (Brierley, 2016) There is a wonderful old church way up on a hill where you can get a sello (stamp) for being the halfway point of your walk to Santiago, however, after we had toiled all the way up, we found it closed. We wandered through an amazing arch and had our photos taken in the bronze pilgrim footsteps there, before setting out once more on the track which would take us to El Burgo Ranero.
That day is unfortunately memorable for the fact that the terrain was flat and open and I was in dire need of a pit stop! That was the day I found the “Retreating Village” which, in my heightened state of stress appeared to get further away as we approached it! I missed the sign, but Cheryl did not have the heart to to tell me it said 3 km to go! You will be pleased to know that I managed to hold on until we got to a cafe and was able to relieve the situation!
The weather had been a lot colder for the past few days and I was not unhappy about this as I did not really enjoy the extreme heat we had been having. The major storm we walked though a few days back certainly changed the weather pattern and I was happy to start the day in a jacket and be able to take it off in half an hour or so of starting the day’s walk. I appeared to be alone in this as others were cold for most of the way!
We came across a paddock of beautiful sunflowers that were NOT past their prime and I took many photos of them as they made me feel happy. The way was again straight as an arrow in many places – the Romans certainly knew how to build a straight road! We reached our destination pretty early as it was a short walk, and settled down to drink and chat with various people we had met earlier – a group of Australian and New Zealand women and Judith from Alaska. It was a merry gathering with lots of laughter and cheeky banter.