Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Road To Los Arcos

After the hearty breakfast and light sleep I set out around 7:30 am just as the light was painting the eastern skies in soft purples changing to golds. I found my way out of town and soon I was making good strides along the mostly very pleasant pathways. - It was cloudy, and the sun never really truly broke through, so I even had to put on my headband to protect my ears for the cool breeze.
I saw lots of birds this morning, and I am really looking forward to be able to identify some of all the birds I have seen along the Camino, when I am able to get my hands on a birdbook. It´s way too heavy to carry along, so I am doing my best to remember the markings of the birds I see.
I walked past the Finnish ladies and they past me a few times - they were both suffering from a cold, so they had to take some rest stops.
It seemed like the time just flew by, and I reached Los Arcos by 11 am. - I looked at the auberges as I came in to town, stopped to buy bread at the open panederia, just in case I would not be able to find a open restaurant, it being Sunday.
I went back to the plaza by the church of Santa Maria, and another pilgrim from Lethuania told me I should go in and check out the church, as it was very beautiful, so I did, and he was right, it was quite fantastic - gold everywhere!
Then I found the Belgian albergue I was looking for, and could leave my backpack there until they opened at 12 Noon. I went back to the square and had a cafè con leche, and had a nice long chat with a German couple who had been on the road for over 100 days! They had travelled on foot down through France, taking their time to stop whenever the felt like it. It was nice to meet people who were not in a rush to get to the finish line, but enjoyed the journey!
Back at the albergue check-in went fast, I got a bottom bunk again, and shared the room with all guys, and among them a father and son from Israel. The son had the top bunk above me, and he was a really nice young man, but he tossed and turned all night so the whole bed was shaking! The other guys were Spanish/Basque and obviously they had not observed that it was not all male, because one of them stood buck-naked with his behind in the air, roaming through his backpack! His friends saw me, and their faces showed their shock, not to mention his embarassement when he saw me, poor guy trying to hide the vital parts with a towel that was too small to go all the way around his rather wide waist! Yes, the Camino, modesty goes out the window very soon!
After showering and laundry duties I went back for a glass of wine at the bar in front of the church, and then I went in for the evening service. I sat with a row of old, spanish ladies - the one next to me was really sweet, and helped me along through the service. At the end of the service the priest called all the pilgrims up to the altar for a special Pilgrim´s blessing, and the old lady nudged me to go - since I did not understand the priest´s spanish. He was very kind, and spOke to each pilgrim as he gave us a prayer in our language and said a few words to each of us - very touching. Afterwards I went back to the same bar and had the Pilgrim´s menu and sat with a nice couple from Sweden, then off to bed before the doors closed at 10 pm sharp!

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