Tuesday, November 10, 2009

From Hontanas to Castrojeriz

I woke up early and took my time packing as today was a short 10 km day.
After coffee and 1/2 bocadillo I set out in the pre-dawn light and soon Michael caught up with me, and we walked along together for a short while chatting, before he resumed his fast pace and walked ahead.
Again it was a nice, pleasant day, as the sun came up and a cool breeze was at my back - perfect walking weather! I stopped at the ruins of the Convent of San Antón, which was used from 1146 to 1791 by monks specializing in caring for pilgrims suffering from 'Saint Anthony's Fire". It was a beautiful spot, and you could tell it had been a huge place - even the ruins were quite impressive!
Soon I was in Castrojeriz, an old Roman town probably founded by Julius Caesar. It is built in layers around a hill, which is evident as you approach. Since it was just past 10 am, I went in to see the big church at the beginning of town called Santa Maria de Manzano, before I continued in through the narrow streets, until I came to the albergue I wanted to stay at. It was still closed, so I walked on the find the super mercado and pharmacy. On the way I stopped at the bar & restaurant El Taberna for coffee. I ended up making reservation for the pilgrim's dinner that night. The bar keeper was really friendly, and told me that it filled up quickly at night, so best make reservations - turned out he was absolutely right! I continued my search. Even though it was fairly small village, it was quite spread out, so I had to ask several people, before I found the stores.
After shopping I went back to wait by the albergue, and soon found out that I had misunderstood what I had been told. It opened at 12 Noon, not 2 PM, so then I went over to check in after a group of Koreans had disappeared inside.
The warden was very friendly, and I got to pick my bunk, bottom, of course, next to an Australian lady from Queensland and a friendly American guy, David, who told me he had lived in a small Andalusian village for about 18 years. When I asked him the name of the village he said Frigiliana - which is the very village I have known for more than 30 years, as it is a charming "white" mountain village right above El Capistrano, where my family has a house!! Uncanny! David gave me a gift of the "Hand Of Fatima" with Christian, Muslim and Jewish symbols engraved on it - a gift of good luck he said. He told me he had designed it himself, and you have to receive it as a gift for it to bring you good luck!
Later we sat at the same table for dinner - the bar keeper had put name tags on the table settings on the tables in the restaurant - trying to pair up pilgrims according to language and nationality! - I found that so thoughtful and sweet! As David and I talked I learned that he worked on the local English radio station in Nerja, and he offered to do a free ad about my workshops on his radio station, if I sent him the information! Of course I followed up, and Janicke mailed off brochures and flyer to him for me! This meeting was another gift of the Camino!
The Norwegian couple was in the village also, I met them in the afternoon, and then again at dinner. They sent me fresh greetings from my sister Dorte, whom they had run into in Burgos, after I had walked on.
After dinner David, Theresa and I traded foot massages, what a treat!

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