Hola amigos. We have been walking long days, with slow Wi-Fi on my not so slow walk: 25 Kms to Hospital de Órbigo, a town close to the end of the Meseta, the flat plains on the plateau of central Spain, between Burgos and Astorga. We stayed at Albergue Verde, fabulous vegetarian food, music, long conversations and group sharing, gardens and green houses. I felt so at home, like the 60’s and 70’s Birkenstock days, when we worked together to create a sustainable and healthy planet.
Mitchell, the proprietor, reminded us that the Camino is divided into three stages of personal growth: physical, emotional and spiritual. If we have walked the first two stages, then after Leon we enter the journey of spiritual growth, beginning the climb to Cruz de Ferro and the mountains and forests, soon to Galicia and Santiago.
Next we stayed in Astorga, and Rabanal, and then walked to Cruz de Ferro.
We went to the Vespers service in Rabanal and heard the singing and chanting of evening prayers. Right now I am with my friend Marylee and I am repeating some of last year’s Camino, hoping to walk longer! She is in her last third of her Camino. In the evening she was asked to read an English passage in the service. What a spiritual journey when I hear this music, the echo of centuries, all the haunting and beautiful past. Occasionally I’m reminded that once, Christians, Jews and Muslims lived together in Spain. Walking out of Astorga, I saw the history written in the stone wall of a church.
I am beginning to understand why and how I got here in June and not September. I couldn’t imagine a summer without walking.
Today I walked to Cruz de Ferro, leaving stones for two friends as a prayer for healing and one more I shall not reveal. We hiked up and down the rocky mountain that tripped me up last year. Still rocky, but not daunting. My challenge is always to be mindful.
Beautiful flowers that we cultivate in the states grow wild in Spain. If I stopped to photograph every plant, as I’m tempted to do, I would still be hiking on the mountain. Spectacular!
We stopped at Manjarin, a village of one, who claims to be the last knight of the Templars.
We’re now in El Acebo at a place I stayed last year, La Casa del Peregrinos. Kind of trendy with private rooms and Albergue dorms. Today I chose the dorm, a reminder how much I have loved staying in Albergues and meeting Pilgrims from all over the world.
Next is Ponferrada and perhaps a change of Camino. Stay tuned to this Wandering Pilgrim story.
Buen Camino, amigos, Irene