Harder day today. The path was near a main road with the sounds and smells of passing cars and trucks.
Today is Guylène’s last day and we agreed to meet up in Tosantos tonight. I will miss her very much. Her voice is very musical and she speaks clear slow french. At a couple of albergues I have recognised her voice as she has been registering at the front desk. As I was leaving Belarado I saw Beate hitch-hiking. She has been having a very hard time, and did not want to be walking along the side of the road listening to trucks. The path beyond Villafranca de Oca is supposed to be through forests and over a hill, which sounds much more peaceful and appealing, so that is where she is headed. I realize that this will probably also move her out of my circle of regular contacts, so was very happy to have run into her, at least this one last time.
It also turns out to be the 7 lively Finns last day. So I made sure I got an email and gave them the address of the blog. I think that some of them will come back to finish another year. I’ve enjoyed the few conversations we have shared. They have been friends a long time, and seem to work amazingly well together as a group and as individuals.
Mostly it was cloudy this am. Fell into step with Veera, we talked about family or walked in silence. Thought about Dad, grandma, the Kleins and the Foster reunion, especially Ro and Janet.
Just as we arrived at the tiny town of Belorado the sun came out. I really liked the town. Pretty church (and open, which is rare). An informational sign informed me the I was in an area largely unchanged since the original village was established and that it was the site of the oldest documented market in Spain – was it 8th C, and it even then had a jewish quarter.
Crossed a nice river leaving town and finally moved away from the road to walk through fields to the hamlet of Tosantos. Appropriately the albergue is on the road! And you have to watch for speeding trucks as you go to the single bar across the street.
Like Granon it is mats on the floor, communal meal, vespers. The colors of the building are vibrant, and it reminds me of the Austrian albergue in Los Arcos somehow. Much simpler. The volunteers here are German. They said there would not be many people staying, and I could probably have two mats, but already Francisco (from Logrono who I met yesterday), Olga and her daughter Edurne, the 5 canadians from Nelson, BC, and Veera are here. I expect there will also be lots of others from Granon! as I think Michel, Eduardo, Nando are also en route.
Sitting now in a field of mown straw under a small church built into the caves in a cliff. Listening to the wind rustle the leaves in a nearby oak grove. Life is good.
Later: As expected there was a good number of people here today- in fact the albergue is completely full – so no double mats! Among them Maarten, his knee very painful. Also an Irish pilgim, John with a good story. He is carrying a cockle shell that his father found many years ago when a skeleton was found when a house was being built. Many medival pilgrims were buried with their staff and shell that proved they had made the pilgrimage. They estimate it is about 600 years old. His father gave it to him with instructions that if he ever did the camino he carry it.
At six, before dinner (another communal meal prepared in the kitchen for everyone staying here) they opened the little chapel in the cliff to the pilgrims.
2 Oct 2009