October 13, 22km… Fiesta del Virgen del Pilar
A day of peregrismo in the wonderful city of Cáceres.
The day began on the floor in the footy oval locker room: Letiza’s eye still half-closed and I’ve been scratching like a mad thing all night and have big itchy welts on my hands and arms and legs and… kind of everywhere. My fear is that they have come from fleas in my sleeping bag having been infested the night before in Alcuéscar. Oh booo! The ones on my hands hurt and are a bit blistery. But the bites are nothing compared to the fact that the buggers might have got into my kit.
Everything has changed pace since Mérida and the departure of Frank and Jacques. Walking rhythm different, “schedule” different, less time for writing and blogging, more time talking and laughing. Less time in prayer, practice and meditation, more time in community, discussion and sharing. Different! It’s a good time for me and a good reminder that all of this, this rich and full time with others is probably more important than all my solitude and everything I enjoy and seek to accomplish in it. The ubiquitous agenda … simply transferred from everyday life to pilgrim life. Oh to just be in the life as it is, watching the unfolding horizon from a quiet mind.
We’ve been in Cáceres since about 9:30 this morning after a chilly and clear-skyed walk along the road and then through dirty fields and the rubbishy fringe of the city. We popped in and out of the emergency room of the hospital just long enough for L to get a mega dose of antihistamine in a bum jab and hopefully get her various swellings down. The albergue was full, as is all budget accommodation in town because today is a huge festival in Spain and a famous rock band are playing here tomorrow night. This region is called Extremadura because the climate is extreme and the life – dura – or hard. Anyway, this band is called Extremoduro which we think is pretty funny and a good name.
Cáceres is a Roman city, like Mérida, but a good deal smaller, and it’s been delightful to wander through the narrow cobbled streets, and tiny squares. Outside la Iglesia de Santiago we came across a film crew shooting some dodgy Medieval period piece teleseries. The two actors in chain mail, armour and big templario crosses did three takes of a terribly staged sword fight while we tried not to giggle from the wings. We wanted photos with the knights but after the assistants removed their helmets and they shook free their sweaty locks, they were *toss curls* too cansado.
Around the other side of the church was a wedding and a more colourful wedding you never could see. Half the women were wearing spotty bright flamenco dresses, and there were rose petals, sevillian musicians, kisses flying through the air and a frothy white bride. A wonderful sight!
After a yummy menú lunch, and 4:30pm by this stage, L and I rub our happy bellies, shoulder our packs and head north for the ten km to Casar de Cáceres and our night’s albergue. Why do we not do this every day? We ask ourselves, ambling through bright fields in the soft late afternoon sun. Ten km in the morning, a wicked day of sightseeing and ten in the afternoon. It’s true. We’ve done well.
C de C has a pretty good albergue municipal though the toilets are only about a metre from the bunks. This town is famous for a raw sheep’s cheese ‘torta’ which we buy a round of and slice open for dinner with olives and tomatoes. Oh hello. Deliciousness in a creamy casing.
Night all! Off to itch my flea bites from the comfort of my bottom bunk bed.