October 24, 32km
In the bar this morning drinking coffee pilgrims were glued to the weather forecast. Oh no! Rain! Or… what a relief, a cloud and sun.. or stupid graphic of whatever. Not me. I got a feeling of bad juju watching the weather report. Like it was giving us a false report, or giving us the idea we were getting something we needed, but was actually taking our attention away from the one thing that matters. I felt people were watching with the question of: how should we face this day? What should I expect? Do I need to brace myself against something? Let´s not watch the weather forecast, let´s watch the weather! This shifting clouds grand and grey, shining and silver, feel some pelo de gato rain, the different breezes that cross one´s face, the currents and subtleties and tiny changes of the light, the day, the tiempo, the time. This is what we should be watching.
We walked out of the bar and what was in the east and on the right, but the most stunning sunrise unfolding in hot pinks and orange with steely clouds and a mysterious patch of light sky and rumbling dark blues. In our hearts was the curiosity of what will tumble out of this day for us?
Or what if we were attentive to the Camino spirit and companionship forecast? It would have predicted ´strong and shiny.´ The weather is God´s blessing upon the earth day by day by day. This too is grace. It brings what it brings. Keep the heart on track!
After Granja de Moreruela and our second breakfast, just 6km down the road (no ascetic´s road, this one!) the path bifurcates. Continuing to the north the Vía de la Plata goes to Astorga where one can join the Camino Frances, and we take the left hand turn and begin leaning to the West and the Camino Sanabrés which will take us through the province and city of Orense and tiptoe up to Santiago from the south. Goodbye Vía de la Plata! Goodbye faithful wonderful path!
Afterwards we walked a nice path through fields and a wooly silver and grey sky. Renato and I were walking side by side in silence, prayer and the Italian / English lesson we try to do. I learned about the grapes on the east side of the path “tra dieci giorni di sol sara molto dulce, delizioso!” I picked a handful of rosemary and some fat stalks of lavendar and all around were the morning perfumes, especially this sticky bush which has a sweet strong Autumny smell. After the first day of Voltarin my shin feels a lot better and oh does it feel good to stride out sure and strong.
We met the Esla river and crossed a tremendous bridge of many arches reflecting in the grey and green stony waters. An important river! On the far side the group ahead had chosen the wild path around the mountain rather than continuing on the carretera and I was happy to see it! Stepping out on to this narrow way there was the river on the left and big gnarled oaks growing out of granite crevices. The whole feel of the place was fresh and wild and made me catch my breath and sing in my heart. Ah! I thought. I´m in my element. We´ve been walking so many days through fields, through the cultivated land. But here, here is the true heart of this country and here is where a different kind of meeting is possible. Oh happy strong legs finding their way over uneven terrain, up steep inclines and over rocks, mossy roots and shallow gravel valleys.
Today I met Tony in a bar with a tesselated tile floor and the TV on in the background. He´s a pilgrim with a Manchester accent and laughing blue eyes. I asked how his Camino had been so far and he tells me a wonderful juicy, if brief account of how it had been challenging! Interesting! Unexpected! then, kind of stopped short as if he´d maybe he´d said too much. I said, oh no Tony. I didn´t come here to watch the Simpsons.
It rained on us again in the afternoon, just slightly short of Tábara. The municipal albergue was on the far far side of town, ouch, step, ouch, step, ouch. Drip splosh ouch. Then the bugger is locked with no sign on the door with a number to call or the name of the bar where we need to pick up the key. Grrr! So it´s back to the Plaza Mayor and into a small hotel, which turns out to be the best move. L and I get a double room con baño for only 15 euro each. I have a towel to use after my shower. A towel! You don´t understand. I´ve been using a microfibre facewasher as a towel for three and a half weeks. We lie on our clean beds and laugh out loud and turn the heat up. Then wash our socks and clothes and drape them around the room. Then I put ice on my shin and don´t move from the bar for a few hours.
Yaha! Oh tra-la-la lino, come walk the Camino!
Love, and a chamomile tea with anis,