I spent days 7 & 8 resting in Fuente de Cantos which the translation machine gives as “source of chanting” – and it was a step in the direction of my maturing as a pilgrim.
I’d become really tired of avoiding, ignoring, being nice to the Frenchwoman – I am crap at being in the situation where, if you’re hurting, you still have to be really really polite. Much easier to move away.
But in the world of the pilgrims on Camino, you will meet up with the group in the next town inevitably. If not at the albergue or hostal then at the meal in the town. Inevitably.
And because when I accidentally had eye contact with her etc, it started my festering again, I just thought I’d put some distance between us by remaining behind for 2 nights and letting that group of pilgrims go on ahead. I know it makes me sound childish but that’s how it was – for me as a woman in her 50s, in a foreign culture with little of the language, dependent on a group of veterans who knew what they were doing, and exhausted by incessant walking – hey, all my defences were down in a heap! I certainly didn’t want to waste my Camino experience on festering!
It was the best thing I ever did!
But before I go on about my new experiences I want to rave a bit about the hostal we were all at. The wonderful oasis called “El Zaguan de la Plata”. Up until now, we had all stayed at cheap albergues (dormitories) with the exception of that delightful Casa Rural back on night 2.
Now, whilst my photo is crap it DOES show you how Spanish houses work – they have the façade which gives nothing away other than how many stories the house is. As you go through the front door, a whole new world opens up and is wondrous. This casa just kept going back and back and back. Follow me!
It was a wonderful place to stop. When I let the others know I wouldn’t be going with them the next day, Ton, Martin, Ralph, Christina – they were sad but Christina said that she was very proud of me that I was breaking from the group – apparently it’s a welcome stage when you feel you can stand on your own 2 feet on the Camino. My time had come.
Of all the pilgrims I had met thus far, she stood out as the most vulnerable and fragile, the most sympatico – she had done the Camino a few times for her own strengthening of character. She had said in conversation that she wanted to become stronger in herself – more self-reliant, having doubted herself for a long time. I won’t forget her anytime soon.
Since these were the Type A pilgrims, they all rose to go before the next dawn so I got up and had breakfast with them and said my farewells. It was a bit of a lurching feeling to think I was casting myself adrift from such a friendly group of veterans – Ton even suggested I put my walking clothes on and join them. But I gave my excuses – melting legs – and saw them off. You can imagine how empty the hostal felt with all of them gone and me feeling a bit of an abandoned goose.
Not for long. I quickly packed up my stuff – I’d shared the dormitory with Christina who, in parting, said I only snored quietly (!) and not often, the night before, but had baggsed the double room upstairs for my next night. I was ready to scoot upstairs pronto.
And that’s when I wrote the only post from Spain – in the one thousand kilometres I travelled from Sevilla to Santiago – there was really only one computer that worked and was available for posting from. Other computers I found in big hotels later on were interminably SLOW and coin-operated!
It’s worth a read as it’s LIVE from Spain and written from inside El Zaguan on my first day as an independent pilgrim. I felt very free and dangerously experienced!
(Ironically, my new-gained freedom didn’t last that long because that afternoon a new bunch of pilgrims arrived and invited me to join their tapas dinner so I was instantly in with a new group! Too funny.)
Adios for now, amigos,
Nancy (the dangerously experienced!)