Camino de Santiago Day Nineteen: Carrion de Condes to Terrasilla de Templarios Gratitude

18 04 2018

I slept pretty well in my comfy bed but got a little cold at about 4 am and I was too lazy to grab a blanket. The places now are on the no heat program since it’s basically not freezing out so although there is heat they’re not turning it on. The place was peaceful and waking was very chill, no crazy rustling. We grabbed a quick coffee and some pastries with Jessie at a shop around the corner and loaded up on water for the long haul. On the way we saw the local fishmonger selling his fish to the market next door. He honked at us about an hour and a half down the road in a different city making the rounds…

This stretch is 11 miles with NO facilities at all! We were a bit turned around getting out of Carrion but headed out of town and onto a very long long boring trail. It had little water collection troughs on either side and since there’s been so much rain there was a lot of stagnant water around thus tons of gnats. Luckily they didn’t bite but they were so irritating. They fly into your ears, nose and eyes and are just generally annoying.

“Keep on going! Nothing to see here!” Suzy chirped and we kept going. Many songs came to me during the walk and I felt pretty energetic. We stopped at km 13 at an area with rest tables but little else and are our Jamon and truffled rice cakes and a mandarine and drank some water and a woman asked us for water and Suzy offered her some of hers and an egg.

It was really nice out, not a cloud in the sky and about 72 degrees, quite warm when you’re walking and with a heavy pack on even more so, something to consider as my pack was much heavier due to wearing less clothes and the extra food and water.

We joked about Carrion de Condes, literally translating to carrion of the condor and at one point Suzy posed for a funny photo shoot. At times it felt like the condors might circle you out there if you were to run out of water! Sometimes on the long flats you just have to entertain yourselves anyway you can.

I actually felt pretty great. Ros-i-toe, my name for my new little toe, is much improved. I really believe there was something special and healing about staying with the sisters at the convent. It makes all the difference in the world so our pace was fast. I tried to estimate it using the bpm (beats per minute) feature on a guitar app I have. I’ve heard in songwriting classes that everyone has their own rhythm and sometimes your songs naturally fit into that time stamp. At any rate it seemed like 97 was mine for this walk. Pole-step step, pole-step step. I saw people on the road weaving and meandering around the trail, to each their own, but I find it much more enjoyable to catch that rhythm. Suzy and I are luckily very much in sync. Still it was the kind of walk where we each departed into our own place for awhile. After about an hour of sing alongs (Rocky Mountain High, Jessie’s Girl, and my medley of show tunes from Pippin and Dreamgirls) we peeled away from each other while still walking in tandem. Suzy turned on her iPod and I just entered a contemplative state. The song Corner of the Sky from Pippin had come to me but I could not remember the lyrics until about another half hour they came flooding back as if the walking had allowed me to peel back layers of dusty newspaper off my brain to access this small treasure of a memory carefully wrapped in faded tissue like a Christmas ornament.

Finally an oasis from the long haul a bar! The men near us commented first in German and then in uneasy English as we raced forward, “You look like two horses that see the barn!”

It felt so good to sit in some shade as there is no shade on that strip. We were able to finish our water and get more and chat with some pilgrims we’d seen around. One Italian has been walking since Milan. He took a bus midway through Italy as they’ve got limited pilgrim infrastructure but then started up again. He has no money basically, hasn’t had a job for six months before he left in February. He has a 20 kilo pack which is hard in his body so he was on a rest… he has camping gear in there. He said some of the municipal and parochial Albergues donate a stay and food to him. He even got a rain jacket at one when he was desperate and he left them with a sweatshirt for someone to come. This network of hospitality is really incredible. If there is something you need all you have to do is ask. This young man is walking to Lisbon after Finisterre (Fisterre) to stay with family and hopefully find a job since there are few prospects he says back in Italy.

After our rest we caught up to Sina and Friedrich and walked for awhile. We spoke a bit about money as this for me was a factor that almost made me decide not to walk… could I afford it? Could I afford NOT to go? But Nantucket is so seasonal I Aldo thought that although I’m missing some work there’s really not that much happening there yet. Spain is very affordable, the food is pretty inexpensive and wine is cheaper than beer, sometimes less than 1 Euro for a glass! As we descended into the town I told her I hope that this investment in my own sanity, mental health and development will pay off one day or maybe I’ll just have to become a hospitalero in an Albergue. A few minutes later the four of us came across a man walking the other direction. He showed us his pilgrim passport and his Compostela from Santiago. He was headed in the other direction to work in an Albergue but had no money for food and lodging for tonight. Suzy had change and Friedrich donated as well.

After another leisurely stop in the next town to catch our breath and chat with an Aussie vineyard owner from Margaret River we made the last leg into Terradillos de Templarios. Someone said this is the actual halfway point of the Camino. We stayed at Jacques de Molay a cute spot with a lively outside patio and opted for the beds rather than bunks for 10 Euro. Good spot although upon entering our room one roommate informed us of his sleep disorder and the fact that was why he was trying to sleep at 5pm. We tried to be respectful but it was hard to get settled with someone sleeping there. Dinner was great and the scene very peaceful. This Albergue also has tons of toilet paper and even soap and paper towels in the bathroom! This is luxury.

Tomorrow we’ve decided on a big day…19 miles. Today was only 16.8, but we need to make a jump to give us a few extra days at the end so I can go home! That word home, omg. It’s crazy how lonely you can feel when you’re surrounded by people all the time. It’s a weird sensation.

i want to express my gratitude to the many many people out there supporting me on my journey. Special thanks to Nova Cadamatre who kindly sponsored my gray hiking pants, my Smartwool “magic” sweater, super comfy and vital silk sleep sack and my hiking poles that are so so necessary! Thanks to my husband Michael for providing me the time to do this and who is not only dealing with taxes for us but also supporting my jobs back at home and generally helping me feel like everything is going to be ok no matter what. He’s also taking care of my dear terrier Chamuco. Thank you to all the folks who helped with my practice hikes both east and west… Peter Palmer (Marin Headlands), Beccy Breeze (Big Sur), Kimberly Charles (SF Lands End), Grant & Ema Johnson (Nantucket). Thanks to Paul Berard for teaching me how to fit my pack and how to weight it properly. Thanks to Cliff Munkres and Mayumi and to Jonny Soto and Rani for your encouragement to make the walk. To Jodi Bronchtein for reminding me that I wanted to do this and telling me that the option wasn’t an option, I’d been chosen.

I have many more thanks upcoming…don’t worry I haven’t forgotten you all!

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