A Long and Not So Winding Road

Villarmentero de Campos to Caldadilla de la Cuezaom
Sunday 16 November

Rain. Wind. Cold. Rain. The straight path continued in front of us. My angel, Miss Venezuela and I set off early, we walked apart, separately and silently. The rain was stinging my face, I love this kind of weather, it makes me feel alive. The seventies disco hit ‘Born to be Alive’ was the soundtrack in my head today. The others were not so impressed. We had a long walk today with no towns in sight. We stopped for a mid morning snack and agreed it was OK to have a vino, as it would be late when we arrived with no other towns to break up the straight monotonous journey.

On the way out of town, I stopped in at a church, and later a monastery. The monastery had an exhibition of photographs of people walking the Camino. Most had been taken in Summer, and it seemed a very different experience to the one I was having. I think I have chosen the best time. There were many photos of people’s reaction arriving at Santiago de Compostela. I wondered what my reaction might be. Will I burst into tears? (Most likely). Will I fall to my knees?

I enjoyed the walk, but was wet and getting cold when I arrived in Caldadilla de la Cuezaom. There were two alburgues open side by side. The host of one came out to great me, and was so friendly, I didn’t even look at the other slightly cheaper option. The heating was on, the showers were hot, he could do my laundry. I was happy while I waited for the others to arrive.

After they arrived, I went to the local (empty) bar, and waited. My young Irish friend sent me a message – he had caught up with my Dutch and Italian friend, and they had eaten in the bar I was in for lunch. He sent me a photo of the lively group, I sent him a photo of the empty bar. A couple of days previously my brother had suggested I read The Canterbury Tales. There was a book sitting on the table, it was The Canterbury Tales. It was too heavy to take with me, but I flicked open to a random page hoping to find a reference to owls.

Soon my Camino Angel arrived. Miss Venezuela had fallen asleep. We ordered the menu from our very genial host. A wonderful warming chicken soup, and a chicken stew. Hearty country style.

Although we had been in each other’s company, we hadn’t really talked for a few days. Tonight we talked, and my Camino Angel shared her sadness. Her story was unimaginable sad for me. I really hoped she could find some peace on her Camino.


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