The Magical Camino

Sahagun to Reliegos
Tuesday 18 November

My Camino angel was keen to visit the monastery that had a statue of Mary as a pilgrim, but it didn’t open until ten. I wanted to get on the road, as we had wanted to walk thirty kilometers today so we could meet up with our other friends, perhaps in Leon. I said I would have a long lunch, so we would probably walk together in the afternoon.

The day was clear, and I couldn’t bring myself to put on my boots, so thought I would try and walk in my slippers. What a good decision. I was walking on clouds. There was an alternative route today. I came to the direction sign and was trying to work out which path I wanted to take, when a little old lady appeared out of nowhere and showed my the way. This happens a lot on the Camino.

My pace was fast and I soon caught up with an Australian couple I had met the previous evening. I hadn’t met any other Australians on the Camino, and neither had they, the conversation flowed. It was relaxing to not have to explain every little colloquialism. We laughed and joked the morning away. They had cycled from England to Bordeaux in France, then had started the Camino in Saint Jean. They were going slower than I, were having shorter days and longer stops. We soon arrived in El Burgos Ranero, where they were stopping for the night. I had another twelve kilometers for my planned destination, but decide to continue our conversation over a long lunch.

I walked on to Reliegos, and received a message from my Camino Angel – she had met up with our Italian friend, and some others and would be staying in El Burgos Ranero. I had somehow lost Miss Venezuela, and wasn’t sure if she had stopped there also. I happily walked alone, looking forward to a quiet night. I love company, but sometimes a night of solitude is perfect.

Along the path I began to think about all the coincidences and magic that had happened to me on this journey so far. When I need something, it appears. When I get lost, someone shows me the correct path. I thought about all the feet over all the centuries that had carried their wishes, their prayers, their joys, their sorrows, their longing, their questions and wondered had the spiritual path somehow transplanted itself on the physical path. Had it created magic? I am an old hippy sometimes, but I do hope those that are sharing the Camino with me find the answer, the truth or some peace.

There were two alburgues open in town. The first one I came to was a private one, which I usually prefer as they don’t have the curfews of the municipal ones, but I didn’t have a good feeling when I walked in, so went to find the municipal. There was no one at the desk, so I went inside. There was only one other person staying, a Korean girl with very little English. I asked where we paid, and she took me to a house in the next street where the caretaker lived. I paid, and returned to the hostel. She said the shower was good. I took her good advice, and when I returned, she was asleep.

I wasn’t that hungry after my big lunch, but it was cold in the alburgue, so went to find a warm bar. I stumbled upon another relic from the hippy traveller generation, again covered in graffiti. The host was friendly, and played great music. I ordered a vino, which was accompanied with a hunk of cheese, the next one had bread and cheese, and the next a slice of homemade pizza. I didn’t need dinner. The music included all my favorites, and I was enjoying my night alone, but had to get back to the alburgue by the ten o’clock curfew. I returned but the door was already locked. Oh oh. I went to the caretaker’s house, and luckily they still had the lights on, and happily unlocked the door for me.

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