The Bare Necessities

Astroga to Foncebadon
Sunday 23 November

We had to leave early from the alburgue. I was hungry, and wandered the town looking for an open bar. There were not a lot of options, as it was early Sunday morning, but the first one open served churros and chocolate, which I had not yet had in Spain. It has been years since I’d eaten this, and soon remembered why… I didn’t really like it. Too sweet and greasy for breakfast. I felt a little ill.

My Dutch friend walked ahead and my Camino Angel also wanted to walk alone. I wanted to visit the Cathedral and the Gaudi Museum, but didn’t want to wait until twelve when they opened. My Camino Angel had told me about a church she had visited that had a female on the crucifix, and another pregnant virgin. I was keen to see this and wondered had it anything to do with a Mary Magdalen cult I had read about? Unfortunately the church was locked. I sat by the cathedral and contemplated where I would walk to today. A group of men I had recently met walked past, so I decided to join them and walk. One, a young German was whistling a familiar tune, Redemption Song by Bob Marley. On the essential Camino playlist. His friend, a young Israeli, said he only has two songs. That and ‘The Bear Necessities’ from the Jungle Book. The bare necessities.

I chatted to the young German. He had just left school, unsure of what to study. He was smart and charming, but worried about making the wrong decision and studding something he would be stuck doing for the rest of his life. He was interested to hear I had changed careers several times, and that I knew of several people who had successfully also changed professions, usually with better outcomes. I thought about my friends kids who are the same age. I haven’t seen most of them for a few years. I guess they too, have grown to confident young adults. We parted, as I stopped for a coffee, as he wanted to continue.

The next village I again stopped for a coffee and snack, and ran into my Dutch friend. He wasn’t having a good time. It seemed he was feeling trapped, as if he was no longer on his own journey. He wanted to reclaim his Camino. I suggested he stop for a day or two, maybe stay in some smaller towns with no one else. The bare necessities. I left continuing onto Rabanal del Camino where I had planned to spend the night.

What a wonderful walk. Fog. I love fog. I arrived in Rabanal del Camino. Indeed it was a lovely village, but I wasn’t done with walking today. I was having such a lovely time. My new shoes were comfortable and my painful blisters had started to heal. I would walk onto the next village. I was stopped by a group of three elderly women who were very interested in my journey. One had a little English, and we chatted for a while. They were from Madrid, and her son lived in Japan, sort of near Indonesia. They bid me Buen Camino, and I walked on in the fog.

The alburgue in Foncebadon had a reputation for having a wonderful atmosphere. They had food and yoga. Yoga, that would be good. I’d only done a few stretches here and there, not my usual twenty minutes a day. A class would be good. I entered the alburgue, and the hospitaliro was also an Australian. She asked did I live in Indonesia?, apparently my reputation had preceded me. The two dorms were very full, perhaps I should have stayed in the last town. There was only one shower, so I had to wait. The yoga class was starting, but I really wanted a shower, perhaps I could join later. I showered, went downstairs, but felt uncomfortable disturbing the class halfway through. I mentioned to the Australian girl that I would just go and do my own. She offered a room that I could do some yoga in, so I set up my IPad with a class, and had forty good minutes of yoga before dinner. I was sore after along days walk, but it was just what I needed.

I joined the others for dinner. A hearty paella. The wine flowed. I met new people. It was an enjoyable evening. By nine fifteen I was finding it hard to keep my eyelids from closing. I excused myself and went upstairs for an early night.

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