Monday, March 31, 2008

Penitence and Purification

Following a good nights sleep, we were wakened at 0700 by the Hospitalero since we were all supposed to be out of the hostal by 0800, and this hospitalero by all accounts was a stickler for the rules. However my room mate in the next bed seemed to have no intention of moving, hunched up in his sleeping bag, with jumpers and wooly hat. As we had breakfast, someone mentioned that he was staying behind sick.

Walking out of Carrion de los Condes, I braced myself for the longest stretch without refuges on the camino. Both Juli and the guidebook warned of the difficulty of a stretch with nothing but endless horizons and false hopes. And very shortly, rain, cold horizontal rain blowing into our faces and sapping our spirits as once again we tried to avoid the sharper stones digging into our feet.

4 hours later, a small village appeared out of the rain welcoming us to warm soup and pasta.

The afternoon was much easier going, luckily the hail storm which fell started just as we were leaving the restaurant, so we were able to shelter in the porch waiting for it to finish. Others were not so lucky.

And so on to Terradillas, the afternoon becoming quite pleasant, allowing us to dry out as we walked , finally arriving at a pleasant hostal where I shared table with some Spanish group of pilgrims.


The next morning for the first time, I was hardly able to pull myself out of bed. I felt exhausted, and furthermore my stomach was telling me that something was not OK. The first village was only 6km away, close enough to abandon the walking at an early stage if it became too much. As I walked I remembered the vision of the sick pilgrim in the next bed to mine, and all the symptoms were stacking up to be flu. However, I made progress, and following 6km stopped for warming tea, so I decided to carry on, since there were regular stops along the route leaving me options to stop at various points along the way. Today would be a day of purification of mind and spirit, with minimum food, and hot tea. My resolve crumbled as I arrived at Sahaguan, where the sight of a railway line brought me visions of an overnight train from Leon to Barcelona with Juli and a convalescence with all my home comforts. Only the sight of a graffiti of encouragement to an unknown pilgrim "animo" broke the vision, and another cup of tea and a phone call from Juli restored my flagging spirits. Frenadol seemed to revive me still further as I made good progress throughout the rest of the day. The weather was perfect, a warm sun, minimal wind, but cool air and finally some respite from my blisters, as the paths were much kinder on my feet. All the same, the last few km into Burgo Ranero were hard work. I think over the last couple of days I have earned an atonement for a sin or two, but the forgiveness I most crave is if any day in 2003 I failed to give Juli enough support during her camino, as her support and messages along the way is invaluable. This thought is becoming a heavy stone in my baggage.

Anyway, an early night tonight, and see how I feel tomorrow.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

uncle Mat i hope you feel better soon/
mummy has brought me some new shoes
school shoes and trainurs.
we have a new puppy called Rebus
we have just got back from are holiday/ we climed big mountains in
Wales. i hope you recover soon.
from Sam xxx

Anonymous said...

Your diary seems pretty exhausting. Have you been walking every day? Do you not know that six days shalt thou labour and on the seventh you take your rest? It seems to me that a day of rest may be long overdue. I don't know how near you are now to Leon but if you are not too far away then that would make a good spot for a rest. Maybe even book in to the parador for a couple of nights where Mum and I stayed and take it easy for at least one day and perhaps two.
Look after yourself.
Dad

Giorgio & Jenny said...

Hi Matt,

greetings from Paris! courage!!!! you can do it!hope you're feeling a bit better and nobody's playing any april fools on you!
cheers,
gio, jenny and boys

Anonymous said...

You tell him Grandad !
Sam, Beanna and Phia xxx