I took Sunday off from walking. I had a great time with my 'guests', Laurie and Sarah. With some help of a friend they were able to take the train from Antequera to Burgos on Saturday and meet me here for a day off. We had a great visit, a time of rest and family time, and got to see a few sites in Burgos. The only problem with our visit was that I came down with a really bad sore throat and cough. I don't think I slept much last night from coughing and pain in my throat. As a result, I have taken it easy today as well (Monday). It was very hard to say goodbye to Laurie and Sarah this morning when I put them in a car to take them to the train station. I have really missed them and really I am not a whole person without them.
I rode in a taxi with Kris to the albergue so that we could meet up with the group. They had traveled an additional 48.7 km from Burgos to Castrojeriz over the last two days. We are staying in a campground tonight.
Kris and I had an 'interesting tour' on the way. I was talking with the taxi driver and he said that the town we were passing through was full of private underground bodegas (places to make and store wine). He asked if we wanted to stop and see one. Before we could even answer, he had made a u-turn in the middle of the highway! We stopped in front of this house. He told us to wait. He knocked on the door and asked if we could see it. The old man that lived there welcomed us in and gave us a tour of his house, his barn where he raises chickens and where he used to raise pigs, and into his wine cellar where he used to make wine. He gave us a glass from a box and talked with us about the history of his home. He even offered to sell us the adjacent property so we could dig our own bodega. When we left, the taxi driver told us that he didn't even know the homeowner before we visited. He laughed and asked if we were afraid that we were going to be locked up in the cellar. I don't think we could have pulled up in front of a house in the USA and been that welcomed. Hospitality is very important to this culture.
I hope that I feel well enough to continue my walk on Tuesday. Please pray for my cold, for my throat and cough, for my stomach troubles, and for improved health.
Hi... Laurie here... I'm hijacking Billy's blog for a second. Don't worry - I asked his permission first! I wanted to tell you about my impression of the pilgrim community.
When I arrived in Burgos on Saturday evening, Billy met Sarah and I and we hurried off to meet up with the Texas A&M group for dinner. As we were leaving the hotel, the lobby was full of pilgrims (in some of the bigger towns and at various intervals, pilgrims will choose to stay in a hotel and take a day off to rest, which is not possible in an albergue because no one can stay... you must leave each day by 8 a.m.). When we entered the lobby, almost everyone in there waved at Billy or knew him from the Camino. Lots of "Buen Camino!" was exchanged. A couple of women from Virginia were close to the door and stopped Billy to talk. He introduced Sarah and I, and the ladies immediately began pouring out their praises for Billy and for the amazing students from Texas A&M. One lady even said that she had already acquired an address to write and tell the university about how incredible the students are!
As we left the hotel, more greetings were exchanged with various pilgrims on the street. People passed and asked about each other's feet, about friends that weren't feeling well, about how someone's wife was holding up... lots of checking up on each other and caring for the community. One couple stopped to say hello, as they had heard that Sarah and I were coming for the weekend. He was German and she was French. Billy asked about her ankle and foot, and they said that they had just come from the doctor and they were going to have to leave the Camino because her foot has had too much stress and is quite swollen. They exchanged contact info with Billy and heartfelt goodbyes. Later, at dinner, the A&M students filled me in on this couple and on their story. It was really interesting how everyone knows everyone (not unlike a small town) and how this pilgrim community has formed over the past few weeks. They may not all be walking together all day every day, but they are all connected and they all seem to genuinely care about each other's well-being and journey. They even notice when they haven't seen someone in a day or two and begin to ask around.
I have to be honest in saying that it made me even MORE jealous of this Camino journey... I felt like a visitor, like an outsider just watching from the sidelines, and I felt a little sad and embarrassed that I was not in the group or joining them. So hard to keep having to say, "I'm walking next year." But at the same time, I was so intrigued by the sociology and psychology - by the way this community has formed and about the relationships that are building along the way. I can't imagine what it will look like at the end of the trail!
Three more weeks till Santiago...