Two weeks ago we hurried into Pamplona as if somehow our arriving would make Rob and the girls come quicker.
Now we’re doing the opposite.
Rob leaves in under a week – from Burgos. Yesterday the road sign stated 50km to Burgos. Delaying our arrival there makes the inevitable departure seem further away!
We could have been there tomorrow, which would have allowed plenty of time for us to walk on further with daddy, but a couple of nights ago we made a new plan, deciding to stop there with him for a few days.
Yesterday we altered the plan again.
We stopped in Belorado, had a delightful afternoon, lots of fun playing cards with a couple of Englishmen and an American girl who are all cycling the route backwards (and then some), and rather than moving on a respectable distance today, opted for the mere 5km that would allow us to stay in this place, Tosantos, we had been looking forward to.
5km would have taken our cumulative walking total to 499km, so we made sure we walked about in Belorado before setting out!
It turned out to be a good decision. It meant we had time first thing to accompany a Spanish couple to the Emergency Department which we had found yesterday, and they in turn told us how to ask for medication for an eye infection (Rob’s). Being Saturday, the farmacia didn’t open until 10 and so we wouldn’t have been able to make big miles even if we’d wanted to. As it was only 6 degrees and we had to be out of our lodgings by 8am, we deposited ourselves in the only open bar, consumed pastries, played cards and made contact with family (yay for wifi). A big tv blared the news of today – Madrid plays Madrid in the European Cup final. Any bar in Spain will be a wild place to be about midnight!
But we would be in an albergue that would require silence from 10:30. However, that doesn’t mean we missed out on celebrations. Upon arrival, we discovered not only would there be the fun communal meal and prayer service, but it was the day for a fiesta in the village. Everyone turned out – some stood outside the church while mass went on, others zipped in and out of the church, and we stood at the back marvelling at all the Santa Maria’s that were said in unison by those who were particpating. Then we were invited out with everyone else to join the procession to go up the “mountain” (small hill) to the chapel in the rock.
Something happened up there and we were able to peek inside (excuse the vagueness, but we really don’t know what was going on, and quite frankly it looked like it was being made up on the spot, although the romantics would like to think they were following a many-years-old tradition), then everyone walked back down again. All the while the church bell was tolled, a drummer and piper made music and various banners and artifacts were carried ceremoniously.
Dinner was a raucous affair – at least post-dinner was.
Thirty-five people around the tables burst into song and each nationality was required to sing. It was a lot of fun.
Time marched on (especially as dinner did not start until 8) and while we were tempted to pack the kids off to bed, we let them stay up for the prayer service. They were pleased we did! Spanish, German, Italian, English, Latin – each language was used, either in prayers or song or readings. Prayers from previous pilgrims were read out and there was a time of silence. Ella-Rose summed it up: I was glad to stay up and it was cool, but the silence bit I didn’t get. I guess our church experience is not so focussed on contemplation!
Because the kids had set the table and the adults participated in the food preparations we did not feel bad tumbling onto our mattresses on the floor instead of helping with dishes….and we slept like logs.
Cumulative Distance: 500km
500km to go to 1,000km
Dinner: salad with bread and oil and vinegar followed by hearty lentil soup with more bread…and an apple