Day 11, Oct 9: San Nicolas to Carrion de los Condes, 21mi

My  heart was full of joy and gratitude as I left San Nicolas!

It’s Lucas’ birthday today, so he was on my heart.  I got a later start this morning; Lino and Elba were relaxed about our departure; it wasn’t the fairly-strict 8am-departure time that most albergues have, so this morning I had 2 cups of coffee and journalled before leaving, around 9:15am!  It was lovely, especially following such a long walk-day.  I didn’t have wifi at all yesterday, so I stopped in the next town and went into a cafe to utilize theirs and send Lucas a Happy Birthday message.  I got back onto the route at almost 10am, and got way too hot pretty soon so I had to stop again to strip off some layers!

I felt frustrated with my stop-and-go, and late departure.  Then I remembered the Henry David Thoreau quote about making a mental pathway with many repeated thoughts, and I repeated the thought of “relax, you’ll get there (wherever There is) in due time, don’t rush and don’t feel anxious.  This morning’s later start was a gift; sleeping a bit later, the relaxed breakfast and journal, the prayer of blessing with the San Nicolas hosts, and taking the time to stop and send my husband a special message on his birthday.  Plus, it took away the temptation to walk a super-long distance again today, because I simply wouldn’t have enough time.  21 miles would be plenty!

It was an absolutely gorgeous, warm fall day.  I strode along loving life.  Around 11:30am I saw a tall figure in the distance, steadily loping along.  I took a photo of the back of him because the fall trees scenery was so beautiful.  He stopped to take a photo too, and when I got to him I asked if he would like me to take one of him with the trees in the background.  We spoke Spanish.  He kindly corrected mine.  This man was about 60 and introduced himself as Jose Antonio.  I slowed my pace quite a bit to walk with him, which was very worthwhile.  He was kind, patient, and spoke a little English and mainly Spanish and he would consistenly and kindly correct me when needed, which I totally appreciated!  That helps me learn.

Jose had spent time, many years ago, in the US (California) training with the US military  before Vietnam.  After the war, he enrolled in a PhD program in history…I kind of lost what he was saying but he has multiple degrees in multiple countries’ histories.  Right now he is working on a history of the Camino itself. He has walked it 5-6 times, only once starting from St Jean, France.  When I asked him why about that, he said because France is very expensive and he only had need to start from there once, now he skips that part!

He told me some fact and histories about some of the Camino, and explained about the antiquated lock system that we came across together; it was how boats crossed this part of Spain bringing products.  In modern days there is now a highway, but the locks and canal still exist.  I loved hearing him explain!  I told him he must have a great memory to be such a master of so many histories.  He told me he learned techniques from a book called “The Memory Book” that he bought from Barnes and Noble (!) and that I should get it :)

We parted ways at lunchtime, and I carried on for another few hours to Carrion de los Condes, a town of just over 2,000.  This interesting town retains a medieval atmosphere within its meandering side streets and used to be home to 14 pilgrim hospitals!

There were 3 albergues to choose from, and the first one I checked was closed for the weekend (not sure why).  I found another, called Espiritu Santo, which is a converted school.  It was perfect for a large albergue, utilizing classrooms for dormitories.  No bunkbeds, all single beds which was nice.  The school yard served as a common area where many pilgrims were chatting, eating, and relaxing in the sun.

I took a shower and went to a nearby cafe for a tapas and wine dinner.  No dinner was served at my albergue this time; it varies- some provide it (for a fee or included), and some do not.

The bar/cafe had good wifi service and I actually got to Skype with Lucas (and his mom and dad, both!), which was great because it was his birthday and he was at home in Tennessee celebrating.

Crossing a river just after San Nicolas and just before getting into the next province, Palencia.

Crossing a river just after San Nicolas and just before getting into the next province, Palencia.

 

Monotonous fields for quite a while today, and it got very warm (probably near 80)

Monotonous fields for quite a while today, and it got very warm (probably near 80)

A lovely break from the hot, dry fields, this fall-colored tree-lined path was refreshing.  My new friend & history-buff Jose is up ahead.

A lovely break from the hot, dry fields, this fall-colored tree-lined path was refreshing. My new friend & history-buff Jose is up ahead.

 

Me in front of the anitiquated locks system.

Me in front of the anitiquated locks system.

 

Even the Coke machine bears a Flecha Amarilla (yellow arrow) showing us the way to go!

Even the Coke machine bears a Flecha Amarilla (yellow arrow) showing us the way to go!

Another cross/reminder, in a field.

Another cross/reminder, in a field.

Besides crosses and monuments, there are also sometimes humorous things to look at, that people have created in honor of the pilgrimage to Santiago - or just for fun!

Besides crosses and monuments, there are also sometimes humorous things to look at, that people have created in honor of the pilgrimage to Santiago – or just for fun!

 

 

 

There are many, many crosses and monuments along the Camino.  Every once and a while, one really catches my attention or calls me to pause and think or give thanks.

There are many, many crosses and monuments along the Camino. Every once and a while, one really catches my attention or calls me to pause and think or give thanks.

 

 

 

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