Moving Along

I´m in Villafranca del Bierzo. I walked 22 km today! Yay, me! You may note that this is the SECOND Villafranca I´ve been in. All the names are starting to run together for me. The joke with pilgrims is to ask them where they stayed last night (as in the town) and you get this funny, blank look. Ask them where they´re going today and most of them know. A lot of pilgrims (Germans especialy) treat this walk like a race. They give themselves 21 days or something nuts like that and just rush through the whole thing. Not that I have any judgment about it or anything. 🙂 Anyway, most of us know how far we are going but have no idea where we were last night. I actually know that I stayed last night at the Novo Hotel outside of um… yeah. I can´t remember. But it sucked. They should call it the Hotel NoVA. Some dude was talking on his cell phone behind my head until 1am.

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Resting Comfortably

Hi all!

I´m in Astorga and laid up with a cold/ear thing. So where do I go? Not an albergue, that´s for sure. I´m in a 4-star hotel overlooking the city. Top floor. It´s gorgeous.

The walk is going well and I´m loving the change of scenery from the flatness of the meseta to the hills of Astorga. I will take a rest day tomorrow (at the hotel, of course) and then head into the mountains the day after. No sense in pushing and compromising my health.

Anyway, I´ve thought of Dad´s offer to drive the Camino a few times with love, so the snazzy hotel was my compromise. 🙂

Sending love from Spain,

Jen

Trail Trials

Today I am feeling particularly lonesome because I´m sick. But I couldn´t have chosen a better town to be in — it´s called Hospital de Orbigo, if you can believe it. There used to be 4 hospitals here for pilgrims. I´ve had a sore throat, a unnerving cough, and ear issues. The hospitaler here at the albergue took pity on me when I arrived at 12 (pretty early for a pilgrim) and gave me a quiet room to nap. When the farmacia opened at 5pm (siesta hours are so strange), I went down there and she was pretty concerned about the ear thing.

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“Walking” Fast

I´m in Leon. And before you mistake me for a fast walker, I confess I hopped the bus this morning from Carrion de los Condes, skipping 4-5 days of walking so I can really enjoy Santiago and Finesterre when I finally get there.

We had a TON of rain the other day and now it´s sunny an warm. If you can believe it, I almost prefer the rain as the meseta has no shade.

I talked with a couple from Roseburg on the bus here — small world again!

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A Small Note From Jen’s Spouse

I wanted everyone to know, that Jen has not lost her ability to spell or punctuate. Since her departure, I have been posting to her blog from emails she has sent to me. She has been using iPads and computers from other countries, so the grammar and such is not quite right in English. At first I thought I might make corrections, but have left them in their original state as I get such a kick out of reading them as-is and thought you might as well.

I also want to pass on her gratitude for all of your support. It means a lot to her and tangentially to me as well. Thank you.

Pilgrim’s Progress

I am walking with Katrin, Marisela, and Muriel (from France) and having a ball. Except when my feet are killing me. I went to a sporting goods store to get poles and at the pharmacy, I bought new inserts for my sneakers. Thinks are much better, and the painkillers dont hurt either. 🙂 The weather was gorgeous today, a stark contrast with the rain and blowing wind yesterday.

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Things you think about when you’re walking

Things you think about when you’re walking 18 kilometers in one day:

Sounds: I can hear my friends’ poles ticking in the gravel, my feet crunching there too, birdsong, and distant church bells.

Sights: Is this too much sun? Should I put on more sunblock? I can see how far we’ve come. I think I can see the next town. I look at flowers along the path and try to idenitfy them. I scan the sky for clouds.
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April 16, 2013 (Tue) Chicago Airport

Why am I doing this pilgrimage?

That’s the question that all the books suggest answering before commencing a pilgrimage.

Is it Santiago? The burial place of the relics of a supposed saint? I’m skeptical of the Church’s motivations for reoccupying Spain in the Middle Ages. The appearance of his relics was too politically convenient to ignore. I especially resist the later image of Saint James the Moorslayer — a murderer on horseback, leading the charge against an intelligent and mostly peaceful people. Yet celebrating bloodshed is not unique to Spain (or the Church for that matter).

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