Monday, June 30, 2008

Day 5 Hanging out in Cizur Menor

Temperature: the same as yesterday

Mood: Woke up crabby but later quite grateful

The alberque at Cizur Menor is so beautiful. It was a huge garden with a pond filled with exotic fish and a couple of turtles. The rooms are separated according to gender as well as are the bathroom. Its all very clean and well- decorated. They even provided blankets.

The best thing about the alberque is the woman who runs it. More on her later.

Again, more pilgrims to hang out with last night. There was the dutch couple in their early 60s who are biking their way from Rotterdam all they way to A. Compestela. The woman told me that this is the beginning of their 5th week on their bicycles. Another Austrian couple in their early 50s who were just beginning their journey. The man is a middle school teacher like me and we traded anecdotes about the classroom.

I slept solidly for about 10 hours. I was so tired. But when I woke up I had these really painful blisters up and down both feet. I could barely walk to the bathroom let alone head out on my planned 15 mile journey.

I managed to get up and sit out on the garden when la duena (the owner) sat down next to me. She looked at my blisters and said I need to spend another day at the alberque. Then she brought out her first aid kit (a huge box filled with any kind of blister medication imaginable) and kindly treated my blisters. My gosh, what a saint!!!

Then she explained to me her vision of the journey of the El Camino. She sees each group of pilgrims that descend upon her alberque as a drawing of sorts. Or a puzzle made up of a drawing with each pilgrim being one piece. In this drawing, she felt my piece really didn´t fit. It wasn´t good or bad, it just was. And while we all got along socially, the other pilgrims were going at it in a very different pace with different agendas.

She saw my blisters as a way for me to slow down. Wait for the next group of pilgrim who are coming and with whom I´d have a much better fit.

So this lovely duena was my nurse, sage and hostess - all at once. I´m really grateful to her.

Now to rest.