Wonders never cease!!!

Hi all

Just pulled into Fuente de Cantos and am stayin in the most beautiful albergue I have ever seen. It is and od church coverted to social services including rooms for pilgrims. There are only two bunks to a room and right now only Willem and I are sharing the former library. We can get drinks for 1 E which is great because we are on the outskirts of town. Everything is spotlessly clean including the sitting room where I am, with free internet. Beyond the computer screen I see through huge windows onto an inner courtyard with a palm  tree in the middle.

Today was amazing (you are going to hear this word a lot). All day we followed a winding path through fields lying fallow covered with straw. The perspective was mesmorizing because we went up and down hills with the fields all at different angles to each other and never knowing what was around the next bend or over the hilltop. Occasionally the town would come into view and I thought it was near but then it would disappear from view and I would walk for ages before catching another glimpse. The only people moving were four peregrinos of which I was one. AND IT WAS CLOUDY TODAY = NO SUN! What a difference it makes.

Yesterday the path to Real Jarres was brutal because of the heat. There was no shade at all and even though I finished the walk by one pm the heat was a killer for the last two hours. Believe me I used every drop of three litres of water and was still thirsty. And Laurie, no, the good priest has not yet opened the parish albergue so I took your tip and stayed at the Hotel Pilar and was as comfortable as you said.

I think in an earlier blog I mentioned that my Spanish was good enough for daily use but would be no good for deep philosophical discussion. How wrong I was. The night before last I ate dinner with Gilberto, and architect from Italy who is also a lay associate in the Order of St Dominic. We have been on the same route for several days but never had really spoken because his two languages are Italian and German and mine are English and French. So our only common tongue was Spanish. Over a very fine dinner we had a long conversation about the meaning of the camino and the place and purpose of the pilgrims as an entity and as individuals. This led us to stimulating discussion of the path to salvation through Jesus Christ to God and really, not just metaphorically, where the camino fits in this plan. It meant a lot to me because I have been puzzling over this whole issue for a long time and wondering how St James fits into this. I will know meditate on this some more but we reached a tentative conclusion that the legend of St James is the occasion for this experience. Whether his bones are really in Santiago is rather an incidental and not a critical factor for the camino.  Before I started the Via de la Plata I really wondered whether I could have a similar rich religious and spiritual experience as I had on the Camino Frances in 2008. I know have my answer and in Spanish!

Willem caught up with us yesterday by walking about 37 kms in that heat and paid a price with several new bilsters. So we had a six for dinner last night in a good restaurant. We will see who turns up today. Ria walked on to take advantage of the cloudy day and with her long legs and speed we may not see her again.

Again I part with my the expression of my daily sentiment “I walk in joy!”

Bill Beahen

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5 Responses to Wonders never cease!!!

  1. Karin says:

    Bill, I am so impressed by your linguisitc achievement–your camino will be so much richer for it–remember all the peregrino blessings and prayers that you missed in 2008–well, now they will be yours.

  2. jackie beahen says:

    Hi Joyful Bill,
    It is so wonderful to have this communications highway, so we can (almost) experience your journey with you. I am all admiration. You have taken on such a huge mountain, and are determined to see it through the eyes of Joy. How perfect can life become. Every time I think of you in this endeavour, I am reminded of the “Promise” (If you seek me with all your heart, I will allow you to find me) [with poetic licence of course]. Then you’ll be saying on many different levels, just like the landscape, ‘what a difference the Son makes” . Keep on trekking, keep on praying, and know that your in our prayers too. Love ya, Jackie

  3. Laurie says:

    Hi, Bill,

    Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to follow along, I often find myself slipping back into memories of my own Vdlp. For me the walk from Castilblanco to Real Jara was one of those stunning perfect days. And you’ve got a lot more of them ahead of you!

    Lucky you to be able to find the kind of meaningful conversations and sharing that makes your time so special. Though I am not a member of an organized religion, I also had many special personal conversations that revolved around some of the more spiritual life issues. Talking about blisters and children is a lot of fun, too, but the camino is so much more than that, I think.

    Inching northward, hopefully toward cooler weather! Buen camino, Laurie

  4. Josée Arbour says:

    Hola Bill,

    ?Como esta amigo.

    Not much left of my High School Spanish, but it’s a beautiful language!

    It is such a pleasure to read on as you describe the views while you walk. Keep up the blog, it’s fun to go along with you.

    Happy walking!

    Josée & Matthew

  5. Brian Beahen says:

    Glad to see you off to such a good start! I am happy for you that you seem to be in such good company. Many of the people you describe certainly seem like great companions on this Via de la Plata route. From your first write-ups of the 2010 Camino route from Seville to Santiago, I sort of envisioned a longer journey (200 km more than Via Frances) and a much less travelled route (ie.- you were not anticipating meeting anyone until you join Peter O’Carroll on October 1st). However you seem to be really enjoying yourself with your new-found friends. Not only that, but you seemed to have discovered that your Spanish fluency is better than you thought! Good man! Your insights were very inspring. He who seeks, finds, as the Good Book says! Our prayers are with you and I hope we are in yours. Anyhow, I love your motto “I walk with joy”. I believe it! Love Brian, Jackie and Erin

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