First of all Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian family and friends. I had occasion to celebrate with you last night Saturday. Wait for it – believe it or not one choice for first serving last night (Saturday) was pumpkin soup and of course I and and all of my companions had it in honour of Canadian Thanksgiving.
The last two days since Santa Croya has been a radical change in weather. It has been cold with rain and strong wind and lots of mud around from previous storms. It is a taste of things to come as I move into Galicia and the mountains in the next few days. I have been travelling fast with my younger friends from Austria, Germany, England and Japan – 38 kms yesterday and 32 plus today and I am getting tired. I have lots of time to make Santiago which is now only 240 kms away and I don´t fly out to return home until October 28th so I will slow down tomorrow and enjoy slow progress for awhile.
I had an interesting experience today. Last night I arrive in Mombeuy after a ten hour day and was diappointed to learn that there was no mass in the village on Saturday night or Sunday morning the only one being Sunday at 2´30 pm. So I put my hopes in finding something on the way on Sunday.
I left our very basic Algergue at 8´30 that morning and got lost due to hydro construction on the camino route but finally arrived in a small village two hours later. I was cold and tired from the previous days exertions so I sat down on a bench facing the sun to relax and after a few minutes I heared church bells – not unusual on the camino but these went on a lot longer than usual and were followed by Gregorian chant from loud speakers and people began filling the streets. I followed along and sure enough I was led to the church for 11 am mass which was very special as usual but even more so because I believe that Jesus led me here for that particular opportunity. Amazing but this is a pilgrimage!
Later today I needed the special strength this gave me as I missed a particularly obscure trail sign to turn left and continuing on I used up an hour exploring five different possible trails which all ended in nothing and one which had me rolling down an embankment through thorn bushes which ripped the back of my left hand. No serious damage.
Finally I worked myself farther enough back that I picked up my mistake. Although the time lost meant that I had to walk the last hour of the the day through a cold rain and arrive at a surperb albergue at Puebla de Sanabria which raised both my spirits and body temperature considerably.
I will be supplying more details on poor signage at this stage of the camino to my friends who are planning to walk the Via de la Plata in the future shortly after I return home.
Best to all my friends who follow this blog.