Day 16. Villalcázar de Sirga to Ledigos. 29.1km
Day 17. Ledigos to Bercianos del Real Camino. 26.9km
Writing and rereading past entries, I noticed quickly that often stories were left out in supplement of my reflections. Such is the hazard with the nature of these blogs as often my writing is not necessarily intended for others to read, but rather for my own processing. While I value very greatly and appreciate very highly those who are reading/following my entries, I admit that my rambled writing is at times meant for my own self-reflective consumption.
In the monotony of each day, I walk, often alone, sharing only the confines of my mind and the solitude of the surrounding nature. When you’re trapped in the rhythmic pace of your thoughts, the lessons come first and the stories form thereafter.
For several days now, we have been walking at a pace different than that of the guidebook. Stopping in towns, not that of the traditional daily ending-points, we have stumbled into smaller villages and towns and welcomed wholly as the site of a pilgrim looking for a place to rest his or her head is a rich and rare site.
On day 14 in San Nicolás, Itero del Castillo, we stayed with an Italian Confraternity and treated to a Foot Washing and traditional Italian meal. While we were only one of three non-Italian speakers, we were nonetheless received into their 12th century building. A group of Italians we have been keeping pace with since St. Jean helped to translate the language and cultural barrier and in those few hours we were transported from Spain to the heart of Italy.
On day 15 in Villalcázar de Sirga, we arrived first to an obscure donitovo and offered our own choice of beds. Being a Saturday, much of the town decided to close unannounced and we were resigned to one bar in the town-square for drinks and dinner. Soaking in the sun and enjoying the free wifi, our favored Italians arrived and we sat drinking sharing Camino gossip and gawking at the wedding in the adjacent cathedral-sized church. With little time left before our 10pm curfew, we made our return to bed in hopes for a few extra minutes of sleep.
On day 16, we arrived in Ledigos after crossing a barren stretch of flat desert. My hopes of a previous good-night’s sleep were usurped by a couple who had more “intimate” plans in the bunk beside mine. With the heat of the sun, and the furious gust of the wind over the desert, I walked chilled by the air yet heated and angry by my mood away from all people who even attempted to make contact with me. Only after we were seated sharing the comfort of a hot well-prepared dinner in our albergue did I realize that I had let the actions of other people dictate my entire day.
On day 17, after several near 30k days in a row, Lisa and I decided to ship our packs ahead to give our feet and legs a bit of a reprieve. Weaving through tree-lined paths along busy highways we arrived to Bercianos del Real Camino, the traditional ending point for day 18. With one day ahead of schedule, even after our pack-free “rest-day” our legs and feet still ached from their overuse.
In the early morning hours of this day, with no pomp and circumstance, we crossed the threshold gateway simply named, centro geográfico del camino (the geographical center of the Camino). Characteristic of the simplicity of the Camino, we passed this point without notice until someone triumphantly remarked its importance. Only then did we stop to capture a quick picture before walking onward, own journey still has much road ahead.