In Sahagun

Tami and checked into a cute Hostal run by a French couple at the point where the  Camuno enters Sahagun. We both had our own rooms. I was ready for some privacy, and my own bathroom. The room was tiny, barely bigger than the two twin beds pushed together, but it was very cozy and looked out on the Camino. And it clear with a hairdryer.

My feet were killing me. So I lay down on the bed and elevated them, and caught up on the blog a bit.

I’d sent my daypack into a different Hostal that I’d picked out from the Brierley guide. After my feet felt better I went out to find it. No luck. So I went to find some lunch. Walked downhill deeper into Sahugun and there weren’t many places open. Lots and lots of “Se Vende” (For Sale) signs and boarded up shops. It was a reminder of how bad the economy still is in Spain.

At the bottom of the hill I ran into Bill and Aimee, whom I’d met atAlbergue Jacque de Molay. They were in search of lunch, too, and I joined them. Turns out they live in Santa Fe but are both from central Louisiana, where Hale is from. We had a great time sharing our stories and enjoying a notable lentil soup with chorizo that had the depth of flavor of a Gumbo. They raved about a place in Mexico called San Miguel de Allende as a place to learn Spanish.They go there all the time. I was struck by the synchronicity of meeting them and Nancy, who both had “CenLa” connections.

After lunch, I found the Hostal where I’d sent my daypack and regretted sending it there. The proprietor answered the doorbell and really wanted me to check in; he was desperate for business, but I had already checked in at the other place. I didn’t quite feel unsafe, but I was uncomfortable. It was another reminder to me how bad the economy remains in Spain.

I talked with the owners of my Hostal in the lobby about it. Clearly, it was the very beginning of the Pilgrim Season. I think there were only 3 people staying in their place that night. Our disjointed conversation in Spanish and English, with a French overlay (which I don’t  speak!) made me aware of how flexible people are on the Camino about communication. They’re comfortable using a kind of Esperanto of whatever language works, and aren’t afraid of trying something. I’d entered the zone where I was comfortable not understanding everything that was said. I seemed to understand enough, and know when to ask for clarification–or not–and that was ok. We don’t ever live in that space at home.

Sahagun was a little disappointing, a lot of the really old churches I wanted to visit were closed. But later that night I got together with Tami, and Andrew,from England.

We walked to the ruins of the 10thC Abbey, and Andrew was very knowledgeable about them.

Andrew and I had talked several days before about the psychological dimensions of saying hello and goodbye to so many people that you meet on the Camino. It gives you insight into how you make friends in real life. The same patterns apply on the Camino, but they’re amplified. Now that I’ve walked on the Camino three times, I realized that I was thankful when I met people and I shared contact info with some people, but I was able to appreciate them and let go. I did not need to be “with” a group or a buddy the whole time.

There was a difference, too, because I wasn’t going to Santiago. It gave me a somewhat unique perspective. Most pilgrims had to keep moving quickly to make time on the long haul across Spain. I was reminded of that when Tami and I entered Sahagun, where there’s a monument that marks the halfway point to Santiago.

I had moments of wishing I could continue further—the stretch past Leon to Molinaseca might be my favorite segment—but I was also thankful to be doing a shorter pilgrimage, and to be present to the charms of the Meseta.

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Categories: April 2015, Santiago de Compostela | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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