Posts Tagged With: Carrion de los Condes

Carrion for the Second Time

I walked through Carrion filled with wonder. There was so much more of it than I’d seen in 2013. Plazas and stores, and finally, a sparkling river. 


I circled back to the 12th C church of Santa Maria. It was open. That was where we’d had the classical guitar concert, Mass and pilgrim blessing in 2013. In April, things were quieter. Fewer pilgrims, no Mass that night.



 This crucifix was German, from 1350. It has the same Y shape as a famous one in Puente la Reina. How did it get to Carrion? Did a German pilgrim carry it here?

A beautiful Madonna and child from the 13C.

St. James, as a pilgrim. I said a prayer for the people of St. james/Santiago, Oakland, back home.

Spending time in Santa Maria made up for all the closed churches along the Way. I was so thankful to return to Carrion and to be a Peregrina again. I gave thanks for good health and prayed for all the injured pilgrims struggling to continue. Carrion was the place where all the days of walking 20k+ caught up with people. It had probably always been that way.

Later that day I met Tammi for a walk around town. The light was beautiful on the buildings, and people were out enjoying the evening, and greated is with “Buen Camino!”




We talked about our prior Caminos, and how there’s always more to learn.Then we found ourselves behind a church that overlooked the river. It was so quiet we could here the water burbling far below. “The 23rd Psalm,” was all Tammi said. Indeed. 

My experience of visiting Carrion again showed me how much bigger God is than the little boxes we create for God in our minds. It was filled with Camino moments. The Holy Spirit, Espiritu Santu, flowed through that day, like the river.


Categories: April 2015, Santiago de Compostela | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Albergue Espiritu Santu

I’d sipped my daypack ahead to Albergue Espiritu Santu in Carrion, so after “second Breakfast,” I went off to find it. I was thinking of treating myself to a night at the 4 star hotel San Zoillo, in a former monastery at the edge of town. But when I found the Albergue, I decided to stay. 


It’s in a former parochial school, and run by nuns. They’re a different order than the singing nuns that run Albergue Santa Maria. 

I rang the buzzer and Sr. Maria Antonia let me in. She was dressed in street clothes, and like many Spanish people over 65 she was less than 5 ft tall. She had a warm, authoritative way.  “Yes, they had my mochilla pequena. Did I want to stay?”  I was a little skittish about Albergue life after my Fromista experience, but Sr. put me at ease and the price was right: 5€!

She took my passport and credential as usual, but asked first if I was de Alemania, or German, like everyone does. I asked her about the convent and if there were many sisters in residence. She said there were just s few, in their 80’s and 90’s. There was not a shared vesper service as far as I could tell. Then she gave me a thorough tour of the campus and was very clear that the door was Cerrado! at 10:00. Yes! Comprendo! She showed me all the statues of Mary and then the Pilgrims’ meditation room/chapel and sleeping rooms upstairs.  


Camas, not bunk beds! Best of all, there was excellent wi-fi everywhere! I thanked her and settled in. It turned out that Tsmmi had already checked in and had the bed next to me.

Pilgrims were sunning themselves while their laundry dried in the warm corner of the former playground. There was a nicely equipped kitchen, and I decided to go buy some groceries and have salad for dinner. When I came back a young guy from Ashland, Oregon was organizing a dinner party so I added my salad to the mix. 

There were many cooks in the kitchen: French, Swiss, German, and a young woman from Seattle. They were all the age of my kids. Vino Tinto was poured as we cooked, and multiple languages ricocheted around the tight kitchen. 

Sr. Maria-Antonia came in and reminded everyone that they needed to be quiet and in bed at 10:00. Everyone nodded politely and thanked her. These young pilgrims were walking 30k a day, and they were tired by 10:00. The Oregon State student was walking the Camino in flip-flops. I guess you can do that when you’re 18!



I had arranged to walk around Carrion at 7:00 with Tammi, so I broke bread with the young-uns and then let them continue, which was fine because I felt slightly old.

Later, at 10:00, we were getting ready for lights out and Sr. Maria-Antonia came in with another Sister and said “Buenas Noches” to each one of us. I got a hug.


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

Memories old and new in Carrion de Los Condes

Carrion was the other place I’d stayed on my “bus tour” through the Meseta in 2013, and like Fromista, I looked forward to seeing it again now, from a new perspective.

When I was in Carrion in 2013, I could barely walk from my ankle tendinitis. I arrived at the Pilgrim Statue

at the entrance to town via taxi.  I made it one block to the plaza Santa Maria by the Albergue Santa Maria, run by the nuns, and waited for it to open at noon. I didn’t see much more of Carrion than that little area. When Gina and Kai arrived, I had dinner with them, and hobbled back to the church for the pilgrim concert, Mass, and blessing. That was one of my most treasured memories of Camino 1.0. Gina and I went to the Mass and Pilgrims blessing in Roncevalles at the very beginning of the Camino, and also shared the experience in Carrion. The nuns made little paper stars for the pilgrims, and the priest laid hands on each of us individually. There were tears, sweet tears.

The next day I hobbled to the bar/bus station and bussed to Leon. There were lots of other injured pilgrims, so I felt ok about going on. But I was beginning to realize that my injury was not going to disappear anytime soon.

Fast forward to 2015. I set out on the short 6k leg to Carrion after the cafe at the Albergue opened at 8:00. I met up with Tami on the road, and we visited as we approached town.


We arrived in no time, and stopped at the Cafe Espana, which doubles as the bus station. It brought back memories from 2013. The same nice guy was behind the bar selling bus tickets, beer, and making espresso. The same eclectic mix of Pilgrims, old men playing cards, and policemen were there, drinking coffee, and fresh-squeezed orange juice.


As Tami and I sat down for “second breakfast,” one of her Camino friends came in. She was Australian, about my age, and she was very friendly. She told us her amazing Camino experience from the night before.

She was the only one staying at an Albergue out in the country, and she and the Dutch man who worked there had a long, soulful conversation. He told her that he had been asked to be a sperm donor for a lesbian couple in Holland who were friends with his grown daughter, and now the boy is 4 and calls him father, and the Dutch man’s life has been opened up to a whole new phase by becoming a member of this unexpected extended family.


She was teary because back in Australia her 27 year old son had just come out as gay, and she despaired that he would never be a father. But her evening with the guy at the Albergue opened her heart and mind to new possibilities, and that gay couples could have kids, and that her son could be a father.

She marveled that it felt like she was supposed to be there, and that no one else was staying there, so she had the time to talk all evening with the Dutch guy.  That’s the magic of the Camino sometimes. It seems like there are many synchronicity, or maybe as tired Pilgrims, we are more open, and God has an easier time reaching us.

Then I started crying, too, after sharing that our daughter is the same age, gay, and that I’d had similar feelings, but now had faith that all would work out. We laughed and hugged as Moms and Pilgrims, and that was a Camino moment, too.

Categories: April 2015, Santiago de Compostela | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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