Yesterday was a long, long, long and hot 31 kilometres. I set out later than I had intended, and the day got hot quite early. We made it to Sahagún, which had several interesting churches and ruins to check out, including a church made of adobe bricks! But none of the cafés were open, so we actually ended up leaving town with no food. I stopped to eat an orange and drink some water, and then ran into some friends after another hour of so of walking. We finally made it into a town another hour and a half later, and collapsed into chairs at the first bar we found. After a 30 minute rest, Marty and I decided we did want to push on to the town our guidebook recommended , because a break always makes you feel like you’re all right. I would not have walked on without someone else going, honestly, because I was concerned that if I should be overcome by heat exhaustion, being alone would be dumb. So I’m glad I was kind of thinking about safety, but maybe really being concerned would have meant not walking any further!
There was just nothing on these open stretches of the path, although thankfully someone planted trees probably about 15 years ago, so they’re starting to provide some shade. We also had a lovely breeze, and that helped. About halfway, Marty and I really wanted to sit down. There was no where to do that but the path itself, which is the dustiest imaginable. By that time, our legs were covered in dust anyway, and wen arms and faces felt gritty from sunscreen, sweat, and blowing dust.
While we were taking our short break, a big group of cyclists passed us. I don’t think they were doing the Camino, because they were all dressed identically and had a support truck with them. They were very much amused by us just sitting there, and yelled various things our way.
When we arrived in town, I was just done. I have a whole new appreciation for the Israelites wandering in the desert and all the dumb stuff that they do. It’s so easy for us to read the whole story and think that they are so ungrateful, especially after having just seen God do amazing things in liberating them from slavery. But let me tell you, when you have to walk in ridiculous heat, it’s hard to be grateful. It’s hard to remember your blessings. And I even know I’ll be done after 40 days, forget the Israelites’ 40 years! There story really is my story: I forget, and complain, and maybe even wonder if God knows what he’s doing or really has a plan here.
Of course, a rest and then food and fellowship with some great people make for a change in attitude and some perspective again. Today’s walk was so similar, though – 14 kilometres before the first town, and I was sweating before I even got out of bed. But when I found myself slipping near complaining as my mindset, I decided to choose joy as my attitude. This is not easy stuff!
As I was walking along, as fast as I could because, let’s face it, I just wanted walking to be done for the day and there was “nothing to see”, I began to wonder why I was rushing. I was thinking again about destination mindset versus journey mindset. It was like the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “Can you learn to appreciate, even here, what I’m doing?” Slowing down the first time was easy, but I had to consciously remind myself to look around and pay attention and not speed up. But I noticed something: there was a plethora of wildflowers along either side of the path. I had not noticed them at all while I was rushing. For reasons too long to tell here and now (maybe another time), flowers have been a special sign to my heart of God’s love for me. I had been so preoccupied with “getting there” that I had just been blind to what was all around me.
So my last few kilometres into town were just a delight. I then found an albergue on the edge of town called The Garden of the Camino, which has a big lawn area with flowers all around and lots and lots of shade. After availing myself of the washing machine (yay! actual clean clothes today!) I sat out in the shade with some new friends. We kept pulling tables together as more pilgrims arrived and joined us – people from Denmark, Austria, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Romania, and even a girl from Brampton! Really a quintessential Camino afternoon. Some of these people were actually just taking a rest and are pushing on now, hoping to get to the next town and then beyond León tomorrow. I am off to explore the town now and see what’s here! I have to say, I was not a fan of the siesta time when I first arrived in Spain, but it’s growing on me. A relaxed several hours to just hang out with friends, enjoy a beer or wine, talk, and not have to do anything. Perfect!

2 thoughts on “Day 18 & 19: Terradillos de los Templarios – El Burgo Raneros – Mansilla de las Mulas

  1. Hi Bethany,
    I’m sure you can’t wait for school to start up again on Sept 2 – you are going to amaze your students with your version of “how I spent my summer vacation”! OK – sorry for raising that – couldn’t resist a little tease. Ellie was intently reading something on her laptop the other day, and when I asked what was so interesting, she told me about your blog. It’s been absolutely fascinating reading your blog posts. Thanks for sharing your pilgrimage and adventure with all of us. Blessings, safety and continued strength as you continue your journey.
    John & Ellie

    1. I’m so glad to hear that Ellie is enjoying the blog! And I just haven’t been thinking AT ALL about school – though I will have some great stories to tell my students!

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