How do I express how delightful it is to wake up and walk in the early dawn on the Camino? We passed over the highest point on the Galacian part of the Camino. In the distance was a blanket of fog throughout the valley.
I met up with the woman who had danced with me in Rutelán
When I arrived at a bar in Villovak, (about 12km from Hospital de la Condessa) a man came out and told me that I still had the key to the private room. The woman had driven all the way there to find me, but couldn’t wait any longer. So she described me to the people in the bar. Those men had taken a photo of me some days before so they remembered who I was. Sure enough, the keys were in my pocket. Yikes. That was actually my second silly brain fade. The first one was in Acebo when I actually put both socks on one foot without realizing it until I started looking for the second sock.
When I arrived in Triacastella, I met up with Maggie and Martina again.
We decided not to say in the municipal albergue. Instead we found a great Albergue (Albergue Aitzenea) that was an old restored house. The owner started to put us in one room and then said, “three mujeras” and moved us to a room where he was going to put only women. He did all of our laundry in the washer and the dryer for 10 euros.
Tonight’s pilgrim blessing at the small church was quite the story.
Maggie, Martina, and I went into the church. The priest indicated with his hands that we were to move up towards the front of the church. Then he mentioned that we needed to move over on the benches so that 4 people would fit on each bench. As more people came into the church he made them move up towards the front. Then he said, “English” as a question. I thought he was asking how many people spoke English. But when I raise my hand, he told me that I needed to come up front on the altar. I should have known why he was asking. He gave me the English portion of the Mass to read. Then he brought up others who could speak Spanish, German, and (I think) Italian. Most of the people in the church were having a bit of a laugh because he was making some jokes in Spanish that we thought were about Pilgrims falling asleep in church. Anyway, after we did all the readings and he conducted the Mass, continuing to make some jokes, it was time to take communion. Since A group of us were up on the altar, it was our turn first. I put my arms across my chest to indicate that I wasn’t a Catholic (something I was taught at a previous Mass), but either he didn’t understand or didn’t care. He put the wafer into my mouth. There I was – a Jewish Unitarian Universalist – taking communion during the High Holidays, no less. Then we read the, “Pilgrim Blessing,” in all of the languages. I loved this experience. It is the Mass and Pilgrim Blessing that I will never forget.
We ate dinner in a great open restaurant.
By the way, Triacastella stands for the three castles that used to be there, but we’re all distorted and there is no more evidence of them ever being there.
October 2, 2014 at 8:47 pm
Nancy, I am living this journey through you. You have brought it to life for me. Thanks so much for your generosity in sharing!
October 3, 2014 at 12:26 am
I love the image of your taking communion. 🙂 God has a sense of humor.
Here’s a lovely David Whyte poem about Finisterre where you’ll end your walk, from his book, “Pilgrim.”
The road in the end taking the path the sun had taken,
into the western sea, and the moon rising behind you
as you stood where ground turned to ocean: no way
to your future now but the way your shadow could take,
walking before you across water, going where shadows go,
no way to make sense of a world that wouldn’t let you pass
except to call an end to the way you had come,
to take out each frayed letter you brought
and light their illumined corners, and to read
them as they drifted through the western light;
to empty your bags; to sort this and to leave that;
to promise what you needed to promise all along,
and to abandon the shoes that had brought you here
right at the water’s edge, not because you had given up
but because now, you would find a different way to tread,
and because, through it all, part of you could still walk on,
no matter how, over the waves.
– David Whyte