January 1, 2011 I write in my notebook: 1-1-11 and marvel at the symmetry!
We walked out of Grañon by 8 a.m.after a breakfast of bread and jelly. Luigi was now the hospitalero and he took his job seriously. We hugged and kissed everyone goodbye. Rie and Bo-Ram had already left with Stefano; Matteo was staying a couple of days longer as was Giovanni. Johann and Kim had also left earlier.
The new year greeted us with wonderful weather.We walked past wonderful small villages with tidy plazas. We stopped for lunch of bread and cheese. A pilgrim walked by. Mass was over and a few churchgoers were still hanging around chatting. Soon, though, everyone was gone and we were alone eating our tangerines. in the courtyard of the church in Viloria de Rioja.
We continued our walk at a leisurely pace knowing that in Belorado we would find a cafe to have good dinner before turning in. But, when we arrived in Belorado where our guide book assured us there were hostales and an albergue open, NOTHING was open–not a cafe, not a restaurant, not the albergue, not the hostal, not even the expensive hotel! A handwritten note on the door of the hostal read: Cerrado. Just like that! Ivan, a fellow pilgrim, who had been walking ahead of us and had passed us as we ate our lunch, was in the same predicament. He located the priest ; we finally found a cafe and we ate potato chips and a juice. Ivan finally located Father Raúl the priest in charge of the closed albergue; he informed us that the albergue parochial was closed for repairs; he offered to drive us to the next town, Ages, so we could stay the night. But he was about to say mass so we were to wait; however, right before he began mass, Ivan, who seemed relentless and was not giving up, found a pension that was open. He came and got us at the pew where we were waiting for mass. We then found our way to Pension Toñi and we got a warm, cozy room with a shower! And we slept in real beds; I was ready for the luxury! I wrote and pondered the lessons of the Camino. As in life, some times it is vacas gordas and other times vacas flacas, as the saying goes.
MEDITATION FOCUS: Adapt and survive. I thought about the thousands of pilgrims who have walked this path and the many travails they have encountered, and I gave thanks to the universe that we had found a place to spend the night. Once again, we had found an angel to help us. Ivan was anything but angelic, but he had come to our rescue.