On the second day of 2011, I thought of my nephew, Mario Ruiz, a nurse living in the Valley — it’s his birthday! Now, in 2012, he is living in San Antonio. But a year ago, I sent him good energy and loving thoughts.
After a quick breakfast of tortilla and a panecillo in Belorado’s Cafe Goya, we continued our walk following the yellow arrows out of town and through the fileds. We talked up a storm, sharing stories of our lives. The fields lie fallow, many are newly tilled ready for planting. It was a short walk, and we realized we could’ve easily walked it last night, but we had no idea how far or rather how close the next town was or whether the albergue would be open, although Father Raul had called and asusred us it was..
Arriving at the well-equipped municipal albergue, we were met by Maite, the hospitalera who lives nearby. Maite told us that Eduardo, the man who claimed he had been robbed in Burgos, is a con artist who had come by here as well. She also told us of others who travel the camino taking advantage of the pilgrims and warned us to be careful. She stamped our credencial and was off to tend to her family; she told us she’d come back later to check on other pilgrims. And she did when there were other pilgrims who had been walking since Grañon.In the albergue there was a large wall mural, most possibly painted by a pilgrinm We found art all along the Camino produced and offered by grateful pilgrims.
Villafranca Montes de Oca is one of several towns named “Villafranca” due to the many places settled by “francs” who traveled the Camino and decided to stay. In this case, the Montes de Oca are nearby and the Rio Oca is right outside of the town. We were able to do some laundry and to dry our clothes on the radiators that did a decent job of heating the large room. We had a light dinner of soup and cheese. Becky’s dry shitake mushrooom soup was decilcious!
One of the pilgrims who came after we did, Solano Arias (an Argentinian who lives in Valencia) talked to Becky about cleaning negative energies. The only other pilgrims staying in the albergue were a young Korean man who has a laptop! (I marvel at how he has carried it) and Francisco, a Catalan who told us that Luigi and Giovanni talked about us–dos chicas de EE. UU., de Tejas–when he went through Grañon.
The next morning, I heard music! I thought I was dreaming then realized it was someone playing an MP3 player–I can’t imagine carrying the extra weight!
MEDITATION FOCUS: We all carry what we must. For this young Korean boy it is a laptop, for Kim, it was his journal! What is it that I carry in my backpack? in my heart? As I walk through life, I have discarded some things, sent ahead others, and kept some precious items that have a special meaning, such as an old blue plaid flannel shirt. It was my father’s and then mine. It is a reminder of picking cotton wearing long sleeve shirts for protection although the South Texas summer heat was unbearable. On the Camino I wear layers so that I am not so cold, and yet after a while walking, I perspire! I am getting rid more things I don’t need, of toxins, cleansing the physical as well as the mental.