The walk takes us through the highway and we almost miss the sign leading us out of town and on the Camino. A friendly horse bids us farewell and we are on the way. The foggy morning gives way to bright sun as the weather defies all predicitons of a rainy Galicia as we near Santiago. I for one am deliriously happy and feel elated. My heart sings as I remember Ana, my niece whose birthday it is and to whom I dedicate the day’s walk. We stop for a break at Cafe Bareto for what has become our customary snack of Bifrutitas de melocoton=delicious peach nectar, and a package of patatas fritas, potato chips.
As we leave the bar, lo and behold, there is Pablo whom we met way back in Nájera. He has finished the Camino and is doing it again, but this time he is with his cousin. He can’t believe we are still walking.
We joke that we are so hooked we don’t want to finish the Camino. There is some truth to that and he knows it for he has been on it as long as we have. They continue on their bikes, speeding away like hares on a race with the turtles that we are as we continue our slow pace walking.
As we apporach Ribadiso, we cross the Roman bridge that is still in use and approach the albergue where Becky stayed four years ago. It is closed since it is still early in the day. The turquoise blue door welcomes us and it reminds me of the blue on many doors in New Mexico, here, though, it is the entrance to an albergue that no doubt has existed for over a century. It’s strategic location by the river and right after the Roman bridge attests to its value. Plus, the sign in Gallego gives us a brief history of the place. We go in and peek through as Becky recalls her stay. The hospitalera is cleaning and getting the place ready for those who will come after us. The place feels cold and clammy. I am glad we will not stay here, although I also imagine what it would be like to fall asleep to the sound of the rushing waters of the river, el Rio Iso. We go on, continue on our walk.
We stay in Boente, the view from the upstairs window of the Albergue shows the back of the church and after we shower and rest a bit, we go out to get fruit and cheese for dinner. During our walk, I spy a sign for a beauty shop and take the photo. I may use it in my novel Champu. We’ll see. For now, it is an interesting sign along the Camino.
Meditation: El Camino shapes us as we make our path our own. Pablo on a bicycle travels faster and sees a different path than we. Becky returns to a place where memories beckon, where Roman soldiers once trod and where thousands of pilgrims have gone before. I go at my own pace, in my own way, I trust that the Camino that has been gentle and kind willcontinue to be so in my life back in the world as well as on the physical path of the stars. I ask that Ana’s path will also be full of light and joy. May her path as a mother be easier than that of daugther. The chain of generations continues through Ariana, her daughter, from Ari’s great great great grandmother, Celia, to her great grandmother Virginia, to her grandmother Leticia, through her mother Ana. That is the path back through generations until an ancestor from Spain comes to the Americas and the story goes they lived happily ever after, or not. A true mestizaje.