I've been lost in the desert dream of the Meseta. We covered 121.2 kilometers (75+ miles) over the past four days. This region has been hot with little shelter. Water was scarce on several stretches of over 17+ kilometers. One must learn to ration. I spoke with one Canadian pilgrim; he told me he saw the savior in the sweltering heat of the day. I believe him.
A lengthy walk clears the mind. Positive thoughts / insights naturally bubble to the surface. The Camino contains people from all over the planet who are in the process of walking approximately eight hundred kilometers. Happy encounters with these pilgrims is commonplace, gestures of goodwill - the norm. Recently, I read Henry David Thoreau's essay "Walking". Returning home, I intend to further explore this way of being, setting aside time to walk.
Pilgrims must protect themselves from the sun's powerful rays. Living outside is hard on the body. On the Camino, we are careful.
Each day, Christina and I apply sunscreen while taking our first break. On one recent occasion, I painstakingly applied the lotion to my face and arms. Not wanting to look like a clown, I asked her if I had rubbed it in. The job met with approval. As I smiled with satisfaction, she picked up the tube that I had been using. It read "Foot Cream". The Meseta is a trickster.
We have recently been spending time with three girls, Magdelana (Polish), Karen and Marie (Swedish). Kids, politics, even God have been discussed. We hope to see them again.
Last night, we had several unique experiences at albergue Bercianos. Volunteers served spaghetti, salad and (of course) bread. The food was good, but the excitement during the communal meal was contagious. Hospitalarios led a blessing to Queen's "We will Rock You" beat. Later, we sang a Pilgrim themed version of "La Bamba". After dinner, a volunteer rang a bell; taking the hint, we all headed out for the sunset. Shared experiences are an established feature of the Camino.
This evening, we had the opportunity to listen to a fellow traveler play guitar and sing in the centrally located patio space of the municipal albergue in Mansilla. The music lasted for at least an hour. What a gift.