We walked 18.4 kilometers (11+ miles) today; much of the way was in the heat. The Camino teaches patience and perseverance.
Entering Viana, we both agreed to stop and enjoy the town. The first place we checked for a bed was the cathedral Inglesia de Santa Maria. They had fifteen mats to sleep on; we took the thirteenth and fourteenth spots on the floor. The church was run by volunteers and fees were collected by donation. Dinner was served at 8:30 PM.
We attended a mass (8:00) at the cathedral and, afterward, received the pilgrim blessing from the priest. Although I could understand very little of the message, I recognize this as a unique experience.
Two male volunteers served us a modest three course dinner. Pilgrims chatted around the table; everyone introduced themselves. When in large groups, English is the default language spoken on the Camino. A group of eight Frenchmen expressed that they were happy to be adventuring together and planned on completing the Camino. All present (Czech Republic, Poland, Ireland, Italy) expressed their desire to finish the trek. Encouragement is empowering.
After dinner, one Frenchman played guitar and sang to the group. He chose "The House of the Rising Sun" and "Jammin'". Making this musical connection was important as we were called upon by our hosts to work together to clean up after the meal. Two Frenchman washed, I rinsed and Christina, a Frenchman and a Czech dried. If collaboration is this simple on the Camino, should our politicians be encouraged to walk it?