We began walking today at eight o'clock, our latest start so far. This felt wonderful at the time, but we paid the price in the heat, covering over twenty-four kilometers (15+ miles).
We baked in the mid-day sun as we made our way through a succession of Spanish hill towns. In each, we made it a point to stop for awhile in the shade. One open alcove, directly off the Camino, provided a vending machine and free Wifi. It was an easy decision to enter. Small bars were also a welcome sight.
As has become common, we had the opportunity to talk to many different people during the walk and at watering holes. Piecing together a worldly perspective happens by default; empathy is the common language.
Many pilgrims have been making advance reservations at albergues. Some have their entire trip planned out from start to finish. This is a reasonable approach. We never know which albergue, or town for that matter, we are going to stay in for the night.
At Villatuerta, we entered Casa Magica. The shelter had thirty beds. We acquired the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh, respectively. Close call. How can one feel that moment of elation if events are predetermined? I am learning to trust the magic carpet of the Camino.
After checking in, the attendant presented the features of the albergue. Our eyes were directed to a modest pool and a set of hammocks. After a shower, I slipped into the latter, wrote for a time then took a short nap. I was woken at seven thirty to partake in a three-course pilgrim meal. We ate and chatted at the common tables while our laundry dried on the line.