Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Day 28 — 16.58 Miles — Astorga to Foncebadon, May 25
The days have been blending together in our minds. We write notes in our journals at night after each walk. If we did not make notes each night and have photos to reference, this blog would be impossible to write. People walking through our days are having the same problem. We smile when the young people in their twenty’s are concerned about their inability to keep their days clear in their minds. Is this a new type of sensory overload for the Camino pilgrims? The views, sounds, smells and interaction with people from all over the world seem to be difficult to organize in one’s head.
When thinking about the people walking and living on The Way, I cannot recall a single incident of anger, hostility or unkindness. Even in the large cities, kindness and concern are everywhere. Looking for a yellow arrow brings out the local residents to help. In Madrid, before we had started walking the Camino, Ignacio helped us find our train, got us on the correct bus to the bus terminal and paid our bus fare. In Pamplona, a woman stopped riding her bike to tell us where the Camino path was located. In Burgos, a woman, put her hand on my elbow and kept saying, “No, no, Camino, Camino” while pointing in the opposite direction. We were off the Camino path following Google Maps to our hostel. We showed her the name of the hostel and the street. She smiled and pointed the way. In another smaller town, we were on a side street and highway corner looking for the arrow. A man in a car pulled onto the highway, honked his horn and pointed in the correct direction. One can only imagine how life would be if the whole world were like the Camino.
This day became interesting when we stopped in Murias de Rechivaldo for coffee and tea. Ron stayed at the table and I went into buy our drinks. There was a long line. When I finally brought the drinks out to table, another pilgrim was sitting with Ron. This is normal on The Way. Tables are routinely shared with strangers. Norbert was the pilgrim’s name. He was walking with a group of Boston College students. Norbert, from Harvard, is researching the differences between Christian Pilgrimages and Muslim Pilgrimages. He is also a Jesuit priest. Norbert received cross #31.
The elevation of Astorga is 2,850 feet above sea level. This is about 200 feet lower than our home in Boise. Another climb on The Way, had begun for us. By the end of today, we climbed up to 4,647. The scary thought for us is now we will have to go down. Going down on The Way has always been difficult. Even the young people are having issues with knees and feet due to the steep descents.
A memorial for Trudy Boukas was on The Way to Foncebadon. It was not a simple stone or cross like the other memorials we have seen. She was a pilgrim and apparently she had a pet tiger. There was a picture of Trudy with a tiger on the memorial’s cross. Cross #32 was hung over Trudy’s cross. There were two more memorials not far after Trudy’s. Cross #33 was hung on a memorial for Luis Hinejesa. Cross #34 was hung on a memorial for Uberlinda Cortez.
When we arrived at Foncebadon, we turned to look back at the direction from which we had walked. An large valley lay below us. The valley we had walked through for the past few days extended back as far as we could see. It was a very humbling feeling for us to look back on such a large valley and realize that we had actually walked across it. We then checked into our hostel only to discover that Ed, Melissa, Amelie and Rachel were also staying there. We had all found rooms for the night.
Ponferrado is our next stop. Buen Camino. Sharon and Ron