Saturday, June 28, 2008

June 23 - El Cubo de Tierra del Vino to Villanueva del Campean

A cool front must have come through and that one day rest was perfect for my leg and hip. No regrets, taking a bus..... I would have preferred not to, but one is not supposed to stay more than one night in an albergue unless real sick and I was not sick, but it would have been bad to walk in that condition. So many pilgrims end up in very bad shape as a result of pushing themselves. Learning one´s limits is important.

I was very aware of the place one has to look for arrows, and in this somewhat barren land they are on a variety of places. I walked along the RR tracks for quite some time and the path took a left turn all along a dirt trail. And there is the fork in the road. Intuitively I would take the right fork since that would be pointing north, but I decided to look for the arrow and there it was down in a ditch. Someone made sure to put them so that they could be found. I seem to be more alert looking for arrows when alone. Earlier when walking with Salvador, many time he would say, ¨Mom, this way¨ for I just missed them!
It was such a pleasant walk today, thanks to the weather and the landscape, which again brownish, it still had areas of trees that would feel like a little oasis.

Gentle hills, as I approached my village today, and far off I could see a man taking a stroll. As I approached him, I could see he was very old, and for sure he wanted to chat. So we did. He would call me ¨Maja¨ which means beautiful/good-looking, but in an endearing sort of way the Spanish have of calling people by an adjective/noun (linda, bella, gorda, negra, corazon, maja) and proceed to tell me sooo many things. That is one of the nice perks of walking alone.... I get to stop when I want and chat. I think I would feel less inclined to do so, if walking with someone, for it is easy to just say hello to passers-by while continuing a chat with my companion. He asked me to stay here tonight for it is a lovely lovely village.

So I decided to stay in this town, for it is full of wonderful people and there is a convent in ruins I want to explore. I wondered through the town whose streets were like a maze until I found the lady with the key. I went to the albergue and it was very very nice. Very new. Little reception area with a table and sink and microwave, then the room with maybe 8 bunks, then straight ahead 2 bathrooms. All new. I settled in, took my shower, washed my clothes, hung them up and went looking for food. I went to the bar and the food was soooo good and plenty of it! They called it arroz Cubano, which is funny, because at home we consider this a Spanish dish, and one I grew up with. Rice with fried eggs on top. The only difference and which I assume makes it Cuban, is the tomato sauce around the edge of the plate. Men came streaming in, apparently it is card playing time. Several of them around the table started their game, and it got quite passionate. Some cuss words were being tossed around, and some of the men would hush the one saying it, for there was a lady in their presence. Too cute. Several of them would come by my table to chat and to apologize for the others. My "maja" friend came in too and I had a wonderful time with him again.

I went for a walk through the town and up the hill to the convent. It mush have been beautiful at one time, for it still was to me. There was litter from some religious person who keeps putting pieces of paper from a calendar of religious thoughts under rocks. Here they were strewn about along with booklets from a Christian organization.

I decided to clean up the litter from these beautiful ruins and went back into town with a bagful. I took many photos. I tried to piece together what each area of these ruins must have been, and one of my faves was the round building with all these little cubby holes.

It was very peaceful here. And it was all mine today.
Once back in town I sat in their Plaza Mayor and drank delicious sweet clean water from their fountain. I called my son Diego back in the states while sitting on the park bench and it made me feel good to hear his voice. A man in a car arrived with many empty plastic bottles and proceeded to fill them up at the fountain. Yeah there is something good about their water. The men moved to the park. How is it that they need to outshout each other when having conversations? But this they do and I jsut smile. My "maja" friend came over again and I learned his name is Diego. Smile. So I was the only one here tonight. No problem. I read the pilgrim book and there was John's message. So cool.

I got my clothes and repacked my rucksack for tomorrow and went to bed. Ha!! Apparently the storm of the decade decided to hit tonight. The lightning and thunder was wonderful, I just love thunder, and it was rocking the place! Then I started to feel water on my hand the one at the head of the bed. Lights on, and yep, there are several leaks all along the edge of the wall, thereby hitting the head of all the beds that are pushed up against it. So I got up and pulled them all towards the center of the room. Back to bed. Then the other wall across from mine was leaking, I could hear the sound of it, so now I put all those beds in the center. Back to bed. Now my foot is getting wet, and it seems the skylight in the center of the room is leaking. Now I move all the beds again to keep them from getting wet and found a bucket. The sound of water hitting it reminded me of the Chinese Water Torture so I put a towel I found inthe bucket to stop that sound. Back to bed. The rain is pounding. The lightning makes the electricity go off and on. And.... what happens each time it flickers off? The emergency exit lights come on. Imagine being inthe dark and suddenly a spotlight is shining in your face? Yeah, all night, on and off. I got up. I just could not sleep anymore and went to the door. Water is coming in through the bottom of the door. So when I open the top half of the door to peek outside, I could make out, in total darkness, that the street (maybe all of 12 feet wide) was now a river. Yep. We are getting flooded here tonight. I moved several items from the floor of the entrance up high so they would not get wet.

After hours of this and when the electricity finally stayed on, I fell asleep from sheer tiredness. And maybe an hour later? Someone at the front door, pounding. The lady has come to see how I faired. Then I realized I had been bitten, several times, but not bedbugs, for they bite in rows, these were mosquitos. Good morning!!
Total 13 kms

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