Days 10 - 13
On July 5th I walked into Burgos, a large city on the
Camino. I had walked 37km that day, the
longest walk up to that time. I was dead on my feet, but actually arrived
about mid-afternoon. The problem with walking into a city is that it
becomes slow going. There are many turns along the streets, have to dodge
around people, wait for traffic lights. Plus, there are many turns and the
arrows that point the way are sometimes hard to find in the crowds.
There's too much to see in a city, it's easy to miss a small yellow arrow.
I stopped at a pharmacy to get tape for my feet, and asked how far it was to the
albergue. She said 4 km. After I walked what felt like 4 km I still
wasn't there. I finally asked a policeman where the albergue was. He
said there was two, I asked for the nearest one. He told me, in
Spanish. I was lost after the first couple of turns he described. He
got a map and drew and X on it. I didn't feel like walking, and since the
albergue was off the trail I thought it would be okay to take a taxi. I
was taken into a residential area. To my surprise, there was an albergue
there, but it was a house.
I walked up to the gate and was
greeted by one young man to whom I said, "Hola." He asked if I spoke
English and I said, "A little, I'm from
was run by a middle aged French lady. I later learned she had taken
religious orders, though was not a nun. She had given up all she had in
life to run this albergue, and lived off the donations. She didn't even
charge like most did. She started asking me questions in Spanish and I
tried to answer. Later I realized she spoke English as well. I met
two Canadians, A and D. I talked to A for a while. He told me that
at this albergue they had a prayer service after dinner, which was right
then. I really wanted a shower, but I was interested in this. A told
me this was a Christian albergue. And a prayer meeting sounded like
something Protestants did. I couldn't figure out where I was, and didn't
want to ask. I finally did and found it was a Catholic run albergue.
I went to the prayer service. I remember thinking afterwords that nobody
had better tell me again that Catholics aren't really Christians. That
idea was reinforced later. I had just missed dinner, but she fixed me a
salad and bread. She was very surprised I didn't drink my milk warm.
The next morning we all had breakfast together. The lady gave me the job
of sweeping the stairs; the first time I had to work for my breakfast!
Before I left she kissed me on both cheeks. Days like this put the whole
trip in perspective.