Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 5 - Cyber Pilgrims Meet to Evaluate their Camino and Plan Ahead

Beautiful Villamayor de Monjardin, the village and winery
located at the base of a castle-topped peak.
Tonight's dinner at Villamayor was an unusual treat. Team John invited Team Charles to dinner at its albergue, a rustic and rambling building set above the village square, owned by a group of Dutch evangelicals. Before the meal a hospitalera (a volunteer at the albergue) offered an extended prayer of thanksgiving in English. She assigned a discussion question to the diners and then invited everyone to return to the dining hall for a chapel service just before bedtime. We discussed the question, "How have we heard the voice of God on the Camino?" and also caught up on each others' stories from the previous two days. After dinner our whole Seattle group went down to the cafe/bar to think ahead about our timing, our pace, our togetherness, and the Camino itself.

Over the last five days we've covered about 75 miles. The territory has been lovely and lush with greenery. The camaraderie has been close and the pace has been a challenge. We came to the agreement that, rather than a race between teams we would have a gentle walk, staying in touch with each other, sharing our evolving stories, and relaxing into a sustainable pace. 

Our journey to date. View Cyber Pilgrimage in a larger map

We also had a long talk about practical matters like how to care for blisters (more on that tomorrow), how to stay hydrated, whether we should trust the abundant fuentes (fountains) along the way, and our feelings about unisex bathrooms, common in Europe but a novelty for Americans. As we talked, we realized how much we enjoyed our togetherness.

After our conversation we headed back to Team John's albergue for chapel and enjoyed a few moments in prayer and contemplation on the meaning of the Camino. We Seattleites prayed for people back home, and one in particular -- a member of our church who was convicted today of a serious crime. News photos show he was sent away in handcuffs to jail and looks ahead to 31-41 years of prison. We prayed for him, his family, the victims of his crime, and for his many friends at our church who love him, are sad for him, and will miss him.

Off to bed in our two albergues for some blog-writing and then a morning walk to Torres del Rio, together as a group. The only bad news in the whole day is the weather report for tomorrow: "Rain."

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