camino de santiago

So today’s post starts with a pic of Jaqcs. Robbed from Instagram. I know sorry Jacqs!

Last night was brilliant! We took our seats in the small dining room beside the kitchen. Already at the table sits the beautiful Jaqcs. It is the first time we meet this lass and we are blown away by her. Jacqs talks a mile a minute. As she does, I am transported along with her adventures. The way she describes her trip to Paris, is brilliant. I can almost hear the conversations on the street as she walks down it, I can smell the heat in the kitchen of the cookery class, feel the warmth of the wine shared with her friends. I could listen to this Australian lilt all evening. Her enthusiasm is infectious. I admire this lady so so much. She has literally travelled from the other side of the world on her own to be here, to follow her dream. Jaqcs has met so many amazing people already. Has lived this camino as it should be. I am surprised that given our marathon of the camino so far, that I am not more envious of these stories. Instead I am empowered and thrilled. I think of all the people that Jaqcs has met, all the people she has made laugh out loud. I think of the hundreds of people that will cross paths with Jaqcs before she returns home, all the hearts that will be overjoyed by her. Yes, I decide Jacqs is an incredible soul, spreading love and light wherever she goes. Half way through the starters Douglas arrives. I love his relaxed nature. He just plops himself down and joins the conversation like he was always there. If this was a movie scene, the credits would roll as four lifelong friends laugh the night away. Douglas entertains us with the story of the mix up when booking dinner. It turns out that for a while, Jaqcs and Sean were married. We laugh, this is how rumours start. Wine running low Douglas cheekily reaches for the wine bottle on a spare table and tops us up. “Douglas! you’ll get caught” I squeak! He smiles and says he doesn’t mind, it’s only going to go to waste. Sean and Douglas had booked a hotel in Burgos, our destination tomorrow. Its turns out that Jaqcs is booked in too! We chat of all the things this “Treat” day will bring. The boys are just happy to have a bigger bed and space. While us girls are all about the bath and getting someone else to wash our clothes! I can’t believe now as I read back over this and wander through the images, that we only knew Douglas and Jaqcs for such a short time on our Camino. Yet, they with a handful of others created a wealth of amazing memories that we will cherish to our dying days.

We were up late this morning. I look over and see that Douglas is already gone. I have a vague recollection of the door opening earlier. I am so comfortable under the warmth of the thick wooly blankets we were given. The room is dark, I fool myself to thinking it’s still dark outside. Its not though. We get up get dressed and head out to the lockers in the hall to retrieve our rucksack and shoes. Dear baby jesus on a bike! The smell from my locker when I open it. I slam it shut with shock and embarrassment. Until a fellow bunker opens theirs, the same smell. This is the famous camino stink I have heard of. Oh god! This is what we smell like? This is what shop keepers and everyone else smells? MORTIFIED!!!! I root out the cheap bottle of perfume and dose myself and the contents of the dry bags with it. I am probably only making matters worse. Still, I see the envious looks from my female companions. I make a mental note to buy more cheap perfume to share later.

It’s kinda funny, as we came down the far side of Punto De Vista (Cruz de Mata grande) it started to mist. It made for some seriously creepy landscapes. For some reason this mornings walk brought us long side military ground which had lots of barbed wire and keep out signs??? The mist got a bit heavier and people all at once started to don full rain gear! Being used to the rain in Limerick, Sean and myself decided to wait for the actual rain to fall before we had to reach for jackets. It was warm and humid this morning, so the thought of having to put on a mac in sac on is less than appealing. A while later we had to, it just got dirty. That inconstant rain that hardly falls, then falls all at once soaking you to the bone! YUCK!

So camera was wrapped up tightly and put away. From here on in the iPhone was used to snap the memories, such as this delicious cafe con leche which was a life save when we got to Burgos. We took a wrong turn and came in along the main road instead of the by the river which we heard was much more pleasant! When we reached Burgos we started to panic about having to stop here for the night. It didn’t look the most awesome place in the world. Sean and myself decided though when you reach the outskirts of most towns and cities they look horrid. Like if you walked to the Red Cow and you were told that this was Dublin, would you keep going??? We kept walking and found our Hotel Cordon in the middle of the old town. It was beautiful and worth the wait!

Like two giggling children we checked into the hotel and ran straight to the bathroom and almost fought over who was having a bath first! Hours later, skin like prunes we emerged to go exploring. Burgos, is unreal. It is so beautiful. The old town is like its got stuck somewhere in the 1940s. We marvelled at old shop fronts, shops that sold just hats, just linens , just cakes, just fruit. It was proper old school. The streets of this medieval town longed to be explored. We only had an afternoon to do so and I had heard that there was a gem in the centre of this world heritage site that was not to be missed!

Gob smacked would just about cover my initial reaction to the incredible building of Santa Maria. The enormity of it took my breath away. It was impossibly graceful. I had to sit down in the square for a quarter of an hour just to try and take in all of the incredible details of Cathedral de Santa Maria XIII. It has to be the most beautiful of Spain Cathedrals. A sweeping statement I know as I haven’t seen every Cathedral. Eventually, eyes still wide open we walk towards the ticket office. Showing our credentials we get a discounted rate, whoop whoop, are given our tickets and our virtual guide tour phones. We walk up the steps and in the door. We wandered round with child like awe. The alabaster Sky lights. Wow. Like looking at a kaleidoscope, of white and gold. Normally I don’t do churches or cathedrals. But this one, there was something enchanting about it. Hundreds of creatures moved slowly along, eye cast upwards, ever changing as stained glass windows throws a multitude of colours over them. All moving in silently in the same direction. Every now and then one creature is motionless transfixed by the harmony contained in these walls. Not surprisingly we lost the entire afternoon to this place.

As we leave, the spell of the Cathedral slowly fades and we realise that its almost seven and we are late for a dinner date with Jaqcs and Douglas. Thankfully everyone else is a bit late too. Jaqcs invited two others along for dinner. We are not a bustling crowd of six. We stop off for Gin and tonics along the way. I laugh as we are given those giant fish bowls of glasses. I laugh at Jaqcs face, this apparently is not the way they are served at home. I laugh because this is bizarre,  dressed in jeans and top like I am on a city break. You know just having a few pre dinner cocktails.  This is the best camino treat/rest day ever. We head off for dinner, prawns, sangria meat plates, more sangria, burst out loud laughter moments. Sean is talking about getting the train to Leon tomorrow and skipping the next 120kms to make it to Santiago before we have to go home. I am in high spirits so this right now doesn’t bother me. I am super happy right now. Surrounded by happy wonderful people sharing amazing experiences. Lets just enjoy now for now I think. We can worry about tomorrow when it arrives.

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