The Road to Santiago.

October 26, 2002

Mozarabic Church

Calzadilla de la Cueza to Sahagún

Generally it is very quiet in an albergue in the morning. In some, the hospitalero will play Gregorian chants or some other soothing, solemn music. But not in Calzadilla de la Cueza. Here today we were awakened by the jolting music of Motley Crew and a hearty ¡Buenas dias, peregrinos! (Gooooood morning, pilgrims!) As I said yesterday, this is a strange hospitalero!
Later I overtook Cormack, who was limping along because his feet were swollen. I asked him if he had taken any ibuprofen, which is an anti-inflammatory remedy. He said no, so I offered him some of mine. He was about to chew them when I asked him why he didn't take them with water. He said that he didn't have any — that he was traveling light. I gave some of mine and told him that he shouldn't be walking without water. Later he caught up to me and said, "Whatever you gave me, my feet feel great," and he flew by me. For a man who had sore feet, he sure was making good time.
Once when I was stopped for a rest, Gudrun appeared. I decided to go against my normal practice and walk with her. After the lousy weather of the past week, I needed to add a human aspect to el camino. Besides, her pace was similar to mine, so it wasn't too difficult to walk and converse.

Gundren at the Bodega.
Gudren at the Bodega
At lunchtime we came upon a small village that had small, door-like entrances built into a hill. Grundun asked what they were. I surmised that perhaps they were smokehouses for curing hams. We entered the village and beside the church we saw two pilgrims, JoséLuis and Maria, having lunch. JoséLuis pointed to the church and explained that it was from the 11th Century and that the architectural style was Mozarabic. The Mozárabe were Spanish Moors who had become Christianized and had brought to church architecture aspects that were similar to mosques at that time.

JoséLuis then asked me if we had gotten any wine at the bodega. So that's what those doors in the hill were all about — entrances to bodegas where wine was stored! He said that it was really good wine. After we had our lunch, Gudrun and I went to the bodega but no one was around. No free wine today.

Perhaps here is a good place to digress. I'm getting communication from some of my cheap friends back in Massachusetts expressing concern that I constantly seem to be drinking vino tinto. Well, let me ask you. What would you drink in a country where a glass of wine costs 60¢ while a Coca-Cola costs $1.25? Also, in Spain restaurants have what is know as a menu of the day. This consists of three courses, each of which has three or four choices. The first choice is among soup, salad, or some sort of vegetable. The second choice is among meat, fowl, or fish. The third is a postre (dessert). With all these menus of the day are pan  (bread) and bebida (drink). Now, you have two choices for a drink — house wine or bottled water. The menu of the day is fixed price with no substitutions. So, for the same price, it's either wine or water. Hmm, wine or water? Gosh, what a difficult choice — wine or water. And the price is the same? Give me a break! And call off the plans for an intervention when I get home.

Just outside Sahagún we saw Ugette who said she was feeling good, so she was going to head on to the next albergue which would take another hour or two. But before she left she told me that Rudy was waiting for me in the restaurant. After we checked into the albergue, we went to the restaurant and found Rudy sitting in the bar. He was glad to see us. He had been to a foot specialist in the city and had received some sort of treatment and special wrap for his foot. He said that the next day he was going to take the bus to León to catch up with his brother-in-law, Hugo. We compared notes about the parts of el camino that we liked and disliked, as well as an occasional comment about some of the various pilgrims. It was like visiting with an old friend of many years even though I had met him just a couple of weeks ago.

This albergue is really attractive. It is in a restored church that serves as an arts center / auditorium. The dormitory, showers, and small kitchenette are in a loft on the opposite end of the auditorium. That night there was a special chorus group putting on a performance as part of a local, citywide fiesta. We could peek though the loft curtains and see the singers. From our birds-eye perch up in the dormitory we heard a marvelous concert.

A great thing about this albergue was that in the lobby there were two computer terminals which provided free Internet service to the pilgrims and local citizens. I was able to read a lot of email and even had time to answer some from home base (I apologize to all who have sent emails and have not received an answer from me yet. I don't always have an opportunity and some days, I'm just too tired to write.)

That night a large group of pilgrims went to the restaurant next door for a dinner on pilgrim time. Besides myself there were Gudrun and Rudy, Chris and Cormack from the night before, and some new faces:  three young men — Kiley from Canada, JoséLuis from Madrid, Michelé from Italy, and two young women from Spain. Kiley was traveling el camino and studying the old churches because he is a stone mason. I didn't learn much about the two chicas (girls) because they were obviously more interested in Cormack and Michelé then el viejo (the old man) at the other end of the table. We learned that José is an architect but that his family in Cuenca grows garlic and also has a vineyard. I'm not much interested in the finer points of garlic crops, but wine — now that's another story. So, I told José that he was my new best friend.
My new best friend.
My new best friend
Previous Journal Entry. Next Journal Entry.