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The Camino is a Strange Place

April 13, 2013, Day 14, Viloria de la Rioja to Villafranca (18 km)

Outer Journey

Crisp but pleasant day walking through the small town of Villamayor del Rio, then Belorado (population 2,100) , Tosantos, Villambista, Espinosa del Camino and then finally to Villafranca Montes de Oca were I chose to stay the night before tomorrow’s climb.  Most of the path was natural which was a relief on my legs.  Walking on the asphalt with a pack is tough on the legs!

I ended up walking much of the day with a group from Ireland.  Tey are a lot of fun.  We all find a fantastic Alburgue in Villafranca Montes de Oca.  It is part of a really nice hotel.  The owner has walked The Camino before and loves Pilgrims.  We have sepearte beds divided by partitions.  Great shower.  Machine laundry facilities and good food.  What else could a Sovereign Woman on a journey want.  I must say, though, the Irish are a bit dangerous to be around…they drink a lot and insist we all keep up!

Inner Journey

Some days I am so clear about walking The Camino.  It all makes sense.  It is such a metaphor for life.  It is a great mirror.  I see me tendency to separate myself from groups and not become part of one and then complain internally because I am alone.

The Camino is also constantly changing so don’t get used to anything.  First, there is no soup available because it is Spring time.  Then there is soup everywhere.  One Alburge has no heat, the next has heat.  One day it is freezing cold, the next warm and sunny.  It is impossible to plan.  One Alburgue has excellent WIFI, the next four do not.

Other days, I don’t know why we are all walking.  We do the same four things  everyday.  Only four things are important…sleeping well, eating well, walking and washing cllothes.  That is what we do each day…that is it.

Most Pilgrims agree that The Camino is not about sight-seeing.  We are either too tired to see the museums and cathedrals or they are all closed.  Is it a coincidence that most of the days that we enter the big cities there is a festival and NOTHING is open?  Nothing to distract us from our internal journey?  Maybe it is a way to help us not feel guilty for not seeing any cultural sites.

We all just walk.  We all just eat. We all just do our laundry and we all then just sleep.  Of course we laugh with each other at the funny things that happen along The Way but no matter what country we come from:  Germany, Japan, Russia, Hungry, Belgium, South Africa, Netherlands, Austria, Scotland, England, Ireland, Canada, United States, Korea, Denmark…we have all fallen into a similar rhythm.  Some days it seems like we are refugees marching to an unknown location…so separate from the towns we pass by.

Buen Camino!





  1. Robert and Delphine

    April 29, 2013 - 5:01 pm

    DEAR dulcinea: We were so sad to have missed your call on Sunday, but happy to have heard your voice. We were also delighted with your long post from Montes de oca. it is true that the camino forces a certain “ritmo” in your life, but that in turn makes you live in the moment. Was it Hemingway or Mitchner who wrote of the special quality of Spain: the grace of living in the moment. Don’t forget that is half of your genetic make-up. The other half not so much….
    We know the road is hard, on your legs and sometimes your spirit, but pace yourself and take the time to enjoy. Besos y abrazos. Mama

    DQ is happy that you are not alway walking alone. There is still plenty of time for inner contemplation, but a little laughter goes a long way to make the climb easier. He wants to remind you that
    “serendipity”, the finding of valuable or agreeable things not sought for, is part of the quest. Buen camino

  2. Deirdre's

    April 30, 2013 - 2:50 am

    I like your post DQ. Buen camino Alison!

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