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Day 18, Carrion de los Condes


View Deb's Camino de Santiago de Compostela on Deb Godley's travel map.

12:00 noon and we arrived in Carrion. Luisa and I had a great conversation and walk, stopping twice for 20-30 minutes each time. Still we arrived in good time, although with our stops, Paul and Sam arrived before us despite leaving later.

I loaned Luisa my sandals for the last 6 km so she could test to see if different shoes would help (also because it was painful to see her walk, especially after a break). Happily, it made all the difference and there is a great shop here (miraculously open on the feast day) where Luisa bought new hiking sandals and bought me replacements for all my blister supplies.

The Espiritu Santo albergue is in a sisters' residence (although they said not exactly a convent) and it is really fabulous. All single beds, great showers and washing facilities and a kitchen, and a courtyard with a basketball hoop (not sure if the nuns play?). Very nice and clean for 5€. Bargain. Paul, Sam and Coco have all arrived and are in the same dorm. Later, we'll go to the pilgrim's mass and blessing here at 7, which sounds really nice.

It's 2:30 now and I'm heading out for a cold drink with the others. Coco just arrived and is going to rest a while. There's several groups of elderly men playing various games - cards & dominoes, and we're watching the Olympics in what is clearly the local hang out for the retirees. Synchronized swimming is currently on.

Carrion is a much bigger town with several plazas and lots of shops, most of which were closed for the feast day (Santa Maria). For tomorrow morning, we've found a restaurant that opens at 6, so the others can get a morning coffee before we start. Normally, it would be only a short walk to the nearest next town for the first coffee, but tomorrow the next town is 17 km.

I'm planning to walk in my sandals tomorrow with my new blister stuff on and see how that goes. I can always switch back to the shoes if needed, but the route looks pretty easy and I think it will be a nice change. Luisa will be wearing her newly purchased sandals.

I just attended a mass in Spanish, which included a blessing for the pilgrims. Before the mass, one of the nuns asked if I would bring the pilgrim prayers to the priest during the mass. I think she picked me because I was sitting in the back, I looked like a pilgrim and not a local (mostly because the locals are wearing their church-best dresses, while the pilgrims only have shorts to wear), and the first person she asked said no (I saw). I doubt she was worried about my faith.

So, I was given a basket with some papers and she said she would indicate with a wink to me when it was time. I suggested she would need to point and wave, since I was seated near the back and couldn't see her. She appeared to want someone near the back, so it would be a long walk down the aisle. Anyway, Paul elbowed me when it was time because he's taller and more attentive, and I took the basket of prayers and handed them to the priest. This was during the collection.

The mass included a prayer for the pilgrims, which was the only part in English. Then at the end of the mass, all the pilgrims were called down to the altar. First, the priest said names of countries and we raised our hand for ours. This was followed by group and then individual blessings. After that there was a song and then we were invited into the sacristy to have our credential stamped. It was very nice, even if I didn't understand the Spanish mass.

The pilgrim's credentiel is the document I get stamped at the albergues and churches, museums, etc. as proof that I have walked. If I don't show it with stamps every day I cannot stay in the cheap albergues and won't receive my Compostela at the end when I arrive in Santiago, which is a Latin document attesting that I completed the pilgrimage.

I have to show my passport and my credentiel at every albergue. They also all seem to keep records of where everyone is from. One albergue had a large map with pins, but I didn't think to take a picture. It already had an Ottawa pin. I'm going to have to get a second credentiel in Leon because this one is almost full.

Also earlier today, I lit three candles for our Dads - Martin, Jim & Tim. I chose this church to light the candles because all the other churches had electric candles and it didn't seem the same.

I haven't needed the power monkey (solar charger) yet, although I did top up the charge just to be sure. So far, I've not run out and the albergues have all had plugs, but I understand it is sometimes more difficult, so I won't say wasted until the end, but at the point does appear to be unnecessary. Of course, I started to think the blister stuff was unnecessary and that was wrong, so we'll see.

It's almost time for lights out. I think the nuns are strict about the 10pm lights out. We're planning to get up at 5:30; breakfast at 6 and leave by 6:30. So I better get yo sleep; my alarm is set for 7 hrs, 48 minutes from now (so it said when I set it) but the lights are still on for another 17 minutes.

The nuns came around to the dorms and said Buenos nohes at 10:15, just before the lights out. Great sleep, great albergue!

My bed with all my stuff

My bed with all my stuff

Villalcazar de Sirga

Villalcazar de Sirga

In the retirees bar

In the retirees bar

Lighting a candle

Lighting a candle

Approaching Carrion

Approaching Carrion

Streets of Carrion

Streets of Carrion

Posted by Deb Godley 16:27 Archived in Spain

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