Camino de Santiago – Day 18 – Heart

Carrión de los Condes to Moratinos

For more pics from Day 18…

The featured image for today poses a pretty good question for any thoughtful human at any time…it is especially good for a pilgrim walking the Meseta.

My heart was good today – from the physical perspective, I am in as good shape as I’ve been in a long time. From the heart “as the seat of human emotions” perspective, equally good. I am enjoying all the pilgrim life has to offer – the simplicity, the rhythm, the solitude, the new friends, and even the hardship.

WP_20170620_00_48_43_ProI left Carrión de los Condes at 6:00am, energized by my good night’s sleep in the private room. The guy from Utah that I met the evening before was passing by as I left the Hostal Albe. It soon became apparent that we had different agendas and methods. He was allowing Siri to guide each and every step, and once his muscles warmed up, he picked up the pace to a near jog. He said he had to finish in ten days. I’m a fast and strong walker but was no match for this guy. Alone again.

A small portion of the morning’s long stretch…

Normally on the Camino, there are towns every 4 or 5 kilometers. This morning’s walk started with a 17.3km stretch between Carrión and the next little town, Calzadilla de la Cueza. It was a good thing that I stocked up on food at the market yesterday afternoon.

A few days ago, I spoke with a friend who had finished the Camino in the spring. He strongly encouraged me to start staying “off stage” in the little towns just before or just after the prescribed daily stop.

Hot and tired, I arrived at the scheduled stop for the day, Terradillos de los Templarios. The Camino took me around the town to the western edge. In order to get to the albergue and restaurants, I needed to backtrack and climb a hill up into town. This, along with the advice from my friend, gave me the motivation to keep on walking. The next little town, Moratinos, was only 3.2km away and there was another little town just beyond that.

I refilled my water bottles at the fuente, re-applied sunscreen to my neck, and then headed west.

It wasn’t long before I made it to Moratinos, and it was another “road less taken” win!

This little town boasts a population of 18 people, has a couple of albergues and one little restaurant. I chose the first albergue that I came to and was pleased to find a friend from the early days of the Camino already checked in.

After my ritual nap, I strolled into town to find something to eat. I haven’t mentioned this before, but this was a bit of a problem for me. Most Spaniards don’t eat the evening meal until 8:30 or 9:00. As such, most of the restaurants/bars don’t really crank up their activities until 7:30 or so. This is way too late for me, opting for the 5:30 or 6:00pm evening meal. Most places are gracious enough to accommodate, but I almost always ate alone.

This evening I ate a delicious pizza at the Bodega El Castillo de Moratinos while the rest of the town played dominos on the other side of the restaurant and waited for the evening meal to come around.

After my early evening meal, I strolled back to the albergue and spent the rest of the evening on the upstairs deck drinking Rioja, talking with my friend and enjoying the cool evening breezes on the Meseta.

WP_20170620_07_07_52_ProOften along the Way, the pilgrim will see a memorial honoring a pilgrim that died on the Camino. My first thought was always, “What a great way to die!” My second thought was the reminder that we are all headed this Way, which leads to these relevant questions:

How is your heart today?

If it’s not good, what are you doing about it?

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