Walking West – Luck?

Day 16 – Boadillo del Camino to Carrión de los Condes, 19.43 miles

Leaving Boadilla del Camino.
Iglesia San Martín de Frómista
Morning traffic on the Meseta…
Cheesecake and beer!

Today’s walk had the potential to be normal or difficult with no middle ground. The walk itself was a typical day on the Meseta, some minor ups and downs, a few scattered towns, and no shade. The potential for difficulty was based on the availability of beds in Carrión de los Condes. There were a couple of fear-mongers spreading angst at the Albergue En El Camino yesterday. Their claim, based on seemingly solid logic, was that Carrión de los Condes didn’t have enough bed space for all the pilgrims arriving from Boadilla del Camino and Frómista (the normal stage before Carrión). If I had bought into their fearmongering, I could have:

  1. Made it a short day and stopped in the town before, Villalcazar de Sirga.
  2. Race to Carrión de los Condes, beat the rush, and get a bed.
  3. Race to Carrión de los Condes, not beat the rush, and not get a bed.

The difficulty would come if #3 were true…I would have to backtrack to Villalcazar de Sirga to get a bed or worse, continue on beyond Carrión de los Condes another 17 kilometers (no towns in between) to Calzadilla de la Cueza in hopes of a bed, this would be a 41-kilometer day.

The fourth option would be to NOT buy into the hype and just walk by faith (normal pace, enjoy, look AND see, converse with other pilgrims) and deal with Carrión de los Condes when I arrived in Carrión de los Condes. Fresh from my fear lesson in Hornillos del Camino, I chose Option 4.

It was the right choice – a good walk, good talks with my friends, and plenty of beds in Carrión. We chose the Albergue de Peregrinos de la Parroquia de Santa María, operated by nuns and in the center of town. Not only did they have beds, but they also hosted a time of singing and sharing in the garden each evening. They led the international group of pilgrims through Amazing Grace (English version), Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee (German version), and several Camino-based songs in Spanish. The most meaningful part of the gathering was the sharing time. Each of the 42 pilgrims were asked to give their name, country, and the reason they were on pilgrimage. It seems everyone is out here for a reason.

At the end of our time together, the nuns mentioned that they pray for each person staying in the albergue on any given day, but also arise early and pray from the upstairs window as pilgrims depart the shelter. They believe that pilgrimage means something.

I’ll take praying nuns over fearmongers every day.

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