After reaching the peak we headed straight down. I'm so glad today was not wet, because the rocks would have made for a treacherous route! It was at this point that the pilgrims we were walking with commented that I go down the mountain like a mountain goat, quick and sure footed (which is in strong opposition to how I go up: like the little engine that could, huffing and puffing and chanting away). I'm always the first one down and the one to follow for a solid path. I'm glad that I am able to contribute something to the other pilgrims to help their walk be less burdened. After the steep decent we wandered through three little towns, one of which had a small cafe that we were obligated to stop at for a cool drink and a bite to eat. Many of our fellow pilgrims were there, including a group of four ladies from England who are always kind and having a good time. After our rest we continued on our way until we arrived at Puenta la Reina. (That would be six hours and twenty seven kilometers.) The Albergue we are at cost only five euro, but there are eight of us all sleeping in a room no bigger than seven feet wide. It doesn't bother us, though, because it is kind of like a crazy sleepover that starts with introductions and dinner and ends with snoring.
Speaking of dinner: we splurged tonight and ate the Pilgrim's Menu Buffet at a local hotel -- cheap bed, pricey bread (though only thirteen euros and all the food and wine we could consume). We joked that we would waddle back to our Albergue and would be spoiled for tomorrow. After dinner we went to church to pray: The Church of the Crucifixtion. We missed the pilgrim mass (which made us sad -- we will ask in the next town to make sure we get there on time) but were happy that the church was not locked. The lights were all off in the old church, but for one euro deposited in the box, the lights would turn on (though there was no warning as to of when the lights would go back off ...). I sat in silence (and then in dark silence) and prayed in thanksgiving for the wonderful adventure I've had thus far and for the love and support I feel all around me. I prayed for my family and friends and for the intentions you all have posted here.
Here are a few pictures from today:
The pilgrims make their way to Santiago.
Usually Vera and I are in our bunks well before lights out and the snoring begins, but with our church detour after dinner, we were the last ones back to the room! My fellow pilgrims are super concerned with my cold now that I have started coughing (you all know the cough: dying moose / perhaps the plague). I feel much better now that my nose isn't stuffy, but that isn't much consolation to those who don't know my cough history. Everyone seems to have a remedy / medicine that they feel they need to give me to help me be well -- I have cough drops from five different countries! I'm sure they want me to be well, but I'm sure they are concerned for their sleep as well (no one wants to sleep in the room with the dying moose!) The point is, I'm feeling better and have the support of many -- the Camino is filled with people who care and want to help. I feel right at home with my Camino family.