There is a saying on the Camino: “The Way has a way.”
I left my albergue later than normal, feeling a bit tired after such a long day yesterday. I hadn’t planned to walk that far, but the day was beautiful and when I got to my intended destination, I decided to walk to the next town. Unfortunately, the albergue was closed there, so I had to walk even farther, and before I knew it, I had walked 40 kilometers.
I also hadn’t planned to take a rest day today. But The Way has a way. I stopped after just 2 kilometers this morning to have breakfast in an ecological albergue that a friend had told me about. The old farmhouse was cozy and clearly renovated with an attention to its enviromental footprint.
It was heated via a wood fire under a large metal drum filled with volcanic rock, highly efficient. The ceiling was insulated with cork, held in place with crushed metal cans. Seedlings rested in repurposed wooden crates waiting to be transplanted to the organic garden. As I sat enjoying my piece of apple torta (yes, I ate cake for breakfast), I decided to stay.
I took a walk with Jeff, a volunteer from South Africa who has lived all over the world. He has spent the last month in this tiny little village of 15 people and is hoping to make it his permanent home. He took me up the hill on the other side of the valley, where we enjoyed picturesque views of the town I had come from this morning.
We explored a ruined church that a local tried to buy from the Catholic church in order to renovate it, but was denied.
I enjoyed lunch with Jeff and another volunteer, Kai, as well as the couple who bought and renovated this place four years ago, Marijn and Jessica, who met on their own pilgrimage and decided to open an ecological albergue.
I walked down to the creek and around each of the few buildings still standing in the village.
It was fun to explore at my leisure and without a pack on my back. I sat next to the heater most of the day, gazing out at the sylvan scene through the old leaded glass windows, petting Joanne the cat, chatting, rejuvenating.
The day was restful and peaceful, and I enjoyed every minute of the break.
Today I walked 3 miles.