A good long sleep and I feel better for it. I'm going to have another gentle day today. I wake up and realise it's Sunday and I want to go to church. I'm the last to leave the hostel. I walk barefoot with my shadow in front of me along Noja beach, listening to the waves and carrying my pack and boots. A special start to the day.
Breakfast at a cafe on the sea-front; double portion of tortilla, bread, several cups of tea and orange juice. I need to put on some weight; all the straps on my rucksack are now at their tightest. I think sugary drinks might be the answer and more carbohydrates. More beer perhaps.
The church in Noja is adjacent to a very nice town square. It has a statue of St James standing on a scallop shell set into the wall outside and some nice modern steel gates, but it's closed. So I walk out of town and eventually come to the village of Pantaleòn. The church doors are open and I creep in at the back- it has a stunning chancel apse in the shape of a scallop shell. Lovely. The service is in Spanish and the priest has two young servers; boys of about 9 who nonchalantly prop up the altar, ring the bell and enthusiastically shake everyone's hands during the Peace. At the end of the service everyone leaves within a minute- very different to what I'm used to. There was a fellow pilgrim at Mass; a German man and we walk together to the next town: this is his third Camino.
At San Miguel de Meruelo I reach my destination, a nice albergue run by a couple of women and it's very chilled. It's a converted stone barn with a big dining table and smells of patchouli joss sticks and there is a melon placed artistically halfway up the stairs. It's also got 5 women guests! Dutch and American. We all middle aged, travelling alone, sitting round with our iPhones, chilling to ambient music. The German men are outside looking at maps. It's garlic soup and paella for supper at 8pm. Ha Ha. You have to laugh!
I read this this morning:
"More and more I'm convinced that when the great medieval spiritual teachers talked so much about attachment, they were really talking about addiction. We are all attached and addicted in some way. At the very least, we are addicted to our compulsive dualistic patterns of thinking, to our preferred self-image, and to the unworkable programs for happiness we first developed in childhood. In short, each of us is addicted to our way of thinking. This is perfectly obvious once we consider it, but we do not tend to think about the way we think!"
I think there maybe something about long distance walking that dissolves the normal manner of thinking; it becomes a meditative state. Perhaps walking the Camino is a way of loosening some of the hard-wiring? Back to re-solving.
After supper I have a FaceTime call to my family in London; lovely to see their faces.