27 August, 2014 - Riego de Ambros
Today was a good day. Hiking uphill is actually not that bad - it's a nice change from so much flat terrain. The downhill portions, however, are not very nice. I think I will be sore tomorrow mostly from the downhill.
This morning I reached the highest point on the whole Camino - El Cruce de Ferro (the Iron Cross). The cross itself is somewhat small and quite humble. It sits atop a huge obelisk which itself sits atop a huge mound of dirt and rocks that pilgrims ceremoniously leave behind.
The idea of pilgrims leaving something at the foot of the cross is to symbolize leaving behind or letting go of things unneeded. I, however, did not leave anything on the pile except my footprints. In fact, I took the opportunity to call Mom and Dad. To me, the Cruce de Ferro is more a way of remembering and honoring what I have left behind rather than learning to leave things behind. I got pretty emotional when it took me a few times to get through to Mom and Dad but it was so amazing to hear their voices again. Especially since it has been almost a year of seeing them every day. I think moving to England after the Camino may be tougher than I thought. I'm not having any second thoughts, I just think I may need to emotionally prepare myself for more homesickness than I've ever felt before.
Now on to the funny thing about today: I am the ONLY pilgrim staying in this albergue tonight! A few pilgrims have come through asking to use the toilet or wait for a taxi to take them to the next town but it is now almost 7pm and I am still the only one here! I am a bit surprised because Molinaseca is still another 6 kilometers away - though I did arrive pretty early this afternoon. I didn't want to walk during the hottest part of the day again so I stopped at around 1pm. Also, I think Acebo, the town just before here s a bit more pilgrim-friendly. Oh well...just another weird Camino experience!
I am now having dinner by myself because I am fairly certain I am still the ONLY pilgrim in this entire town.
I am in the pilgrim bar, Restaurante de Ruta Santiago, and I ordered a sausage cooked in red wine or "chorizo de vino tinto" - I probably just made that up...Anyway, I still need to figure out how to ask for things in Spanish. I don't think any of the locals will be able to help with translations though.
But people-watching the locals should be interesting at least...or my attempts at interacting with them. I think I am going to try to put together an intelligible sentence now - all I want is water and wine!
Spanish phrases to learn:
-May I have red/white wine, please?
-May I have water, please?
-I would like a table, please?
-May I have...(puedo tener...)
Dear God, please bless Mom and Dad and all of my family and friends back home. Keep them safe and healthy and help them know that even though I always seem to be running off, I will always love them. Amen