20th September, 2019
- Day 13: Boo de Piélagos to Santillana del Mar
- Distance: 23km
- Weather: Sunny and hot
- Accommodation: Albergue El Convento, €14 incl breakfast
I think the early mornings are taking their toll. And my earplugs appear to be broken or is the snoring getting louder? Coffee. Must. Have.
Breakfast is another feast, in fact if there’s a breakfast competition, Albergue Piedad wins. Fresh cakes, all kinds of seeded breads, homemade jams, cereal, non-dairy milk, fruit, juice, coffee and an assortment of tea. Wow!
Until recently, after leaving this albergue, pilgrims had to walk along train tracks over a bridge. It’s now illegal and the recommendation is to take the train one stop from Boo de Piélagos to Mogro (a two-minute journey). I take the 7.17am train then follow a pipeline for a long time. When I attempt to take a break and sit on it (it’s the pipeline or the gravel road), I find myself jumping straight back up. It’s boiling hot!
I walk with a Frenchman briefly, whom I met at dinner last night. He points to my ankle brace and asks, “Do you have trouble making decisions?
To which I reply, “Yes, it’s quite a problem of mine.”
He says, “Just make a decision. Whether it’s wrong or right, it will set you on the right course and free you.”
“Ok, how about my left knee?” I ask, pointing at my knee brace.
“Do you have a problem with a person?” He asks.
Without even thinking, I reply, “Yes, with my mum. We haven’t spoken in years and it upsets me.”
“Aha,” he says. “Your left knee is your mama and your right, your papa.”
And with these bombshells, he says goodbye and speeds up.
I barely take any photos today. That is, until I arrive in the charming cobbled and ancient town of Santillana del Mar! Wow, this place is incredible! I’ve had a bit of a dodgy tummy (I suspect it was some tapas I had during my first cafe break) and have basically been on a tour of bathrooms, so I decide to stay. I check into Albergue El Convento and an elderly Spanish volunteer shows me the facilities before delivering me to a one-bunk room. As yet, I don’t have a roomie.
I’m eager to get out exploring. Luckily the town is small and full of restaurants so I won’t ever be too far from the toilet 😉
According to Wikipedia, “There is an old saying that Santillana del Mar is The Town of Three Lies, since it is neither a Saint (Santo), nor flat (llana), nor is it by the sea (Mar) as implied by its name. However, the name actually derives from Santa Juliana (or Santa Illana) whose remains are kept in the Colegiata, a Romanesque church and former Benedictine monastery.”
After some exploring, I pass this restaurant in a side street and can’t resist the smell of seafood. It’s a lovely meal, I won’t mention how quick it leaves my system…
I go back to the albergue for the 7pm welcome meeting with Sister Anne. There’s about 10 of us and we sit in a circle. Anne asks us to go around the circle and introduce ourselves and explain what the Camino means to us so far. The man beside me introduces himself and opens up as to why he’s walking the Camino. He’s had a very difficult year. I’m hit with emotion again and when it comes to my turn, I can’t talk. They skip me and I try hard to compose myself. ‘Where is all this emotion coming from?’ I wonder. They come back to me, and struggling, I try to answer as best I can. “I believe the Camino brings you the people you need…” is all I can get out before I’m again overcome with emotion. Maybe I’m just overtired. We take turns reading aloud a pilgrim prayer and singing, first in English, then Spanish. Sister Anne has the voice of an angel. It’s a beautiful, spiritual experience.
The meeting finishes and I quickly retreat to my room. I lie on the bottom bunk and can’t stop crying. I have no idea where this is from and I don’t even know if I’m sad/happy/confused or what? At this precise moment, Sam, a young girl from Germany walks in. We’ve never met, but she’s my roomie and through tears, I try to explain that I’m just as confused as she is why I’m crying! Oh Camino, you’re full of surprises…