Annamaria and I were the last to eat and leave this morning. She and I met while hanging laundry. She's from the Hungarian part of Romania and now is a professor of mathematics and sociology in Budapest.
I left Atapuerca alone, though I chatted briefly with an older couple from Las Vegas. It was brief. So much of what he said seemed negative. I don't care for this and don't like that. It's honest but at the same time it feels as though you're not receptive to other ways of doing things and are stuck in one way only.
I found and walked a large labyrinth atop the crest separating Atapuerca from Burgos. What a way to feel a journey made together yet alone.
I chatted some more with Micheale and Flavia as I passed them into the first village. Their Camino ends in Burgos so we said our goodbyes. Camino isn't about an exact starting or ending point. It's the whole journey, short or long. The path to the cross was very short, but the pain was real and deadly. On the other hand, some of us journey for years without knowing where we are and where we are going.
After a while I fell in step with Annamaria. I'll describe a scene with her after some more chronicling of the day. I dropped her off at the parochial albergue, as she enjoys staying with the church pilgrims.
I walked through Burgos, noting that I wandered off the arrows, as I've come to know this city in two prior visits. It might be my favorite city on the Camino. I checked into my hotel, washed clothing, sat in my room's bath tub (first one I've had in a month), and let the jacuzzi waters bubble around my aching feet. The blisters don't want to stop it seems, but I'm mentally not affected any more. It's just attending to them as needed.
I walked around town some to grab lunch, ordering a few Pinchos (appetizer size dish) and laughing as I accidentally ordered anchovie and cheese. Oh well, with two glasses of wine and three Pinchos coming to 7 euro, I was in a great mood. I bought a few snacks and went back to the hotel to rest.
Then I went to Rosario (getting easier and easier to say in Spanish), then mass, then walked the 3 km to the Decathlon sporting goods. My water camel broke last week and it's just too frustrating drinking out of plastic bottles. I also bought socks that are supposed to deter blisters. And I got a new quick dry Tshirt for 2.99, as I lost my new labyrinth Tshirt last week.
Now my feet truly ached. I stopped when I saw a restaurant with comforting food. The Chinese menu was in Spanish but it felt comforting to eat food that had rice and noodles.
After I got to my room, I realized that my 30km day (21 plus 9 around town) made my blisters return. I must not walk this much tomorrow on my rest day.
So, back to the enchanting Annamaria.
She's just so friendly. And she shared some of her thoughts. She's quite spiritual and not religious, uninterested in the formalities of organized religion. She does yoga on her walking breaks and afterwards. She cleanses herself and her feet in streams whenever she encounters them. She's interested in my health and well being. She thinks that when good things arise out of bad, it's a sure sign that we are being guided. I pointed out that if I hadn't gotten so muddy and mad, I wouldn't have had to do my laundry so soon and I wouldn't have met her.
She has learned six tongues and wants to talk in your language so that she can feel your heart beat.
We passed Antonio of Portugal and Mark from Wyoming (who attended mass with me in Nájera). And then we frolicked in the Burgos River. Well, she frolicked. I froze immediately and just laughed and stayed at the shoreside. She waded into the waters and gave me a wonderful memory of healing laughter.
And then, as she dried in the sun, she asked me for some of the Lourdes water.
I did not expect this.
I poured some out into our hands, and at her request, anointed her and gave her a blessing. I rubbed the water into her hands and thought that she, the one who heals with live and laughter, asked for the waters that heal herself.
I felt like John the Baptist.
Follow the pilgrimage on Facebook at http://bit.ly/mel-healing-camino