We took it easy out of Triacastela. Actually that was Stephen's first time to stay in the dormitory style albergue. It's a private one and cost 9e each and was completely worth the few extra euro. "It was nicer than he thought and fewer people." The municipal ones are much more crowded and he was thankful that the snoring wasn't as pronounced as it could have been.
Because we had such a short day, we took our time and left around 8:30, after breakfast. We had lovely walk up over Sanxil. The last time I did this, I left O Cebreiro and continued towards Sarria instead of breaking it into two days. I was more than a little thankful that the free range chickens and their droppings weren't around, as that made the prior walk messy and difficult.
I found the old vending machine that has a special place in my first Camino storyline. I chatted with Libby of Melbourne and met Jakob and Elias from Austria there. Conrad also of Austria was at the picnic table and saw me but I didn't get to talk with him until the next day. These three young men (who I think of as my Camino nephews) walked the final few days of the journey with me.
The machine however was covered up. So we continued on. We passed Dennis again. I chatted with Phil and Jane from New Zealand; Jane took our photo at the picnic table. They spoke of the wonders of nature and I sensed that the Camino was an opportunity to connect with nature as a couple.
Ran into Wesley again. We spoke more. He's trying to find a home church in Wheaton and discovered that he enjoyed the contemporary liturgical format at the Anglican (not Episcopal) Church "Church of the Transformation". I'm warmed that his spiritual journey has room for liturgy. We also chatted about the prominent Marianism in some of the churches.
I split with him as I got to the albergue an hour before Sarria. I wanted to walk into the facility with Stephen, as it was my favorite place last time and was a filming location for last year's documentary made in the USA.
We got into Sarria and the first thing we noticed was our cab driver from yesterday honking at us - our third interaction with him. What a small world this is!
Next we noticed that an old bridge which I crossed last year was completely taken apart and getting refurbished. I also reconnected with two Dutch brothers whom I shared an albergue room in Belorada with Uli.
We detoured and walked to our private hostal/bed and breakfast. Afterwards, we toured the town, enjoying the river, and grabbing some gelato (a nice complement to the panacotta I had at lunch). I couldn't be more grateful for the quiet contemplative walk by streams all week long and then in this small city.
Saw dozens of children playing in the streets. We ran into Molly and Abbey again. We became Facebook friends, which is a wonderful way to stay in touch with others on pilgrimage. We chatted some with Rob and his daughter Joey again. She has these hilarious tan lines from her walking sticks. All these re-meetings are an important part of the Camino. You learn to appreciate how we are all in this together and are thankful when your separate journey paths intersect once again.
We attended the church service at 7:30 and saw a few pilgrims. After the service, I spoke for a while with Sarah from Switzerland. She saw the Taizé cross I wear and we talked about her love for that form of worship. She was so excited about meeting another Taizé person. She gave me a surprising hug and said thank you for making her day.
At the end of the day, we spoke with Wilma from Holland and Anna and Franz also from Holland. The latter were celebrating their 50th anniversary with a two month Pamplona to Santiago walk. It was only planned a couple months ago. What I found most delightful was their wide eyed love of everyone and everything they are seeing. In fact, they talked about how everything about the trip is a wonderful thank you.
Wow. What a way to close the day. I pondered this into the night, as fireworks were shooting in the distance for some festival. Here they were, from Holland, talking about gratitude. Remember my encounter with Gies, also from Holland? He survived a health scare and now he's miraculously on Camino. And, in his words, every step was a way of saying thank you. ( http://www.letallwhoarethirstycome.com/2016/06/camino-2016-0604-every-step-chance-to.html )
What a blessing! I was already feeling gratitude today but the reminder by these angels couldn't be clearer. There's so much for which to be thankful and we just need to remember how much love is showered upon us. So thank you Lord and thank you my family and friends.
Follow the pilgrimage on Facebook at http://bit.ly/mel-healing-camino