Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

Camino de Santiago - page 6

A Pilgrim's Progress: Fr. Stephen Sanchez, OCD, on the Camino de Santiago – 2018 - page 6

July 26th

Happy Feast of Sts. Joachim and Ann!!

It seems the Lord wants to detach me from the consolation of sleep. It was a long night...since there is no AC we kept the window open to let-in any small comforting/cooling breeze....the youth of Burgos celebrated their patron all-night long. There would be patches of quiet before the next group came down the street onto their next stopping place. It is 6 am and they are still out in the streets singing, yelling, shouting to each other. In the words of Tenessee Ernie Ford: "God bless their little pea-picking hearts"

I'll be tired today since I've only gotten some snatches of sleep - we didn't turn-in until midnight last night - going over plans and trying to solve the puzzle of too many miles and not enough days.

6:45 am and the sounds of youthful exuberance have been replaced by chirping birds and sounds of early morning cleaning crews.

We decided to take the bus to Castrojeriz and eliminate the 40kms. Problem - there is only one bus that goes there today and it leaves at 5:30pm. We have to check out by noon.

Ron went to the bus station to do our laundry - Peter showered and packed and went off to find a place to read. When Ron got back around 9:30 we went to the main plaza for breakfast.

Ron and I then went to visit the church of San Esteban (St. Stephen) a beautiful museum church, then afterwards went to San Gil. After touring the church we discovered that they would have mass at noon.

We went back to the pilgrim hotel packed everything, checked-out, texted Peter to meet us for mass and headed around the corner for mass at noon.

After mass we had a coffee and afterwards Ron and I go in search of a pilgrim store to see if we can find him toed sock liners - they have prevented me from getting blisters. We go to the brand new Tourist Center off of the San Fernando plaza and we are given instructions to a Pilgrim Store - trusting that the Tourist Center would know these things off we go like babes in the woods. We finally find it - my feet can't believe I'm torturing them again - and it turns out that it is a pilgrim travel agency!

We walk-in and walk-out and head back to the hotel because our other option would be to take a bus to a mall and try our luck there. Not worth the chance.

We get back to the hotel where Peter has been reading. We sit in the warm and stuffy lobby - remember there is no AC. We settle into that lethargy that hot n stuffy rooms bring. Ron takes off to find another info center and walks back in with ice cream bars for us. Yay!

After a while Peter blurts out "I've just had a terrible thought! What if they sell out their tickets and there is no room for us?"

We pick up our packs and wander down to the bus station at 2pm.

We get there and the ticket booth is closed till 5pm - but the bus station is much cooler because of a cross-breeze! Thank you Jesus!
Now we wait.

The bus pulled up a little before 5 and the driver came in and sold the tickets. We left at 5:30 made three short stops and an hour-and-a-half later we were in Castrojeriz. 40kms would have taken us two full days of walking.

We arrived in time for dinner - we were given the usual 'house rules', shown the facilities and after putting our things in order went to dinner - Korean dinner - delicious. BUT I really miss my veggies n salads.

We decided to wash a couple of things by hand and whatever is damp in the morning we will hang on our packs and let the sun dry it on our backs.

We then had another council - trying to figure out where we would land next so that we could send our excess on ahead of us. After many calculations and recalculations we consulted with the host of the albergue. His advice - go back to Burgos (what!?!?!?!?!) and take a bus to Leon. It is the surest way to keep to our schedule and make up for lost time.

It was already past 10pm and were a little confused but decided to take our hosts advice and turn-in for the night.

Our poor Guardian Angels must be besides themselves.

Morning of the 26th
Morning of the 26th
Epistle nave of San Esteban
Epistle nave of San Esteban
Our Lady retablo in San Esteban
Our Lady retablo in San Esteban
Holy Family - San Esteban
Holy Family - San Esteban
Central nave - San Esteban
Central nave - San Esteban
Santiago Matamoros - San Esteban
Santiago Matamoros - San Esteban
Retablo of St. Bartholomew - Church of San Esteban
Retablo of St. Bartholomew - Church of San Esteban
Santa Catalina
Santa Catalina
How many feet have climbed these stairs?
How many feet have climbed these stairs?
12th Century ivory Corpus
12th Century ivory Corpus
Church of San Esteban
Church of San Esteban
Church of San Gil
San Gil Church

July 27th

We slept in a room with 4 bunkbeds - eight people - they were spaced apart enough that you could, with some maneuvering, get in and out without inconveniencing your neighbor. Two girls from S. Korea, an Italian couple, an Italian young woman, plus us 3 'Americanos'.

We got up at 6 am to repack and prepare ourselves for breakfast.

Peter and I went down for breakfast while Ron tended to his blisters first.

After breakfast we decided to pack our damp clothes and dry them in Burgos.

We said our goodbyes and walked on in search of the bus stop that would take us back to Burgos (going backwards on the Camino). As we walked along the road on a very cool morning, we met up with an older woman walking in the same direction and I asked for directions to the bus stop. She declared as only a Spaniard can - "¡Yo lo cogo!" (I'm taking it!) - meaning "Stay with me and I'll take you there!"

We got to the bus stop and several other people were there - a grandmother saying bye to her grandchildren and daughter, a few others traveling to Burgos for business of some sort and ourselves - going backwards on the Camino: "By paths unknown I will lead them." We follow the voice of the Good Shepherd trusting in Him - letting go of our desire for certainty and allowing the journey to be what it is and not what we want it to be or dreamed it would be. We made a few more stops along single-lane country roads picking up more people heading for Burgos.

We got to the Burgos bus station around 9am. We checked on buses to Leon - there weren't buses every hour as our albergue host had said there would be but only two - one at 10:30 am and the other at 5:30 pm. We chose the earlier bus. Ron went to dry our damp clothes, Peter and I took on the task of getting tickets - he in line and I at the kiosk - to see who got the tickets quicker. On the kiosk it showed only about 10 seats left - I decided that God didn't want us to spend another whole day in Burgos - even though you would need a week to take it all in.

I bought the tickets and then helped an older woman work the kiosk - after all I had a full 10 minutes of expertise! After getting her to the point of payment - she only had a 20 Euro bill and the kiosk only took 5's or 10's. She went off to find change - in a long line - I took our tickets to Peter asked him for small bill's for a 20, went and exchanged the bill's with the elderly woman - helped her finish her transaction at the kiosk - after struggling with the kiosk to take the bill it required - and got her her boarding pass. She blessed me for helping her. Maybe that's why we had to come back to Burgos - so that I help this woman and I receive her blessing.

Ron came back with our dried clothes, we decided we had time for a 'café con leche' and a croissant (I've eaten lots of bread on this trip! Albergues stuff you with bread because it is inexpensive).

While we waited for the bus, we booked a room for two nights at the St. Thomas of Canterbury hostel. A private room with three beds for two nights. We begin walking again on Sunday morning.

The bus arrived and we found ourselves with other pilgrims as well. The 10:30 bus to Leon left at 11. The ride was scheduled to last two hours - it lasted almost 4. We stopped at some teeny tiny villages where I thought surely we were going to scrape the sides of the bus against the walls if the buildings.

We got to León bus station at 3pm then we had a 45 min walk ahead of us but since we told the albergue we were going to be there at 1pm, Peter said "We're taking a taxi!" 15 minutes later we were at the albergue at the edge of town. A private room with three baths and bathroom. We dropped off our things and walked 40 min into town. We found the cathedral and tried to make it in time for mass but got lost trying find our way to the side chapel and for there in time for the intercessions. After half-mass we wandered back to the albergue and stopped at a pharmacy to buy toothpaste and other stuff. Afterward we decided to eat dinner because there is no food at the albergue. After dinner on the way home we found a fresh fruit store!!! It was like manna from heaven - except at 4 Euros per pound.

We got home around 9pm with plenty of light left in the sky and decided to sit out for a bit and take in the cool evening breeze.

10pm - head to the room, say our prayers and get ready for bed.

Thank you Jesus.

Castrojeriz cat
Castrojeriz cat
Ancient ruins above Castrojeriz
Ancient ruins above Castrojeriz
Castrojeriz
Castrojeriz
Old walls of Leon
Old walls of Leon
Leon lion
Leon Lion
Alfonso V - King of Leon
Alfonso V - King of Leon
Leon Cathedral
Leon Cathedral
Plaza in front of Leon Cathedral
Plaza in front of Leon Cathedral
Daily mass chapel – Leon cathedral
Daily mass chapel – Leon cathedral