Saturday, July 13, 2013

Day 20 - slept in Calzadilla de Hermanillos - July 17

Up at 8am, out of the pension by 9am, I had a breakfast of tea and oranges and bread in the lobby. The friendly owners wished me a "Buen Camino" and off I went. I promptly abandoned my broken sunglasses near one of the signs, and buried what was left of my scallop shell (abandoned items 24-25). It was tricky finding the arrows out of town and even trickier finding the "upper road." Everyone had mentioned that when you leave Sahagun, "be sure to take the upper road," whatever that meant.

I followed a group out for awhile and none of us were sure if we were heading the right way. It was here I met Alan and Karen from Switzerland and John and Mary from Ireland. We eventually parted, Alan and Karen going one way and John and Mary and myself going another. They had a quick pace so I wished them a "Buen Camino" and for the first time during the whole trip, I put my earbuds in and turned my music on. I had been humming tunes from Les Miserables to the beat of my feet for many days now so I decided I could use a little musical sustenance and I listened to the entire musical.

By the time I got to Calzadillo de Hermanillos, a mere 5 kilometers later, it was getting very hot outside and so, when I came across a darling casa rurale on the far end of town I decided to call it a day. A friendly but overly flirty and somewhat crazy guy welcomed me and ushered me in. It was a little over my price range and I was about to leave when a woman came out who spoke English and showed me my room. The place was beautiful and she said the pilgrim menu would be delicious and homemade so I decided to stay. She stamped my passport and gave me my key, up the stairs I went and into a lovely large room with a magnificent view and a equally large, generous bathroom with a bathtub. Yay! I took a delightful bath and headed down for my pilgrim lunch.


I was the only one in the large, lovely dining hall and it was dark and peaceful. The man saw me there and got all excited that I was having lunch and started singing something as he skipped into the kitchen. The woman came over and on an impulse I said to her "Is that Cesar?" And she said "Yes, he's my husband, he's a little crazy but he's fun." Turns out, this is the casa rurale where Shirley MacLaine stayed and wrote about in her book. I was thrilled! According to Shirley, I was just at the end of civilization before the real Meseta began. I proceeded to enjoy it all and eat the best meals of my trip so far, a wonderful Russian potato salad and a light, white flaky fish with fresh white asparagus, and of course all the bread and wine I could drink. I listened to Cesar singing in the kitchen and thought how happy I am to be here. The meal was indeed excellent and the experience one of a kind. I finished and headed up to my room to enjoy the view, do some yoga, and take my second siesta of the trip. It was so relaxing, I loved it, I needed it.

After my siesta, I rallied again and went back down for my pilgrim dinner. This time I ordered the mixed salad with tuna and the pork with potatoes au gratin. Cesar was the chef and it was excellent again. I ate so much that I was the fullest I'd been to date. After a walk around the casa rurale admiring the old photographs of his family and the articles of clothing their ancestors had once worn, I said good night and headed up to bed. He asked me if later on he could come knocking on my door, wink wink. It totally took me by surprise. "NO" I said, as if admonishing a child. OK, he was sorry. I was a little put off but once I locked my door, I felt totally fine again.

"It should be the effort of each to ease and enrich the life of the other. In this way each is safe. Each feels that he is worthwhile; each feels that he is needed." 
- Alfred Adler