Last night there was the usual late afternoon thunderstorm. We watched it in a tiny rural bar where we were served a last Camino meal of tuna and salad. Then this morning we rose and began to walk before dawn, across rolling hill country in a softly breaking light. The countryside was beautiful; soft like the light and rolling to the horizon. It was a modest 25 km to the provincial town of Sahagun where we ended our camino for this year and caught the train to Leon.
I must now take back my assessment of Burgos cathedral. Leon cathedral is a miracle. I didn't even bother trying to photograph it. The makers of pastcards couldn´t capture it, so why should I even try with a little Canon Powershot? It is all light and air and colour trapped in a tracery of stone. It is a gobsmacking, flabbergasting miracle, set in the middle of this elegant charming city. Tomorrow we will go to Barcelona by way of Madrid and from there to Taize, where I hope to pray and think through all this walk has meant. I haven´t communicated a hundedth part of it on this blog..
I wish with all my heart we were not breaking the Camino. When we planned this trip I was still ill and we thought a fortnight was all we should risk on it, but today I was as fit and well and strong as I have been in 30 years. My nice new tramping trousers will have to be given away because they would now go around me twice. Walk another 400 km? Yes please! But I can see some wisdom beyond ours in doing this great task in two bites.
This walk can be thought of in three parts. The first third tries the body. The second third, with it´s long straights and unrelenting heat tries the mind. The third part tests and refines the soul. I think I need just a little more time before I embark on the last third. This trip has been, unexpectedly, a trip back into my Christian heritage. Through Italy, France and Spain we have attended worship in Roman Catholic churches. We have taken mass and attended evening prayer and prayed with other pilgrims who have been, without exception, Catholic: we have been presented with the power and strength of Catholicism. In Switzerland we were presented with the Reformation and with modern Protestantism. I think I need to be in England to reacquaint myself with the Anglican heritage which has nurtured me for the past 40 or so years, and then I need to complete the last 400 km. Until then I will wear the shell because I am still a peregrino: one wandering to a destination and living on the mercy of God. Ultreya!