Arzua

Yesterday wasn´t a great day. Clemency felt so much better that she decided to walk on, and even to carry a pack. So, we set out early from Palas du Rei and walked slowly out of town intending to stop at the first cafe for breakfast. The trouble was, we moved just a little bit too slowly and by the time we got the requisite 2 km down the road the cafe was overwhelmed by pilgrims and had put out the Sorry Full signs. So we walked on to the next one, which didn´t turn up until around 11:00. All our carefully worked out rules of hydration and nourishment were torpedoed and we paid for it. Clemency, with an amazing show of courage, walked for about 10 km before she had to sit down on a farmer´s stone wall at about 11.30 and ask a passing Spaniard to phone her a taxi. The taxi indicated it would be there at mid day, and we decided she would take the packs in back seat comfort to the next town, Melide, while I walked on.

Clemency was in considerable discomfort, but I was not far behind her. I had shin splints developing and was feeling a little ill, I guess from something I had eaten the day before. I left her sitting on the fence and hobbled slowly on.. It took me another couple of hours to reach the provincial service centre of Melide and find the hotel recommended to Clemency by the taxi driver. It was a nice neat clean little place but our room was on the third floor, and what with this being rural Spain and all, there were no lifts. I went to bed with a fever and some displays of fairly primal vomiting and slept for about 13 hours. Clemency spent a fitful night, unable to lie in one position for long, whiling away the night by watching Spanish cable TV. We woke fairly haggard, and considered the possibility of calling the whole thing off. We decided instead to go on, at least in the meantime. Clemency would take the packs on to Arzua, and I would walk for both of us. Then we would reconsider. We always have a prayer time to start the day, but today's was short and to the point. "Bugger it Lord, how about a slightly more encouraging day today?"

I left Clemency in a cafe and walked into the dark with a painful shin but with the fire in my gut almost gone. I  found myself walking at almost my normal pace and the pain in my shin died down a bit . I fell in with a man about my own age, Stefan, an architect from Belgium and had a very pleasant few km of conversation. By the time the sun rose, I was walking on soft tracks through pleasant farmland. I stopped at a rural bar for orange juice and arrived here in Arzua about midday. The markers which count down the half kilometres to Santiago passed by with pleasing rapidity.


 
Arzua is a gritty town about the size of Ashburton. I entered it along a road lined with 8 storey apartment blocks and found the church where Clemency had been sitting for most of the morning. It was the local parish church, and a roster of people comes to it for an hour or so at a time to pray for the pilgrims. They had made Clemency welcome. A shy young Spanish pilgrim heard her story and returned to the church after half an hour to make her a gift of bread and chocolate. There had been a mass and a service of morning prayer. Candles burned before the Virgin for our children. The mornings prayer had been well and truly answered.
 

A morning's wait in Arzua parish church
We found an albergue near the church. It is housed in an ancient stone building but has obviously been recently refurbished.  It is clean and bright and spacious and it is good to be amongst pilgrims again. We put our clothes through the regulation Galician government washing machine (4 euros for half an hour) and pegged out our now fragrant gear in a little sun trap courtyard. And in two days we will be in Santiago, God willing. And Oh how I have freshly learned the import of those two words.

Comments

Elaine Dent said…
Perhaps if the Camino teaches followers of Jesus a deeper understanding of 1) God's grace, 2) God's-will-be-done 3) healing prayer and 4) how marriage relationships form one's spiritual heart, then it indeed the path of miracles. Thank you for your posts.
Elaine Dent said…
That is..."it is indeed". I'm trying to do this from my cell phone in the mountains....
VenDr said…
Isn´t it great to have the world in your pocket? In the remotest corners of Spain I can check my precise position by GPS, check on the spelling of some obscure word or read an article published yesterday in Venezuela. And converse with American Lutheran pastors on vacation in remote parts of the USA.