In Belorado there’s no where to have breakfast, so we chowed down on some terrible fake processed chocolate croissants from a local shop. The Magician, my Brother and I walked out from Belorado together, till we got to the small town called Villafrance Montes de Oca. Pilgrims used to recover after crossing the Oca mountains here. Being a pilgrim back then was very dangerous, with robbers leaving them easily open to attack. On the other hand, pilgrims also used to have a bad reputation. This was because they could be people walking the Camino to escape criminal punishment (i.e. thieves). And they might even be doing the pilgrimage with no way to feed themselves (so they would steal).
We stopped in a café in Villafrance Montes de Oca, spending a long time eating breakfast. Previous to this day, the Magician knew he might have to go back to France at short notice (for potentially a week). Leaving me the choice to keep walking on without him. Or to go back to France with him. People do end up leaving the Camino early, sometimes for personal reasons or health. I felt like I was stuck between a rock and a hard place at this point. I was feeling that inescapable desire to complete the challenge of walking a 1,000 miles. But I didn’t want to be without him. I was open with the Magician about this, but this left him upset. It left him in a position of feeling as though I was as committed into the relationship. Anything mentioning commitment broke me out into a big sweat after my impending divorce… and that wasn’t just from walking all day in the sun. This morning the get of jail free card landed in my lap! The Magician didn’t have to go! Yippee! We all celebrated with shots at 10am (as you do when you’re (ahem…) young).
Although we spent the rest of the day walking together, I spent a chunk of this day walking separately. I’d like to say I was thinking deeply about the meaning of the world, searching my soul about the deep healing wounds. But I was working my way through one of my guilty secrets. The audio books of the Twilight series. Please don’t judge… Well, you can judge, quietly, without saying anything to me!
During the afternoon we all came across a little retreat for Camino walkers along this long dusty yellow wide Camino walk through forest on either side. This was a beautiful piece of Camino magic. People had created wooden painted stools for people to sit on with musical instruments. There were totem style pillars everywhere. It was on one of these totems I left my Camino head scarf. I can’t say why, but it felt like it belonged there. We live in a very consumer orientated environment. And we never really seek to deviate from buying, buying, buying. But this doesn’t make us happier, its just a quick sticky plaster of materialistic enjoyment. My Camino head scarf was the pure definition of this. It was excessively expensive and had the Camino map printed on it. I bought it in a moment of whimsy in Dublin. I wore it for a couple of weeks, and that had been it.
After walking through this forest all afternoon we reached the beautiful village of Agés. We all stayed together in an Albergue and went down the road to a small bar for dinner. The food was one of the best meals I’d had in a while in Spain, with a cosy ambiance. Getting back late (for Camino time) to the Albergue the lights had already been switched off. And when I say late, it was just past 9pm. We had to creep around in the dark getting the disposable sheets onto the plastic mattresses, and clambering on bunk beds. It was extremely hard to not keep laughing loudly in hysterics.