Yesterday morning we left Itero del Castillo without breakfast, as the only bar in town was the one run by the young, hard-working hospitaliera and it didn't open until 9 am., a good hour and a half later than most pilgrims are well on their way for another day of walking the Camino. If this little off-the-beaten-track town has aspirations for becoming a pilgrim stop-over the lack of a breakfast spot will have to be addressed, as we pilgrims need our tostada - toasted baguette - with butter and jam and our coffee or tea to get our walking engines going in the morning.
So we walked from Itero del Castillo back to the Camino then on a couple of kilometers to the next town of Itero de la Vega, where we saw a sign in front of an albergue saying that breakfast was served there. I asked the friendly hospitaliero if it would be any trouble for him to fix s some food. He replied, "Of course not! You're pilgrims!"
So he led us to a lovely little dining room.
...and brought us slices of tortilla with bread, coffee, tea and orange juice,
...which really hit the spot.
Then it was back out onto the hot, gnatty, buggy, endless Meseta,
...to finish up the rest of the 18 k's - about 11 miles - we had left before we reached our planned destination, the town of Fromista.
Now, I am, without a doubt, the slowest pilgrim on the Camino; Tom, by extension, is likewise forced to be the slowest pilgrim on the Camino. Because of this Tom came up with the idea that we should have our own stamp, to stamp the pilgrim passports of all the pilgrims who pass us by, of a turtle with a head coming out of each end of it's shell and each head is trying to go in the opposite direction of the other.
Our two-headed turtleness tends to come out when we're in a town where we're having a hard time finding a bed and roaming around, two bundles of anxiety, wondering where to look next.
Such was the case yesterday afternoon when we entered the town of Fromista.
The first albergue we tried was full. There was one more albergue in town, a municipal, but we couldn't seem to figure out the directions to the place given in the guidebook or the directions given to us by the hospitaliero of the albegue.that was full. We knew that the municipal was behind the church of San Martin. But there were about 15 major churches in this town -well, okay, there were about three - which one was San Martin?
As we wandered what we assumed was the main drag of Fromista looking for the church of San Martin or the municipal albergue, the two-headed turtle popped up.
ME: Why don't we just stay at that hotel over there?
TOM: Let's try to find the albergue first.
ME: What if the albergue's full?
TOM: Well, let's just try it.
ME: I think we should bag the albergue and go to the hotel.
TOM: Well, I don't know where that albergue is. Let's just go back to that hotel.
ME: Wait, we must be getting close to the albergue by now. Let's just walk a little more.
TOM: But what if the albergue's full?
ME: There it is! The church of San Martin! And look! Over there's the albergue!
(Entering the albergue courtyard):
TOM: Look at all those pilgrims! And all that laundry! I think this place is full.
ME: I know this place is full!
(a few minutes later)
HOSPITALIERA: Hay muchas camas! (There are lots of beds!)
And so the turtle pulled both its heads back into its shell and we ended up in a really nice dorm room in this really nice municipal albergue.
And, as we were right behind San Martin we took the opportunity to visit this 11th century church, with its plain stone interior and altar set up as it would have been when people worshiped there over a thousand years ago.
I found this ancient church far more beautiful than the Cathedral of Burgos.
A romantic comedy of errors.
Lots and lots of errors.
"Equal And Opposite Reactions"
by Patti Liszkay
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