A Very Filling Meal

The wind gods took a day off today. Yesterday, the trees waved their arms at me frantically. Today, they just stared as I walked by. I could feel the quiet, so much so that at one point I sat down on a rock on the side of the path, closed my eyes and listened for the silence. Not in prayer or meditation, but deep in thought. I could hear the occasional click-clack of hiking poles as a pilgrim went by and various other sounds that drifted by from afar. I thought about my parents and their parents and my children and their children. And how Paula and I are at this intersection of life through the ages.

These past few days have taken me through some rugged country. The farmers have a very difficult life tilling these rocky soils. The towns seem ghostly in the early mornings. Who lives here, I wonder. A small donativo
I stopped in had skins on the floor as rugs. “Bears?” I asked, because they were quite large. “Javelina” was the reply. The javelina grow big eating corn in the maize fields. During harvest, as they try to escape, the farmers shoot them. Their bellies are full of corn. The young ones make a tasty treat.
A donativo is a place where you pay what you can afford. A donation. Along the Camino, there are three types of accommodations: the donativo, where you pay what you can; the albergues, or hostels, where you find bunk beds to accommodate 6 or 8 or 10 people in a room, but some of which also have individual or double rooms often with a private bath; and then the hotels, which, depending on various factors, can be quite nice.
This is me with Javier, who helps out at the donativo pictures above. This donativo in the countryside actually offered beds, but was mainly set up to serve food and drinks to the passing pilgrims. This one was nice, offering cheese, dried meats, fruits and melons, chocolate, nuts and more, as well as coffee and tea. They even had Yerba mate, as I was advised later by Christian, a pilgrim from Argentina.

Today was a short day, about 4 hours including a few breaks. I actually had a late start today because rain was forecast in the morning; it never came and the sunrise was glorious and it beckoned me on my way. I did run into a bit of rain, but did not need rain gear. The change in footwear helped and I enjoyed wearing sandals. I will wear sandals again tomorrow to Rabanal, and stay at the Stone Boat, which is my sister Katita’s favorite stop on the Camino.

I ran into Francisco, he of the YouTube Camino channel and good deed and he invited me to lunch in Astorga at the Cocido Maragato restaurant. A cocido Maragato is a traditional dish of this region of Leon consisting of a broth with vermicelli noodles, garbanzo beans with boiled cabbage and potatoes and a variety of local sausages and meats, including morcilla, pork belly, chorizo, pigs ear and other tasty treats.

Francisco had also invited one of his Camino partners, Christian, the Argentinian (of German descent who works in Barcelona), and two young ladies he had been walking with for the past few days. They were Erin and Leanne, who Lisa and I met on day 2 or 3 of the Camino and have bumped into ever since. Lisa is a day behind me now after her break in Leon,. I told her if she wants to try the cocido maragato she had better bring four or five friends because this is definitely a community meal. I am still stuffed.
I visited the cathedral after the big lunch and found a chapel dedicated to Santiago. The museum was interesting, but I preferred the Cathedral. It was built in the gothic style upon a Romanesque foundation and has been added to over the centuries with baroque and Renaissance influence.

3 thoughts on “A Very Filling Meal

  1. What a wonderful and meaningful adventure you have embarked upon, Jim, sure to be a life-changing experience. Thank you so much for sharing it with us!


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