Burgos to Hornillos del Camino 20km
Burgos is a wide-streeted, half modern, half ancient city and we felt strangely displaced wandering past shops and offices ( all closed for a fiesta). It made me understand that longing that restless souls have for the open road.
Our eyes would search for changing scenery, for mud- spattered rucksacks, for smiles of Camino solidarity. Like lost souls we found solace in beer and red wine and tortillas.
It was a relief to be back on the path this morning. We are beginning to feel more comfortable in walking boots and rain capes than we would care to admit (especially to our children).
As we left the city behind us we walked with a German/Canadian traveller. He left Germany 14 years ago and has made his life in Edmonton, Canada. He is walking the world, Nepal, Indonesia and now the Camino.
” I don’t buy into all of this Camino spiritual bullshit,” he says. ‘It’s just a path we are walking along. If we were up on that hill we would still be walking through fields in Spain. It’s just walking..”
Beneath our feet the Camino stays silent and the fields on either side of the flat path change from dark to vibrant green.
He tells us about two of his friends from Germany who met in the Camino. ” You know in German this walk is called Jakobsweg,” he says. “These 2 friends, they are married now and have a son . And guess what he is called… Jakob.” He looks away.
” I mean I like children. Jakob’a a cool kid, but I don’t know if I want any. … I’m not getting any younger and I’m not sure about being an older parent.”
“Perhaps you just haven’t met the person you want to have children with yet ,” Ninesh suggests.
“But I think I have , in Indonesia,” says our companion.
” Only it’s a long distance relationship and they never work and her family have all these religious customs and……”
He trails off , out of ideas as to why it can’t work.
I stop and look at him.
“If you spend your life not doing things because you’re worried about what just might possibly go wrong, you will never do anything” I say. ” if it doesn’t work you will be in the same position as you are now. but if you don’t give it a chance, you will never know. Live for the moment. Has the Camino taught you nothing!”
He laughs. “Perhaps you are right. I’ll just go ahead and make a few babies!”
” How did you meet in Indonesia?” I ask.” Perhaps you can name your first child after the walk, like Jakob.”
” in that case our first child will be called Tinder,” he says.
” Well,” says Ninesh philosophically, “at least that’s a gender neutral name.”
We walk on through villages clustered around churches and across hills with rolling fields reaching as far as the eye can see..
The day stretches before us. There is something about walking that seems to regulate time. Hours pass with solid predictability creating a sense of calm and peaceful certainty. . I am not surprised that there are Camino love stories like Jakob’s. If you allow your life to slow down you have time to meet people properly, time to talk, time to fall in love.
We spent this evening with a couple who live in Spain now. He is from Wales and she from Ireland. He is walking the Camino for the fourth time but they met at a walking group for Camino goers.
“It feels as though the Camino brought us together,” she says.
And the hostel we are staying in tonight, Hotel de Sol la Sol, is part of a love story all it’s own.
As we walk through the door Ninesh points at a poster.
It is from the film “The Way, ” . A story of a group of people walking the Camino starring Martin Sheen and directed by his son: Emilio Estevez. The poster is signed by both of them.
“Were they actually here?” I ask the owner, trying to take the “awe-struck,” out of my voice.
He grins as though he has been waiting for us to ask.
“Let me tell you the true story of that film,” he says. ” One day Emilio Estevez and his son Taylor, they come into this hotel. But there is no room and so I send them to stay at the house of my mother. And while they are there Taylor falls in love with my sister. So they stay longer and longer and that is when Emilio he phones his father and tells him he has an idea for a film. It is happened at the house of my mother, the idea for The Way. And one year later Taylor and my sister, they are married.. and I am at the wedding with Emilio and Martin Sheen and Martin Sheen comes up and shakes my hand and knows who I am. They are very nice people. They have been here 3 or 4 times.
“So the film was written because of a Camino love story,’ I say.
The Camino provides, however famous and fortunate you are. – a plot for a film, a love story, a wife.
Hornillos is a beautiful, one-. street, yellow -stoned village. Cool and trendy and as old as the Way, it’s hard not to fall in love with it. We spent the evening in a restaurant filled with music and delicious food and the shared warmth and laughter of Camino travellers.
It is our last dinner on this ancient path for this year. We have one more day of walking left, one more day of stories to share, but tomorrow night we start heading for home.
Already I know it will be hard to leave this ancient modern world we have become part of. It is hard not to feel sad.
But as we step out of the restaurant and onto the road, a rainbow arches across the sky, its colours so close and intense that they seem to make the air shimmer. It’s impossible not to smile at something so naturally and inexplicably beautiful.And in the rainbow tinged half- light, splashing through the muddy puddles, under the arcs of colour, pilgrims are dancing in the rain.