[June 25th, 2014, Day 12, from Garin:]
We sent an email to you when we were in Puente la Reina on our rest day. That rest day did us well, and we made good time after to make up for our lost time walking around 20km a day average. We are finally walking enough per day to run into the same people, which is encouraging. We are currently in Ventosa. Today, we passed the 576km to Santiago sign! We have walked over 100 miles now. That makes all our feet and sore muscles feel better.
For Corpus Christi [Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ], we were in the small (pop. 150) town of Villamayor de Monjardìn and they had a Eucharistic procession through the whole town (all like 5 blocks of it). The priest was really passionate with his homily. Becca and Kelsey have been playing the game of “guess the readings/ gospel [because they’re in Spanish]/ discuss the homily”. Some days are better than others, but for the most part, they usually get the general gist. If the priest talks slowly into the mike and the church doesn’t echo too much, they can understand the majority of it. The rest of us non-Spanish speakers are totally lost and have to ask what the readings/ gospel/ homily were after Mass.
Other opportunities for Spanish practice come during desperate ice cream searches and grocery store runs which sometimes, but not always, include funny-looking shopping carts and… store workers or waitresses [confused by] our Spanish. Last night (Day 11), we stayed in a donativo (for those of you who don’t know means that they run completely on donations; it is technically free) albergue that was a parish albergue in Logroño. We got a lunch, bed (obviously), 3 course dinner, breakfast, and smiles, and a warm, loving welcome from everyone. There were 2 Filipino seminarians that were volunteering at the albergue and helping out with everything. While talking to one of them, I volunteered to read the English [prayer] intention at the Mass, about the pilgrims on the Camino, that they may [have] deepened [, discovered, or rediscovered] faith.
The church was beautiful and after Mass, we came back to our albergue to find dinner waiting for us. We ate with all the other pilgrims, the seminarians, pastor, and the hospitaleros [hosts]. The seminarians and priests would serve us the dishes; [it] was nice to see them literally SERVING the people.
[Day 12, Ventosa:]
We are starting to pick up the pace of our days. We get up around 5 a.m. and get walking by 5:30 a.m. at the latest, to get maximum kilometerage done before the day gets hot. We calculated that we need to average 23.1km a day in order to do all that we hope to do (Finnistere and Muxia at the end and Fatima). Tomorrow, we are doing a 30km day to Santo Domingo where we hope to stay at an albergue run by Cistercian nuns. And now, at 8:45 p.m., we sleep… this is late for us to go to bed.
Garin, Kelsey, Jill, Becca, Gail, and Rosa