On being alone: It is interesting being alone on the Camino. I have observed when I am alone I have no one to complain to or commiserate with. When it is thundering, lightening, and raining it is no use complaining. When it is hot and your feet and shoulders ache, there is no one there to hear you. So instead, you turn to positive thoughts and self encouragement. I did share an expletive with my packa rain gear one rainy day when the zipper would not cooperate. As the day wore on, I felt so bad about expressing anger toward it, as I must say my packa has done me proud. There is no rain gear yet I have seen that holds a candle to mine. I do notice, however, it is a bit hard being alone early in the morning when getting ready for the day. I think it would be nice to have someone with me so we could both “rally the troups”. Being alone also kind of forces you to reach out and meet other people. If I were with a companion, I think I would be less gregarious. Anyway, those are a few thoughts about being alone.
Confession: I booked private rooms all the way through to the end of my Camino last night. There is nothing like coming into town knowing you have a modest but clean and comfortable bed in a clean and comfortable room waiting for you. Loren Boston, I am sorry if I ever gave you a raised eyebrow when you told me you were planning to book every night when you do the Camino – book away! But I must say you should try the communal lodging a couple times. The ones I have stayed in have really been amazing and there are a couple places you have no choice- Orrison and Ronscevalles – and both were good experiences. And Ellen,Tamara, and Cathy I so love your ability to be flexible and spontaneous in your lodging arrangements. The way you are lodging was my original intention, but…
I left Mansila bright and early. The city has remainders of its defensive walls from many years past. I had breakfast about an hour after I started right before Puente de Villarente. Claude and Loraine from Canada were there (I met them two nights ago (day 20) in Bercianos), Nick from England was there (lost his boots on day 14 where I met him in Tardajos and needed to taxi to large town to buy new ones), Rick from Georgia whom I met on day 12 in a bar the morning of the nine hour walking in the rain and hail day, Korean pilgrims I have seen since the beginning, and Jenny from Maine (nursing professor) who I walked into Burgos with on day 13. She had hired a tour company to book all her lodging. I told her this morning I had gone ahead and booked rooms for the remainder of my Camino and we both agreed it is a great feeling. We both also prefer the smaller towns to the larger ones and both feel somewhat out of place navigating in the big cities. So strange how you run into the same people along the Camino.
I decided to walk through Leon, which is a very large city, and make my destination at the next small town, La Virgen del Camino. As I was walking through the Leon town square, I heard someone call my name- it was Tamara from Austria whom I met on day one! We had a bite to eat and chatted a bit. I highly suspect I will see her again in the next day or two along with Ellen and Cathy.