Day 16 - Carrion de los Condes

June 12, 2014 - Distance Traveled: 20.5 km -

Today's journey to Carrion de los Condes is just 20.5 km. It is funny how that seems like a short walk now. However, the reports are it is going to be pretty hot, so we still decided to get an early start. Emile, Samantha and I headed out together. Sergio would follow later. He was nursing shin splints. Not long after we departed, the Kiwis passed us. Given their youth, I did not think we would see the on the trail again today.

Eventually, however, we did catch up to the kiwis, finding them sitting on these stairs, eating breakfast. With no signs that we would find an open Cafe any time soon, we join them. We then spent the rest of the day walking towards Carrion de los Condes together. The path followed a river which gave birth to endless squadrons of gnats. Swatting at them did not help. The goal became not to ingest any of them! The river, combined with the heat of the day also gave birth to a great temptation to take a swim. We resisted and instead passed the miles in conversation.

Our backpacks are holding our spots in line at Albergue De Santa Maria. It is known for its Nuns who gather pilgrims in the early evening for a sing-along. While many of us did not speak the same language, they managed to find songs to which we could all lend our voices. It was a bit of a treat to sit around with others and sing praise songs.

After settling into the albergue and going through our normal routine of cleaning up, washing cloths and finding lunch, Emilie and I headed down to the river. We were amazed to find Todd. Two days earlier we were pleasantly surprised to see him in Castrojeriz. I thought it would be the last time we saw him. Now here he was again. He shared wonderful story of how he had once again gotten behind us. We once again tried to talk him into staying, but he was now even further behind than the last time we ran into him and he insisted he need to keep going. I snapped this photo just before he put on his pack and walked out of town. I feel sure this be the last time I see him.

It is funny to think, for days ago these seats would have been filled by Franziskia, Ki, and June Young. Now here sits Rachel, Amy and Helen. Over the past couple of days we have had the opportunity to share many deep conversations, which seem as if they were intended by God. The space created by three of our family walking on, has allowed for the inclusion of new members. I am learning that loss creates space for something new, and that along with the grieving, I must hold expectation for want is to come. This seems like a very significant truth God is inviting me to embrace though the experince of the Camino.

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