We returned to our lunch retreat and had ‘the pilgrim’s menu’ with our Canadian, Kiwi/Welsh and three Dutch friends and met a lovely English couple from East London. A tasty dinner with lovely people in an exquisite environment (a large closed in paved courtyard with a fountain) and delightful hosts made for a late night – 10.00pm. Late because the doors are locked in our Albergue at 10.00, and a quick sprint seemed a ludicrous way to end a 25kms walk. To get to our private room we had to find our way through a dark 30 bed dormitory (about 10 occupied), so out of respect for these weary souls we had to follow the rules. We slept with the open window looking out on to a clear sky with the ‘north star and friends’ bidding us “Buenos Noches “. Breakfast was ready at 6.00am, a ready made excuse to get Corrie going early, so we left with the same rules of not disturbing others but this time a real test – 2 heavy cases and stairs

The street lights saw us out again because the moon is still away and the north star is not bright enough, and the milky way has other jobs to do. We left for the first time with others so a different experience replaced the bird sounds for a little while, the sun as always (oblivious to all of this) just comes up. We walk at a reasonable pace with little weight and renovated (not for Corrie) feet, through ploughed and newly harvested fields, the birds still encouraging our efforts to arrive at Hospital de Orbigo (a reference to hospitals for pilgrims in medieval times). To get shelter we crossed one of the longest and best preserved thirteenth century medieval bridges in Spain

A sonnet

In the early morning light

Dark figures limp and sway and stop

Like soldiers returning from the fight

All spent, no will and ready to drop

These silent figures can’t hurt any more

One million steps, many more to go

Why wound yourself to the very core

What’s to prove and what’s to show

One figure might say “it’s a battle of the mind”

Another: “the body can do what it’s told”

Whispers one: “it’s spiritual, I’ll see what I can find”

“It’ll be my masterpiece before I’m too old”

When the ashes are spread, satisfying to have known

You took chances in life, the reward is “you’ve grown”


Pilgrims in the dawn light



Pilgrims in the morning light




The bridge