Well, to be very exact, it was a glorious day from Presedo to a town near Bruma called Meson do Vento, where we are staying tonight. The taxi from our hotel dropped us this morning at the Presedo albergue, so we could resume the Camino from the exact point we left it for a hotel with working heat.
I call this day glorious because we saw the best of nature and of man— we met with beautiful weather (it may have drizzled a total of 2 teaspoons in the first 5 minutes of walking, followed by sunshine and light clouds all day), a challenging but very enjoyable walk up and up and up (500 meters) and most importantly many very kindly people along the way.
Our day was so fulfilling, both in the walk, the toil, and the camaraderie of our little group, we all agreed that we felt the action of Our Lady and St. James, and the buoyant effect of the prayers we know others are offering on our behalf.
Three personal encounters while journeying today stand out as examples of Christian charity the the beauty of the Camino.
We intended to get an early start, but this stage was very rural, with no place for food for 5 hours. So we prayed a rosary and waited until a restaurant called Museum of the Camino opened at nine. The proprietress showed up five minutes late, just before we tightened our belts to hike. She welcomed us very cordially and left off her usual opening routine to cater to us. We had cafe con leche and some orange cake, but the kitchen did not open until lunchtime. However she went back without our asking and prepared the most amazing tortilla francesa con queso you can imagine and placed it before us with the usual terrific Spanish bread. She gave us sellos from the museum and nearby Church and sent us on our way, ready to climb.
Before we left the hotel, the Spanish pilgrims we met on the way to Betanzos we’re leaving at the same time from our hotel. They had walked on to Meson do Vento yesterday—and after taxiing back to the Camino we would finish here today, putting us a day behind them. After a pleasant conversation among all of us pilgrims, parents, and grandparents, they gave us gifts. They are these wonderfully light and packable mementos of Our Lady of the Pillar of Zaragoza, their hometown.
Sorry, I’ll have to finish this post later. I fell asleep before I could finish it last night.
We are getting ready for the day. If you read this please pray for us to endure this weather, or maybe to improve it? :-). It is raining hard, forecast is for full rain all day with thunderstorms in the afternoon. And the wind is howling. Praying that dies down as we hit lower elevations.
Pics to be possibly elaborated on later:
Update: I have to be brief but I wanted to tell you about the third personal connection of that day. Just before Presedo we stopped for café at Bar Avelina, run by two lovely sisters (Avelina is on the right side of the above photo and María del Carmen near the left). Their grandfather started it and they were proud to tell us it had been in business for more than 100 years. They were so kind and helpful, gave us holy cards of Our Lady of the Rosary, and let us snap the group photo. We donated a few euros to the chapel of Our Lady over which they managed the upkeep. They asked us to give them our names and they would pray for us. We assured them of our prayers.
The best part is when we told them we were from St. Louis and attend the Traditional Latin Mass at the Oratory, they had a look of amazement— and longing, you could tell from their reaction that they would have loved to have it there— and told all the locals about our Mass IN LATIN!
A neat moment. And someday, Avelina…