Big Camino, Small World

Day 16

Today dawns bright and sunny again.  The forecast is for about 22-23 C, but walking in the sun will feel a lot hotter.

The hotel was quiet and relaxing.  Late breakfast at 7:30 (their earliest time) and off on the trail.

Today featured boring, soulless landscape along a main road.  There was an option to bypass a portin of the road, but I chose to stay on the shorter route after the long day yesterday.  The destination is Hotel Real Monastario on the outskirts of the town of Carrion, a former monastery converted into a hotel.  The restaurant is very nice (more on that later).

The patch to the shoe didn’t hold up, so I’ve tried silicon caulking but that takes an extra day to dry.  So I bought a pair of Salomon shoes at a Camino store in Carrion.  I’ll haul the old shoes even though that adds bulk and weight.  I’ll then decide what to do.  Worst case, I’ll use a Sherpa service to transport some items from my pack and reduce weight.

Along the trail, I stopped at the Templar Cathedral in Villacazar de Sirga, then had lunch at the bar next to the cathedral.  Met a group of folks (husband, wife, teen daughter from Asheville, NC, and a lawyer/former lawyer from Chicago/DC).  After a few laughs about something related to washing clothes, the lawyer and I looked at each other and said “you look familiar”.  Turns out that he worked on FCC matters for a big DC law firm when my partners and I had our consulting firm in DC… and we did some cellular work on various matters for the FCC. We quite likely had met in the past – or at least one of my partners worked with him.

The hotel and restaurant don’t disappoint.  This is a historic hotel and just stunningly wonderful inside.  The rooms aren’t too fancy but they’re nice and well equipped.  The restaurant excels.  The four folks from the group that I’ve come to be good friends with and hung out with came over and we dined together.  Lots of laugh, trading stories, and opening up about each other.  So far, this may be my best evening on the Camino.

Even though tomorrow is about 30 km for me, I’ll get a late start as there are few stops along the way and breakfast at the hotel starts at 8, meaning a late start no matter what.  It’s worth it though.  It’ll also possibly be slow going as I have new shoes and need to get used to them.  I’m in what’s branded as a “Hostel” tomorrow, though with a private room.  The day after will be very short day.

When I started this journey, I would never have thought that I’d meet on the trail:

A) a now-friend in our close knit group that went to my first ex-wife’s high school and most likely overlapped her time there;

B) a lawyer that worked in the same industry and time as I… with the possibility we worked together or my partners worked with him; and

C) another now-friend in our group of friends that worked & lived in a number of countries and shares some similar world views & also works as a mentor for startups and teaches in the iCorps program in New England.

When asked about why I did the Camino, I had to admit that that had changed a bit as we walked. The most significant reason now is the relationships I’m making with new friends that are sharing the struggles & experience.

Tomorrow: off to Moratinos – I don’t expect to see the other 4 of the “fellowship” again until Leon (but as before, who knows what will happen).  But it’ll give me time to reflect on our fun tonight.