August 24 Monday
We began walking in the dark, hoping to beat the heat.
When the sun began peeking over the flat landscape, it was beautiful,
but we knew the heat would soon follow.
Here on this stretch of the Via de la Plata
is where my second Camino miracle happened
in the shape of a little black and white mutt.
I was carrying the prayers of many friends back home.
One in particular had lost his little dog after many years of companionship.
He believes in reincarnation and wondered
if he might expect his friend to reappear soon and in what form?
I was in the habit of doing my prayers
first thing in the quiet morning as I walked,
and as I prayed that my friend's new companion might show himself,
out of the darkness came this little guy:
At first, not making the connection (it WAS early), I shooed him off.
"Go home! Go on now! You can't follow us!"
He just grinned and licked my hand.
I sighed, and we began our walk again,
with "Santiago the Spirit Dog" following close behind.
He followed me on paved road and up rough passes.
This little dog walked with me up the hot dusty trail into a grove of trees,
where he rested with us while we ate lunch.
He followed me past curious horses and right into Castiblanco.
Santiago the Spirit Dog followed me right up to the door of the albergue.
I know, because as I was walking up the drive,
I turned and said to him,
"I'm so afraid you're going to get lost."
I took two steps, turned back around, and
He was gone!
I never saw him again.
I told my friend this story
and he took it to be a positive message
from his beloved companion.
Castiblanco has a nice albergue.
It is around the other side of the gasoline station
and up a small hill.
The door was unlocked.
There was a sign instructing pilgrims to
go in and make yourself at home.
The hospitalero comes around in the evening
to collect the 5 Euro donation.
On the first floor is a place with internet.
You need to take advantage of it if you find it open because we waited,
and when we went back, it was closed.
Castiblanco is a lovely little town with colorful buildings
and storks roosting high above the roof tops.
We took our showers, washed our clothes
and decided we were very hungry.
Across the street was a nice bar
where we found this smiling lady waiting to cook our meal!
She had a parakeet on her shoulder much of the time,
but hey... when in Spain!
The meal she cooked was excellent. She served us a big bowl of cold gazpacho,
generous helpings of stewed goat (delicious!),
fried potatoes, bread, butter,
beer and water.
The price was 8 Euro each and we left happy and full.
|Joe loves his gazpacho!|
Back at the albergue, I decided it was too hot to sleep indoors.
We dragged our mattresses out on the rooftop patio
and slept under the stars.
|A fellow pilgrim trying to stay cool up on the rooftop|
|We dried our clothes and slept on this roof top.|
It was perfecto!
There's not much I love more than sleeping under the stars
on a warm summer's night.
That was it... another scorching day on the Via de la Plata.
Oh wait.. that's Portuguese!
* * *
See my AnnieWalkersCamino website at
for more information about
Guided Walks on the Camino Santiago
and on other Pilgrimage Trails of Europe