As we pilgrims marched out of Santo Damingo de la Calzada I was looking up, seeing all the giant stork nests built on top of the village’s light poles. The sun was just starting to come up, and the light was beautiful- soft blues, pinks – and a whisper of orange.
But my fellow trekkers seemed to all be looking down, not basking in the beginning of a new day, rich with possibilities.
As I passed a sunflower field I thought the dried up flowers looked like my fellow Camino walkers; heads down, dutifully waiting to be harvested. You could almost hear them chant, “time to make the donuts.”
We’ve left the rich Rioja vineyards and are making our way into the high plains of Castile Leon – Spain’s largest province and its bread basket. Gone are the lush greens and purples, now we’re seeing field after field of wheat and hay – AND the farmers have done their jobs; the fields look like they’ve all had a buzz cut – #2 razor!
And then there’s the highway! Yep, today’s route follows the national highway into Burgos. It’s a busy road – imagine walking along side I-25 or the NJ Turnpike. Cars, motorcycles, RVs and those damn semi trucks – oops, sorry they’re called lorries here in Europe. The noise was deafening as we plowed along the pilgrim highway only to take brief detours to nameless medieval towns that by now are all starting to look alike, and they’re all propped atop more fucking hills.
So fuck it-I’ll create my own magic!
I plugged into my iPhone and let my music take me away… and boy did it.
I rocked out whether there were people in front, behind or beside me… and the music took me away from this Spanish highway to memories that fill my heart.
There was Saint Motel blasting their not very Christian but oh so damn good, “Born Again” and their anthem “Move” that got me to move. It reminded me of this summer’s concert I went to with my daughter, and I can still see the sheer joy on her face as we inched our way closer and closer to the stage.
As Joe Cocker belted out “Delta Lady,” it reminded me of my sisters and the concert we went to at Red Rocks. We got plastered, sang, and danced … and we cried – you know – that ugly face cry, cuz that’s what we do… we drink, play, cry and save “I love yous” like ALL THE TIME! But seriously, can you ever tell those you love you love them too often?
I’m sure the truck drivers called me in to dispatch as they roared by as I was doing great majorette moves with my hiking poles to Joe Cocker’s “Cry Me a River.” I bet the drivers were like, “Uhhhhh, we’ve got a special needs case on Route 120, please send the mini bus.”
I tried a little salsa as Ricky Martin sang “Pegate” and “Vente Pa’ Ca,” and all I could think of was my other daughter who loves to dance and can shake her hips better than Shakira. And those hips don’t lie.
But as Belorado came into focus I cranked up U2 and cried without any inhibitions as Edge began his riff and then Bono began singing, “Where the Streets Have No Name.” It’s been years since I’ve been this happy and felt so close to those I love even though I’m thousands of miles away. I know I was making that ugly cry face but as Icona Pop would sing , “I don’t care, I love it!”
On one of the many hills I climbed today, in the middle of a farm field, stood a lone tree completely out of place… just like me. My fellow pilgrims may have felt like dried up sunflowers, but I was that tree/fool on the hill.
Devout pilgrims love to say, “The Camino provides,” maybe so, but today I wasn’t taking any chances – I provided my own fun, my own memories, and my own Way!
Here are my stats
14.5 Miles Marched Today
(Santo Damingo de la Calzada – Belorado)
141.9 Miles Traveled So Far
363.9 Miles Left To Go
505.8 Total Miles to walk from St Jean Pied de Port, France to Santiago, Spain
Tomorrow: Rest Day in Burgos!