The bus was at 11.51 so at 11.30 I strolled down to the bus stop outside the cafe bar. I sat with Grace from Texas and who should come along but Patty and Sharon from Portland. When you reconnect with people who you've met further back on the trail, you are like long lost relatives! (Fr Jeffrey, if you read this post Patty sends her love).
A German pilgrim came out of the bar in a state. She was due to fly home from Leon and had been told the bus was fully booked. I went into the bar and asked to buy a ticket to Terradillos. "No, es completo" answered the bar man. They did not sell tickets on the bus so all tickets had to be pre-booked. We had found the same thing in Italy but so far in Spain this had not been the case. I told Grace I would have to take a taxi again today and an Italian pilgrim with a sore leg asked if he could share the taxi to Terradillos. I went back to the barman and bought a ticket for the bus from Terradillos
So, at 12pm Alberto and I shared a taxi (€30) to Terradillos. When I checked in I recognised the woman at the desk and told her that I had stayed here in 2007. The albergue was new then and she hadn't seen pilgrims from South Africa. We gave her one of the wire Santiago crosses I'd had made by a wire worker outside the Post Office. She pointed to the noticeboard behind her and there was the little cross, still hanging there
Kathy arrived at about 1.30 so I phoned Rebekah and arranged for her to pick us up after 2pm.
When Reb arrived I felt a bit star-struck! I had seen her name on the Forums since Santiagobis days and subsequentky had followed her blog since she and Paddy moved to Moratinos. She gas written books, numerous articles on the Camino and is considered an authority on the Camino.
In 2008 Reb compiled an online Hospitaleros training course which I did as a pilot training exercise. It wasn't accepted by HOSVOL (Hospitaleros Voluntarios) but on the strength of that, I was accepted to serve in an albergue in 2009. When I returned to South Africa, I became a Hosvol trainer and many South African trained volunteers have served in albergues in Spain.
Reb took us to a restaurant in Moratinos where we confused the owner with Kathy being allergic to fish and me being a vegetarian and not drinking wine. I'm sure he felt sorry for Reb with her high maintenance friends.
Reb told us that she had two South African ladies staying the night and we were thrilled to find Sharon and Lin there. We ended up sitting around the table chatting until almost 7pm.
Reb drove us back to the albergue stopping at the memorial tree she planted for Philip, the "Methodist Pilgrim" from the forum who died in May last year.