Wednesday, September 16, 2015


This morning we realized that we were running out of food supplies and we were very low on candles.  The bread van would arrive between 12 and 12h30 with bread, cookies, eggs and milk but everything else was running low and we had no fresh vegetables. One of us would have to walk to the village to buy groceries.  We decided that it should be me as I knew where the supermecado was and spoke better Spanish than Kristine.

The weather was dreadful, flurries of drizzle and strong winds.  I phoned the hotel Jacobus to ask if they had the number of a taxi which I could phone to collect me but they couldn't understand what I wanted.  So, after sharing the sweeping, cleaning, mopping and stewing the sheets, I left at about 1:30 to walk to Castrojeriz.

It was really windy and I could barely keep on the side of the road, my walking stick flying up every now and then.  Castrojeriz is a long town with about 2km of stony alley ways, steps, ramps and stone buildings, wrapped around the base of the hill with a fabulous ruined castle on the top.  It is about 4 km to the eastern side of the town but another 1 - 2 km to walk to the other end.  When I arrived at the supermarkets they were both closed.  I couldn't believe it!  They would only open again at 5 pm.  What to do?  Walk all the way back with no food?  Stay in the village until 5pm and then go back? 

I decided to get a taxi back to the albergue and asked a young lady in the café-bar across the road to call one for me.  Jesus came to the rescue.  I think Jesus is the only taxi driver in Castrojeriz.  When he dropped me at the albergue I asked him if he would come back for me at 5pm,  wait while I shopped and bring me and the shopping back again. 

At 5pm on the dot Jesus came for me and took me to the supermecado.  I bought everything on the list but, no candles.  I tried the smaller supermarket up the hill with no luck. Jesus was waiting so I piled the packets into the car and he took me back. As I finished unpacking the parcels Justi arrived.  I had forgotten about Justi, our go-to man.  The hotel had told him that I needed to do shopping so he had arrived to fetch me!  Oh well, at least I'd had a walk and got to ride in a taxi all afternoon!

The rain had started sheeting down and the albergue was leaking from at least 6 places on the roof.  We had basins and pots under drips in the dormitory and in the living room.  We closed the glass doors into the albergue and I saw a person covered in a large poncho pushing a pram through the big gate at the bottom.  It was a young couple with their 2 year-old child.  They told us later that evening that there were four of them walking - they had lost their other son in July.
Then, just as we settled down to have dinner, a 'Troubadour' walked through the big gate - a middle-aged man with a pony-tail and a guitar over his shoulder.  "Welcome" I said, as I opened the door, "You are just in time for dinner." (We always set an extra place for 'The Visitor')
"Well, isn't that nice.  Fernando didn't tell me about dinner." he said. 
"He didn't call you about the concert?  I've been sent to give you a concert tonight" he said.  "My name is James Kline."
After dinner James Kline - classical guitarist, composer, singer-songwriter, innovator of the 19 string arch harp guitar gave us poor pilgrims a free concert.
We were full that night and had a wonderful dinner and guitar concert in candlelight - using the last of our precious candles.

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