Stage 20 ~ Oviedo to Venta de Escamplero

October 21

Well, forget what I said about aches and not pains. Last night was incredibly uncomfortable. As soon as I tried to go to sleep, my feet started throbbing. It didn’t hurt to touch them, just hurt being there. Not fun at all! I took ibuprofen and don’t know if/when it kicked in, but I did eventually sleep, and for nearly 8 hours, so that was good!

Also, my feet stink. Or my shoes/sandals. Really bad. Like, terrible. As in, when my sandals are hanging off the back of my backpack, I can smell them. Sitting in a chair, wearing the sandals, I can’t cross my legs because it brings my foot that much closer and then I catch a whiff. I can’t do anything about it on the trail, I’m afraid, but I’ll definitely be looking into something sanitizing when I get home. Until then, the shoes and sandals are living outside!

I spent this morning relaxing in Oviedo. Morning prayer and Mass with lots of priests (perhaps monks, as there was a monastery nearby) and a handful of others in a side chapel of the cathedral. Beautiful! And getting there early enough for Mass meant getting to enjoy the cathedral in mostly darkness, as it opened to tourists after Mass had started.

Then I sat at a bar for over an hour uploading posts (but no pictures) and enjoying breakfast. I splurged this morning because a sign outside this bar said coffee, 1 tapas, and fresh orange juice for 2€. Thus far, it’s been around 2 for just coffee and toast, so I was very excited.  It was like getting juice for free! I had a tortilla (Spanish tortillas are egg dishes, typically with potatoes) that also came with bread (the tortilla is thick and solid enough to be eaten with bread as a sandwich. Coffee was good, juice was delicious, and the tortilla was an excellent breakfast.

I didn’t actually get out of town until close to 12. More urban sprawl, but less than yesterday and quite pleasant when not walking into the sun and arriving at rush hour. I did take my time and arrived at the albergue just before 4. So, 9 miles in nearly 4 hours! Plus 1 more mile from the albergue this morning around town and to Mass.

I totally just meandered today, stopping a lot to sit and look or read a bit, too. I am working through “33 Days to Morning Glory” a Marian consecration. I know it is not the typical time to do it, but most estimates say the Camino takes 33 days, so it was suggested I do this. And so far it has worked well. I try to stop to read at some point during the day and reflect while I walk. Some days I have enough time to reading the morning, where other days it doesn’t happen until later. Today I read before Mass. So, I am not really on a strict timeline, but 33 days from October 1st would be Sunday, November 2 – All Soul’s Day. And that sounds like a good day for a consecration, so my goal is to reach Santiago by then, though hopefully on the 1st as that is a holy day of obligation.

I’ve learned (or rather, it has been reinforced) that I quite like doing my own thing and can be quite selfish. For example, I’ve been trying very hard to figure out where I’ll be on the weekends so that I can go to Mass. But that is my choice, so I’m ok with it. I really struggled on Sunday when I came upon the oldest church on the Camino de Norte (a blessing in itself) and was invited to Mass. I’d already fulfilled my obligation by going the night before, and a strong part of me wanted to keep walking because an hour at Mass means an hour longer in the day before reaching the albergue, and this was not part of my plan. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Eventually, I did go to Mass, and, as always, Jesus came and grace abounded. I don’t know why it is so hard sometimes to do the right thing when I know exactly what the right thing is. I’d been complaining about not having lots of opportunities to go to Mass, and yet when presented with one, I had a hard time accepting it. At least it is a fault I am aware of and now I can work on it.

The little things. Accepting and being aware of the little things. It was a point of reflection during the consecration and welcome to read as it is something I have been trying to do while here on Camino.

And it is easier to do here, too. Perhaps because I don’t have much stuff, so I’m grateful for the things I have. Or because am exerting so much energy and getting so hot and sweaty that a shower is amazing. Or, because each day is much like the next, the little treats are so appreciated.  I will have to take this mindset back with me and attempt to keep it in spite of the busyness and distractions of “normal life.”

One of the great blessings of the day happened after a minor panic on my part. I’d arrived in the town with the albergue I was planning to stay at and walked to the restaurant the book said would have the key. And it was closed. Like on vacation until October 31 closed. Not just siesta closed. The only store in town was closed for siesta, however, and siesta was going to last for 2 more hours, so I couldn’t check if they had the key. Decisions, decisions. The next albergue was at least 12 kilometers away and I was d.o.n.e. as I had only planned a short day. I took a deep breath, said a little prayer, and walked on, finding the albergue and walking up the stairs to the door, on the off chance it would be open. It wasn’t, but I could hear music from inside, so I knocked on the door and my Basque friend from earlier (he had passed me on the road) answered! Yay, decision made! He had made it to town before siesta and got the key from the shop before it closed.  Problem solved. We registered at the shop later and then he cooked rice, eggs, and sausages for all of us for dinner. He would have added tomatoes, but there weren’t any, so he put ketchup on everything. Not how I would make it, but warm and tasty anyhow.

Albergue: 4€
Food: 4€

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