I’ve been walking with the same faces for a while now. Catherine is from Australia but also has a British and an American passport and I call her a hybrid. I guess I have walked with her the most and we have spent most time together after meeting way back in Estella
There are also three great American ladies… Pam, Teresa and Sherry. We meet up together most nights for dinner. I also see Lynn and Jill a couple from the US who call me England whenever they see me. They are always smiling and I always smile when they greet me… and it was Jill’s scarf that I ignored! Then there is Chrissy and Stefan from Canada and two sets of brother-in-laws Vincent and George and Chris and Tom (Tom being one of they few Brits out here). There are loads more but this litte group seems to trundle along at similar speed.
Last night I met Catherine on the edge of town and we booked into the Municipal Albergue, which is a bit on the spartan side but clean and they do your laundry which is always a bonus! More importantly, right next door is a very nice hotel with a bar and restaurant… so we dont need to wander too far for dinner.
As we arrived early we went to explore the town and search for a chemist so I could replenish my stock of Arnica Cream and Ibruprofen Gel. The chemist spoke no english and our spanish just wasnt’ up to the task but (as has happened so often on this walk) he spoke French… so we were able to purchase all we needed and he was very happy to help.
Gill and Lynn arrived as we were leaving and like us, they spoke little spanish, so I was able to get them sorted too… which made me feel a little better about the red scarf!
So after a good nights sleep, I left early as the sun was rising and as I walked towards Carrión de los Condes I made some sad decisions. Catherine and I had planned to walk to Santiago together but she has a tight schedule. As I walked today I decided that I had to slow down which means that sadly Catherine and I will have to part company.
I’ve been counting down the days and giving Gerry our ETA in Santiago but at lunchtime, in the shadow of the very beautiful La iglesia de Santa María la Blanca, in the very small village of Villalcázar de Sirga, I sent him a message to say I was going to slow down and change plans… I sat there with a few more tears rolling down my cheeks as I realised that this was another camino ending.
I met Cat on the edge of town… her smiley face greeting me at the end of a hot long day. We stopped for a drink and I broke the news. It was hard… Catherine is a good soul with the weight of the world on her shoulders. I would have loved to have continued with her but she’s walking 25+km days and I’m a 20-25 kind of girl.
Catherine, Pam, Sherry, Teresa and me met for a pizza and we said our farewells to Catherine last night.
Funny old camino… I’m thinking that I will possibly never see Catherine again… I hope that her camino brings her the peace and clarity she seeks.