The weather was a bone-chilling windy rain so Alexandra and I quickly realized that it would be an excellent rest day since we still both have coughs and my voice comes and goes. We taxied to the more promising town of Sahagun where we had coffee with our Canadian friend and then went in search of rooms.
We found a room at a former convent where the fierce little ladies that run the Albergue have tried their best to recreate the experience of a strict religious boarding school. We were apprised of all the rules, given a tiny room with two bunk beds, barely enough room for our packs and no heat. We were allowed wi-fi only in one tiny room with straight-backed chairs.
I missed walking terribly but I also know my physical limitations so Alexandra and I went in search of warmth and found this delightful tea and cookie shop.
After we went and snuggled in our sleeping bags with every article of clothing we owned on our bodies.
After my nap, I watched through the window a stork soaring around the windy sky and I wished for today’s magical Camino moment when my bunkmate came into say she was off to look at churches. So I invited myself along and we headed to see the Franciscan Monastery that had just recently opened as a museum and wasn’t in the guide books.
The restoration and minimalist addition seamlessly integrated the medieval and modern.
The highlight was the famed Virgin of the Pilgrims. Dressed as a pilgrim, the Virgin had cockles shells in her cape and a water gourd on her staff, which glows in the night to guide weary pilgrims to safety. Baby Jesus also has his own water gourd, a symbol for Saint James, strapped to a belt.
Alabaster windows, Islamic motifs, ancient books, modern art and sunlight mixed together with the ethereal music of Enya, became a mystical moment in time.
My companion and I went back to the reception to pick up our passports and to our great delight were presented with certificates with our names for completing exactly half of the Camino.
The rest of the museum had miniature replicas of all the local churches and monasteries with miniature furniture and lights and thousands of tiny roof tiles topped with miniature storks.
What started as a day of grim weather and waiting, became the usual moment to moment day of delight that is the joy of the Camino.
Pilgrim you have a long way to go to find out who you are………. “Pilgrim” by Enya