May 16, 2011 Puenta la Reina to Cirauqui

Church door near Cirauqui

Slept until 08:30, then downstairs to have breakfast and meet with Luke and make plans. Went to Farmacia with him, bought his drugs and some white tape for my toes, which had developed blisters. Decided Luke would stay at PLR with Gal and Lila, rest a day, make plans, and then connect via Internet/cell to stay in touch. Recognizing his slower pace and his growing interest in the two young ladies I realized I potentially will not see him until journey’s end at Santiago.

Decided on a short walk today in order to slow down, relax a bit, and enjoy one of my favorite little towns. So I walked only 7.5 km to Cirauqui and am on porch overlooking church as I write this, visiting with Kim and Janie from Arkansas. Very nice day with clear blue sky. Cool breeze. I washed laundry then wandered the town. Found bowl of fish soup at bar feeding about 20 workmen. Good soup with lots of bread to dip. Back to albergue for laundry and conversation, then Mass at the church at 19:00. Energetic and enthusiastic older priest who seemed much loved by the elderly ladies.

Dinner at 19:30. At first I was nervous that there were few English speakers at table. Kim, Janey and me, plus 3 Basques, one Korean, one Hungarian. The Basques were very interested in talking, so I had my first experience as an interpreter. The Basques were curious why I had done so many caminos. Told them I was a priest and a friend of Santo Santiago. The middle one said, “Es claro!” After a great dinner and enthusiastic conversation headed to bed in the same bunk I’d enjoyed 3 years earlier — looking out toward the south, seeing nothing but green hills with vineyards in the distance. Cirauqui was great international experience. Met Americans, Dutch, German, Korean, Spanish, British, Hungarian, French.

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