I’ll start by telling about last night. At 6:30 everyone (about 40 people) assembled to start preparing dinner. I chopped red peppers and tomatoes for the salads.
Once prep was done it was off to mass. About 25 pilgrims went and there were about 15 old Spanish ladies. It was all in Spanish except for one phrase “when you get to Santiago pray for us”. At the end the priest called all of the pilgrims to the front to bless us. He them led us into the back of the church and showed us the churches treasures, an old ivory cross from the Philippians and some huge handwritten parchment books of chants.
We then went to the local bakery where we had to sing for our desert. Each group sang in their language, English sang You are my Sunshine. Desert was then paraded back to the albergue.
We then had a great dinner of salad, lentil soup with chorizo, bread, wine and baked apples then everyone helped clean up.
During dinner I say by a young woman from England, when I asked what part she said you won’t know it, it’s called Leeds. Well imagine her surprise when I was able to talk about places in Leeds.
Afterward they had said there would be a prayer in our sleeping area. I figured I’d sit on my pallet and listen. The head guy came in and motioned people to follow. He opened a door in the room and went in, people followed. Of course I couldn’t be left out. I followed and we went down a short corridor and were in the choir of the church. The church was dark except the huge gold alter in the front, the choir was illuminated in candles. It looked amazing. The leader said a short prayer about the pilgrims before and the pilgrims ahead. Then everyone have each other big bear hugs and said Buen camino. It was pretty cool.
For being on a mat on the floor 9 inches from the person next to me I slept really well. I had a nice breakfast and set off about 7:30. At the end of the village I could see the path winding off.
I walked a ways and stopped for a snack in s small village square. I had 2 small kittens climbing on my stuff hoping for a treat, none was forthcoming.
It was a long walk today and I got into Villafranche about 1:00. As I arrived I saw Martin and Jane who I hadn’t seen in 4 days and several other people I knew. It was like a big reunion. After the cleanup routine I met them downstairs at the pub for beer. We spent the afternoon talking and having beer. At 8:00 we went upstairs and ate food we had in our packs and drank some wine. Around 9:45 I tried to call Kathleen but had trouble with the connection. Suddenly a parade of pilgrims marched by saying they’re locking the doors…bedtime. I followed and sure enough the guy was waiting to close the doors. Oh well 10:00 bedtime.