Sunday May 15
When I left Hontanas I expected to walk about 12 k or so but I felt so good I opted to continue. There one special location I wanted at the very least to SEE. I didn’t expect to stay there since space was very limited.
It truly was my lucky day as I approach the unassuming structure I could see pilgrims walking in and quickly coming back out. I wanted to at least see this quite famous Ermita de San Nicholas. My first encounter was with Brother Bruno that I nicknamed “papa Noel”. he stamped my Credential and asked if I was staying. I was surprised to hear that there were two spaces left, mattress on the floor at the front.
I quickly took off my pack and my boots. Papa Noel asked me if I had any blisters since Brother Luigi was known as doctor Luigi. I was advised to first soak my feet in cold water to cool them down.
I then met Brother Luigi who had a corner set up and tended to those needing care. I then sat quietly in the herb garden area and read about the history of the building. The Italian confraternity restored the 13th century ruins to what it is today.
Just before 7:30 we were asked to meet inside where the table was set and we were invited to take part in the “washing of the feet” custom which the brothers did in the same way Jesus did with his disciples. One brother poured water over one of our feet, another dried and kissed it while another recited the benediction for our safe travel.
We all enjoyed a great meal of salad, spaghetti tossed in oil and peppers, wine and some type of cookies – all by candlelight since the only power was generated by a solar panel and was for the smaller building housing the bathroom and showers.
After dinner they set up the extra mattress (4) and we all settled in for the night. It was an amazing way to fall asleep as the candles burned out one after the other
It was quite unreal to be in such a serene location so early in my journey. No doubt this was a very special Camino gift.