Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day 12 - Ventosa - Saturday, 2 May 2009

Navarette -> Ventosa = 3.5K (593.5K to go!)

I walked with R. again today.

We stop for coffee and toast after about 2 hours. While we sip coffee, we confer and make a plan. We decide to stop here for the night to get away from the bad energy of the group of pilgrims we were likely to find ourselves with if we pressed on to Najera or points west. The people we were among the night before seemed toxic somehow.

The albergue in Ventosa is small and is likely to be more pleasant than the large municipal albergue 10K down the road. This is also a holiday weekend in Spain so there are more Spanish pilgrims walking. This makes finding accommodations more challenging. And my knee is still tender. So a lazy day sounds good. (Note: this albergue and village was not included in the guide book I consulted yesterday.)

Ventosa, population 100, is quiet, though birdsong, dog-barking, and the sounds of people doing morning chores fills my ears as I sit writing on the bench in the tiny town plaza. Women are sweeping their stoops, wiping down their windowsills. A happy dog loped over to welcome me with a wagging tail and ears to scratch. Some older men are soaking up the sun across the plaza and a radio is playing in the distance. A tractor is parked here on the main street.

The windows, as in most Spanish towns, are filled with potted Geraniums – lovely splashes of pink and red. Fat little parakeets and cheerful canaries in their cages on the windowsills and terraces sing along with the wild birds.There are cats roaming the streets.

Ventosa, according to the sign in the plaza was once famous for lechedors – people who raised suckling pigs. People came from far and wide to buy them. These days the main crops are cereals and Rioja wine grapes.How I would love to dine on a meal of suckling pig!

The town is so small, there is no permanent store. As I sit in the plaza a large truck pulls in, and parks, horn honking all the while. He opens the side and there is a meat and seafood selection. Customers can enter from the rear door and choose all kinds of fruits and vegetables, foods or cleaning supplies. It is very well stocked. It is fun to chat with the local housewives who stand in line to make their purchases and observe the crazy American woman who is gaping at the ingenious store on wheels.

Later R. and I check into the private albergue. It is very pleasant and the owners are very kind. We sit in the lovely, sun-splashed courtyard and sip wine as we get acquainted with the other pilgrims. There are Germans, French, Irish, Italians, and an 80 year old man from India. We climb the hill and linger over a pilgrim meal in a charming cafĂ© before getting a good night’s sleep.

Judy’s uplifting e-mail  thought for the day:
Mis 51:26-28 (to ")
"...And starting fresh, as from a second birth,
Man in the sunshine of the world's new spring,
Shall walk transparent like some holy thing."

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