|The Spanish Mesa - Lessons of simplicity in sameness|
Mental Lessons of the MesaThe Way of Saint James is a very personal journey and for me I intended to learn and re-learn life lessons of spirit, mind and body. It dawned on me that the Mesa was rich with the opportunity for mental growth. Today would offer a unique opportunity for such as I started with the longest distance between villages; 17 km / 11 mi to Calzadilla de la Cueza. The typical distance between villages / pueblos was a touch under 5 km / 3.1 mi. or an hour or so of hiking.
|Today I had a Destination - NYE at The Peaceable|
Is It Always the Journey?
A common theme of the Camino or any adventure is that "It is the Journey, not the Destination that is most important." Each day before I started my Camino trek, I prayed the same prayer and intended to focus on the journey each day not the distance to Santiago or my nightly destination. The intent was to live entirely in the present. Today was a bit of a challenge in that regard as I very much had a destination carved in stone.
Before I left, I was issued a hearty invitation to stop off at The Peaceable Kingdom from dare I say a bit of a Camino legend, Rebekah Scott.
Rebekah Scott, an erstwhile USA newspaper journalist, pulled up stakes in June 2006 and moved with Paddy, her wise-ass English husband to The Peaceable Kingdom, a farmhouse in Moratinos, a rural pueblo in Palencia, Spain.
I felt an immediate kinship with Rebekah and Paddy before I ever met them in person. They had a wanderlust. They lived in several foreign countries. They loved dogs. They offered good food and wine. This was where I would celebrate NYE.
|Shelter from the Wind|
Back to the Mental Lessons of This NYE Day
New Year's Eve (NYE) can be a day of reflection of what has happened to you in the recent past and where you want to go in the future. That reflection is enhanced when you are walking 7 hours on the Camino especially over The Mesa. The 3 things that come to mind along this stretch is Flat, Treeless and perhaps even Monotonous. However, viewed from a different lens the very sameness and desolation here is impressive when you are able to remain in the present while reflecting on your recent past and where you want to go in the future. Remaining in the present allows you to give thanks and praise for all your blessings and trust that the Camino (eg Life, Universe, God) will provide. You will be alright.
The lesson therein is to remain in the present while reflecting but without unnecessary dwelling on past events that cannot be changed or worrying about future events that you cannot control. The present is all you have.
|Moratinos Plaza Mayor and small Church of Santo Tomas|
I found my way to The Peaceable Kingdom and was welcomed by Paddy and his K9 concierge crew. Rebekah had gone to the USA so it would just be the two of us sharing food, excellent conversation, eclectic music and a fair amount of wine.
|The Village Bodega (Wine Cellar) dating from Medieval times|
|Oak barrels inside the Village Bodega|
This was very old and I thought of all that had entered to break bread and share wine before me. We grabbed a few dusty bottles of what would be spectacular wine that would be shared by a warm fire with excellent conversation about life, travel, the Camino, world problems, our NFL teams and other such stuff over some great classical and classic music.
|Me and Paddy on NYE|
NYE Celebration Pueblo Style
Paddy decided to take me to a local albergue run by a German couple for an authentic German dinner accompanied by more Spanish wine of course. Besides the Bavarian cuisine, we also watched a large and festive concert celebration from Berlin via TV. I thought about my next adventure; running the 40th Berlin Marathon in September 2013.
Thanks to Daniel and Martina for a wonderful dinner and evening at their nice and newly opened albergue Hostal Moratinos that is also open all-year.
Paddy adjourned back to the Peaceable at a respectable hour leaving me to wander through the village on my own. I did so with a bottle of champagne and stopped along the deserted and drizzly Plaza Mayor. I danced by myself in the light of the nearly full moon to my favorite track of one of my all-time favorite records Joan Osborne's Dracula Moon with the rain falling down. A very cool and somewhat surreal moment on my Camino.
Alas, I made my way back to The Peaceable as the clock approached midnight to ring in the New Year with Paddy and the Peaceable pups pictured below.
I sincerely thank Paddy for the incredible hospitality, great food, better wine, my dog fix and a comfortable bed. The Peaceable Kingdom was my favorite stay on The Camino with the Parador in Leon (one of the world's foremost hotels) ultimately to come in a respectable second.
My Tunes for the Day
From the considerable collection of The Peaceable Kingdom music library comes The Band - The Night They Drove Ole Dixie Down. I loved listening to this during the afternoon and quietly late at night with some wine. It certainly will be a Camino memory.