Fuenterroble de Salvatierra.
What a strange name this town has - it means ‘Oak Fountain of Salvatierra’. It sounds much worse.
Everything changes - nothing stays the same.
After a extra special day yesterday, today was cool, cloudy and felt a little dull. It was basically all up hill and I was happy that I managed the first 3.5 km of a fairly stiff climb with only a couple of stops to watch the cows and then to catch my breath. I can recall how a few weeks ago this would have been quite challenging and I was very pleased with my improved fitness.
I had a chance encounter with Frances from France who was riding one of those lay down bikes to Sevilla, Granada and then Alicante. We had a lovely chat and took photos of each other. He was impressed with my walking and I was impressed with his bike riding. A satisfactory encounter for us both. He reported that the Camino France was really crowded when he was there and I was grateful that this route is less populated.
The scenery was nice but without the uplifting quality of yesterday. And I saw the biggest quarry I have seen in a long time - looked like half a mountain was gone.
I stopped to rub some Voltarin into my foot and I must have left it there - says something about my state of mind.
I stopped in Fuenterroble because I wanted to experience the famous albergue here run by the parish priest Father Blas.
Well … the place is interesting, quaint and full of character. But for some reason I felt sad to be there - felt like crying - a vary confusing response. In this Camino I have felt resistant, grumpy, overwhelmed, frustrated, a little afraid, happy, joyful, content, at peace, interested, curious …. But never this feeling of today and it is still hanging around
In terms of the actual albergue - well if I wanted to experience an albergue similar to ones on my 2007 Camino then this is the place to be - slightly saggy bed, cold room and today a cold shower. I saw there is Solar hot water but I don’t think the sun has been out for a while.
I have been very happy with the upgraded conditions of accomodation so far on this Camino - particularly a hot shower on a cool day.
Even though there are a lot is spiritual images in this albergue it doesn’t seem to have the palpable love of the heart-centred albergue the night before last.
The thing that has impressed me the most is the workshop and outbuildings full of incredible collectables that are used to create this interesting location. Is it more of an artists’ workshop than a spiritual refuge?
Last night’s albergue was without any particular character but had long hot showers, warm very cosy bed (flannel sheets and cosy blankets) and free washing machine.
True spirituality is not about deprivation but about love manifest - that really is the teaching today. Everyone is very kind today but for me something is missing.
So … I went to the bar for an early lunch and they gave me that full bottle of wine again. I better stop now!
But at least the needs of the body have been met and I intend to enjoy the afternoon regardless of external circumstances.
Turns out I fell asleep and had some strange dreams that I don’t quite remember; then went to the pilgrim mass which was also felt a bit strange; forgot to see if the shop was open to buy some food for the road tomorrow (can ask them here to make me a biccadilla); had a strange (?) pilgrim dinner with the 18 others who are here; ; accidentally left my purse in my room and had a small panic; made some peppermint tea which was lovely and went to bed for the night.
A strange day indeed.
In the morning I found out that this albergue has been set up to give work and purpose to people who are homeless or have mental health difficulties but are not able to access support from the system. The strange vibe was not in my imagination. My lovely room mate, Maita, explained in a mix of Spanish and English that she also felt the strange feelings - she said the place is like a surreal movie. No wonder I had such strange dreams and thoughts while here.
Maita understood that this Albergue is more for the people who work and serve here and it’s the pilgrims who give them purpose… and that life is a mix of positive and negative- not just a place for ‘my’ comfort.
This is a place for pilgrims to offer something back rather than to receive.
The blessings continue - without this new understandings I would have left with a bad feeling.
Now I feel light.
And Maita gave me recommendations for where in Salamanca to get best rain gear. Looks like the sunny weather is over and it will be mainly rain of various intensities.
EDIT - 16 Oct 2023 - As I read this today I remember the dreams were quite violent and had elements of death in them. This was the strangest place I stayed at along the whole Camino. I just read some reviews that were incredibly positive. Did I miss something? No - we all have our own experience. And I think I used the word ‘strange’ at least 6 times. 🤣Read more
Fuenterroble de Salvatierra.