Santo Domingo to Belorado*

Apr 7. Day 12 (Sunday). Departed at 0830 hours, arrived 1445 hours.

Today was a good day. An apt summary description is, it was a blustery windy day. More about why makes that a good day.

This is the image that I would start this post with. It was painted by the brother-artist of a cafe’s wife-owner in Granon, about an hour and a half’s walk from Santo Domingo. She is from Peru.

What meaning do you get from this inspired painting?

For me, it’s the second most important benefit of the Camino. The opening of the mind, releasing or even more forcefully, ejecting the demons and monstrosities which occupies our minds. We all struggle at times with thoughts that we know, bind us. We hold onto them even though our gut instinct or heart tells us otherwise. Sometimes it’s Pride that is holding onto these un-desirable tenants. Other times, it’s Ego. Perhaps the culprit is from this list – Unforgiveness, Shame, Guilt, It must be Un-named? Maybe the chains that hold these are self inflicted.

Regardless, the Camino will work its way with us. If we permit and desire it. Just like many who readily discard items from their backpacks, discarding and expelling these mental burdens will be cathartic. And healing.

As you leave Santo Domingo, don’t rush past these symbolic representations of the legends and folk lore.

Note the Cockerel and Hen representation on this arch. Check out the folk lore about the ‘Hanged Innocent’ (long story).

Here’s a sculpture of St James with the Cockerel.

Puente de Santo Domingo y Ermita. The middle part of the bridge dates from 18th century.

Why did I say that today was a good day? The blustery winds were headwinds, not tailwinds. Joon said, the winds were also colder than yesterday’s. It started as we left Santo Domingo and persisted for many a kilometer, including on uphill stretches and on our final stretch into Belorado.

This sign communicates a way to regard the headwinds!

The headwinds could be liken to swimming up stream, walking against the winds. Or one could regard the headwinds like a stream of water that washes away the dirt and muck that sticks to one. Perhaps, this is a purification opportunity, where the winds are washing away one’s impurities. As a Pilgrim, I offered the various ‘impurities’ as I walked against these headwinds. The more ingrained these impurities were, the longer the headwinds persisted! There was a certain inner contentment in walking this way against the headwinds.

This is the cafe in Granon where we met the Peruvian wife-owner.

We had such a good stop here that we lingered three times as long as we normally do.

Joon’s Seahawks cap caught the attention of a Dutch girl, Juul, who had studied in Seattle, and was wearing a yellow Alki sweatshirt. Her friend, Mees is leftmost in picture. The cafe wife owner is rightmost. Cafe has some awesome souvenirs, some designed by the brother.

The stretch from Granon to Redecilla del Camino had some of the biggest countryside scenery we have come across. The hills and mountains were literally miles and miles away in every direction. What a great setting to evict the un-desirable tenants in one’s mind. Especially as that featured painting in the cafe, is at the start of this stretch.

A viewing platform at the start of the countryside walk from Granon

Wide wide countryside without any nearby freeway

See how the trail goes and goes across the countryside!

Pure magic, the bank of clouds hugging the entire horizon!

The mix of colors required us to pause.

Today was a good day. Tomorrow will be an unexpected test as I had booked lodgings that’s 35km away!

The Camino still had tricks up her sleeves.

Buen Camino.

Post Script: When it’s a Sunday, everything is closed, supermarkets too. Note if you are planning to rent a car in a bigger city on a Sunday.

Author: Ben & Joon

Residents in the great Pacific North West. Living life as it happens, learning our purpose and trail blazing our own paths. Namaste.

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