Thursday Oct 27. La Caridad to Ribadeo. 6hrs 20mins, 24.1km.
One may think that lodgings are merely a footnote to Caminos. That one merely needs a bed to rest one’s head. But just as one admires the local culture of the villages and towns that one passes through, one should also appreciate some of the unique lodgings that one comes across. Hotel Casa Xusto in La Caridad is one of those lodgings that has a unique character and ambience. Even the entrance door to the hotel could have been mistaken for one of those old castle doors, it was solid heavy wood and many inches thick. The furnishings were old world, and there was ample sitting areas, both upstairs and downstairs. The decor attracted one’s attention and curiosity.
We had an early start this morning, departing Hotel Rural Xusto at 8.10am. Sunrise was 8.56am. We decided to have our breakfast provisions that were bought the previous day in the enclosed area outside the hotel lobby. The owner-proprietor had furnished it with a sofa/coffee table and coffee vending machine. We had checked out already, handed in the key, and the door into the hotel lobby was secured. After the vending machine had dispensed the two cups, and as we were eating our breakfast, the hotel door open and the owner-proprietor came out with a plate with some cookies, to our surprise and delight! He had probably heard/observed that we had operated the vending machine. He didn’t realize we had breakfast provisions. Nevertheless, what he did was beyond professional courtesy. We were the (grateful) recipients of a generous and compassionate heart. This was not totally out of character, because the previous day on checking in, he offered me a can of beer and a plate of jamon. And he carried one of our bags to the first level for us. Even though we couldn’t communicate in a common language, his language of the heart was very discernible.
As we walked out, it was still dark. Using the App, we walked out onto the main road that was running through La Caridad. I didn’t pay attention until we were about 30m when I realized we had over-shot a turn off. We backtracked, and quickly came onto a path through the forest. No more street lamps. Fortunately, our blinking personal beacons could be used as mini-flashlights. It was powerful enough to light the immediate area in front of our footsteps but not much else! And so, we walked about 700-800m, for about 12 mins in the forest, before we came out onto a road. After many days on the Camino, any anxiety over the unknown becomes one of anticipated curiosity. What is this experience? How does it change me?
Today’s walk was generally flat with minor climbs of 150 feet and less. It passed the countryside and many farms that raised cattle. There were farm land that had been harvested and were furrowed. There was minimal traffic on any country roads that were walked on. Near a beach area, we were on boardwalk. In short, a very relaxing walk in great overcast weather (that we were able to even see a rainbow in the distance).
There were occasions when we came upon the coastline. This would be the last coastline stage as after Ribadeo, the Camino route swings inland. At one such site, we could see several camper vans. One such family of surfers had a little child with them. A different lifestyle indeed.
We finally came to the bridge that will take us into Ribadeo. This bridge separates Asturias from Galicia. Our hotel manager gave us some examples of the difference in pronunciation for the same word.
I pondered on this term, “language of the heart”. Kindness is one of its dialects. So is compassion. But as I walked today, I focused on the language of the heart with God. How could I learn and express that? And that was the beauty of today for me.
As one delves into this language of the heart, one gets a heightened awareness to hold back words of the tongue when such words will cause an emotional disturbance, out of love for the Other.