Walking Home

reveries of an amateur long-distance hiker

April 24

April 27th, 2016

April 24


Burgos to Hontanas 31 km. A damp misty walk out of Burgos, wandering narrow streets through to the river. Early on a Sunday morning, I passed an old nun, sweeping the stoop in front of a blank-walled convent. We both stopped, exchanged muted greetings, then on she swept and on I walked. Mid-morning coffee was in a village bar where the proprietor gleefully showed me his wall of multi-national notes and bank notes, with a section with American money including a two-dollar bill. I wished I had a note to give to him, but he had a tiny gold plastic Camino medal on a string to give to me. I’ve never worn jewelry–no rings– and resisted even wearing a watch for years until teaching demanded it. (What I loved about Duke were the clocks in the classrooms). But now I have my tiny medal on a string around my neck and the green string the old woman in the Nepal gompa tied about my neck after I toured the library. Hontanas was a wonderful town, with a great restaurant just across from the Albergue. I spent the evening taking to Amber, a Canadian woman who now lives in the French Pyrenees and is walking for a week or so. She had washed her face and somehow gotten glitter all over it so we talked while she sparkled. Late evening the three North Carolina pilgrims I met in Villafranca arrived, so they, Amber, and a lone Italian man and I enjoyed out pilgrim meal before an early night to bed.

T. Hugh Crawford