My Life as a Traveler

The Miracle of the Cock

I heard the church bell ring 5 times – time to get up. Susie came in to wish me a good journey, I wrapped my knee with Susie’s ace bandage, gave my Tuesday Sisters big hugs, and off I went. It was still sort of dark just before 6am, but I could easily find the way. I was quite sad and quite frankly, feeling sorry for myself. My blisters hurt with every rock I stepped on. My pack weighed a ton. My swollen knee was twinging. Was I making the right decision to carry on by myself on my own schedule? How could I have planned this better? Allow more time? 6 weeks instead of 32 days? But that was the only time we could come home on these free tickets. Was I deserting my friends who maybe needed me?

I walked for about 2 hours before I came to the first breakfast possibility. It was a golf course, of all places, and the club cafe was just opening. I felt a little funny at first dragging in next to the smartly dressed Spanish golfers, but I received a warm welcome from the woman behind the bar. The breakfast cost a little more here than in the bars on the street, but I had the biggest, juiciest fresh squeezed oj ever, a nice tortilla with bread, and cafe con leche. Plus, they had an awesome bathroom, which I used twice before I left. (I know, tmi, but if it saves me a trip off-road to pee, hey, it’a a good thing.)

After breakfast I started to feel better. It was a beautiful day and I was walking in Spain, on the Camino de Santiago, in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims and Ringo Starr. I am walking my Camino and I cannot walk anybody else’s. Everyone will have their own experiences, meet the people they are supposed to meet, and enjoy this journey at their own right pace. Besides, I’m going to see Mary and Susie this morning at the Santo Domingo Church. There was an 830am bus from Azofra and maybe they were already there.

I stroll into Santo Domingo de la Calzada at 9:30am. I find the church, pay the admission fee (reduced for pilgrims), get the stamp in my pilgrim passport, hobble over to the main altar, and text Mary. No, they did not leave Azofra yet and weren’t taking the bus until 1pm. Bummer. I’m still on my own, but I’m ok with that.

I never knew that Santo Domingo is Spanish for Saint Dominic. Again, Morgan’s friend is with us on the trail. St. Dominic was born in 1019 and turned away from the monastery because he couldn’t read. Good thing, though, because he ended up building many of the bridges we cross over, a hospital, and a church, besides being a great guy and a kind human being. After his death, there were many miracles in the area attributed to him.

The most famous St. Dominic miracle is the Miracle of the Cock. Legend has it that a couple and their son were traveling through the area and the inkeeper’s daughter took a liking to the boy when he stayed in the village for a while after his parents went on. Unfortunately, he did not friend her back. She got so mad that she planted a silver goblet in his pack and had him arrested for stealing. He was summarily hanged, as that was the punishment for theft. When his parents heard about what happened, they returned to find him hanging, but still alive. St. Dominic was keeping him alive, he told them, so would they please tell the judge to let him go? The judge was having dinner when the parents told him about their son. His retort was, “Your son is no more alive than this roast chicken (or cock, as they said back then),” at which point the chicken dinner rose up and crowed loudly. The sheriff heard about this and let the boy down, and the boy lived happily ever after, thanks to St. Dominic.

Today, this might be the only church to have special permission to keep chickens in their own special coop inside the church. All I could see were tail feathers, but it was funny to hear clucking echoing in the sanctuary.

When I leave the church ready to continue alone, who do I see, but my Tuesday Sister, Uli, who is just as surprised to see me. Perhaps this is another miracle from St. Dominic. Yep, we were meant to walk together, and so off we went.

We walked a few hours more, stopping at a store and getting some fruit. Also visited the pharmacy to get a leg wrap, since the one Susie was so kind to lend me this morning wouldn’t stay on. The pharmacist also recommended some leg cream, too. I think it’s cortisone of some sort. The village Old Guys were hanging out on the corner and gave us a thumbs up and a Buen Camino. We walked the last three oh so hot kilometers to Redecilla del Camino and checked into the albergue. Top bunk again, but should not have been because of the French guy who got in ahead of us and saved the last two lower bunks for his pals. We were too tired to argue, however, and just climbed on up.

After a cold shower, some lunch, and laundry, I found the local bar with wi-fi, ordered a beer, and sat down to write. After posting a blog and Skyping George, I found the local masseuse and had the best massage ever for 20euros. She even poked around my knee and told me to keep using the cream and the wrap during the day. If I had room in my pack, I would have definitely fit her in and carried her out of town with me.

Dinner at the local bar was nice with our new Canadian friends, Brenda and (aargh, sorry, forgot husband’s name! uh, John?) who introduced us to chupitos, Licor de Hierba (Grass Liquor) the Spanish after-dinner drink. It was 9:30pm and raining when we hurried back to our beds to wake the sleeping French people who’ve been sleeping for half and hour as we prepared for the next day. Bonne nuit!

 

 

 

 

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