My Life as a Traveler

How do you say “Sad” in Italian?

June 11, 2012

It’s Uli’s last day of walking and she wakes me up at 5am, as I asked her. We are the only ones stirring and quietly get dressed, drag our bags from the sleeping room to the hall to stuff our sleeping bags and tape our toes, then hit the bathroom on the way out to brush our teeth.

It’s still dark out and we cross the bridge out of town under the half moon. After about an hour walking alongside the highway (and not knowing exactly where we are going – no arrows here!), we find a bar just opening up. The woman who runs the Casa Blanca greets us with a smile, and makes our cafe con leche. She has some pastries on the counter, but I want tortilla de patatas and she tells me to wait 3 minutes while she makes one from scratch. It comes with tomato slices in olive oil and is the best one yet. Uli, never without a tomato in her backpack, supplements the feast, because 3 slices are just not enough. There’s classical music playing, the sun is coming up, it’s a little cool, but good for walking, a great day.

As we walk through the suburbs of Leon, I’m telling Uli that next year Susie and I hope to visit a friend in Napoli (hi Lucy!) next year. The guy in front of us swings around and says “Napoli!” and we meet Livio from near Milan. He doesn’t really speak English and I don’t speak Italian, but we both speak enough Spanish that we can sort of figure out what the other is saying. At least the gist of it. He mostly speaks in Italian, though, which takes our minds off of the lack of nature that we’ve been enjoying the last few days. And he speaks a lot. Talks all the way to town. I learn to count in Italian. What fun.

It’s a bittersweet moment when we get to the cathedral. It’s about 10:30am (we got a little lost in town) and I want to use the bathroom before we tour Leon’s most famous sight. We say goodbye to Livio and have a coffee. We find out that Uli’s train is at 2pm, so there’s time to tour the cathedral, buy me some new socks, and have lunch.

The Leon cathedral is only second to the Chartres Cathedral in the amount of stained glass that make up the walls. After entering, I get a call from Morgan saying that he has reached his next stage and it’s only 11am and he wants to keep walking (he’s averaging 30-40km days) but what will he do in Santiago for days before we get there? I really wanted to tell him to slow down and wait for me, but instead I urged him to move on to the next town where I knew Susie and Mary were staying tonight, and then, if he had time, go on to Finisterre – the end of the world- 84.4km past Santiago. Many pilgrims like to carry on and finish here, but on my current schedule, there’s no time. He liked that idea and went on his way.

I found the hiking store and bought some socks one step thicker than my liners, in hopes that I don’t have to tape everything in the world for the rest of the trip. Uli and I had calamares and mushrooms for lunch and said goodbye. We’ve been hiking together for many days now – we are truly Camino Sisters. I’m really going to miss her. We promise to stay in touch and I know I have made a friend for life.

I was planning to stay in Leon, where undoubtedly there would be people I know stopping here as well, have a short day, and do some more sightseeing in this lovely town, but I just really felt like walking some more, alone. There was a convent 8.7km (about 2 hours) walk out of town and that sounded about right. A place where I can be incognito.

I’m there in time to take the last bed, and although some faces are familiar, they are not people who I’ve introduced myself to – except Livio! He wants to talk some more, but there’s wi-fi here and I choose to write. This place is about 5 minutes walk from town, but I’m not leaving. There’s a food machine and I get a sandwich and an Aquarius. I’m the only American here.

Tomorrow begins a new stage of the Camino for me, no Uli, no chance of catching up to Morgan, and unlikely to see Susie and Mary anytime soon. Although they are covering less kilometers walking, I’m guessing they will bus ahead before I catch up to them. I’m really on my own now.

How do you say “sad” in Italian?










2 responses

  1. Brad

    Ci dica triste,lo stesso come in Spagnolo. Triste, just as in Spanish.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:13 pm

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