Day 14 on the Camino

Saturday in Sahagun — sunny, with a few clouds and a little breeze. I’m sitting in the hotel dining room, listening to the clatter of dishes from the kitchen and smelling the food. The family who runs the place are having a late lunch for themselves.
We walked to the market today, which has booths set up along the streets surrounding one of the main squares, and in the plaza. It’s like the Athens markets, with more of an emphasis on clothes, shoes, etc. than on food. We bought nectarines and sweet little green grapes to eat tomorrow (or the next day — the nectarines are far from ripe), a walking pole for Regina at a store on the plaza, and bandaids for blisters.
Lunch was at a busy cafe with outside tables. The menus are often printed, with photos, and in five languages. So today’s menu for the paellas appeared to be identical to that offered in the diner back a week ago, as did the menu for the pizzas. We may have seen the pasta menu before, but no matter — we ordered the spinach linguini with 4-cheese sauce, and the mushroom spaghetti. The poor waiter was harried — the only one for at least 16 tables — and the bartender inside was entirely dissatisfied with his life and ours. The pasta dishes were fine — lots of carbs because it’s difficult to be vegetarian and actually find veggies to eat.
[Later] — Evening now, and finishing up to get an early start on walking tomorrow. We went to Mass at a convent this evening — maybe 60 or 70 people, about 20 of them nuns, mostly in modern white habits (knee-length white dresses that looked like what nurses used to wear) with veils, but some in street dress. Much of the congregation was older women; the place was weighted with the denseness that people acquire as they get older. But they sang — everyone sang, and because it was a small modern building, they filled the space. The priest called up all of the pilgrims — about 15 of us — at the end of Mass and gave a blessing in Spanish (Regina translated as along the lines of God give you shade from the sun and get you safely to Santiago). Afterward we chatted briefly with a 30-ish woman from Galway, who was doing the Camino in sections — many people seem to do that.
 Then we ate a pilgrim dinner at a restaurant near our hotel — a mixed salad, and bowls of fideos soup. It turned out to be chicken noodle soup, which I suspected, despite assurances that it was entirely vegetarian. Dessert was chocolate mousse cake with dark caramel sauce, and the wine was very local, with a label written in both English and Spanish — it had a bit of bite and fizz, that I liked, but you would not call it smooth.
That’s it for the evening — we walk about 10 or 11 miles tomorrow; Regina will just be starting out, and we will take it a bit easy after only walking about three miles today.
Hope you all are having a great weekend.
To market, to market . . .  with the Carns family in Sahagun.
Again, enough garlic to supply Forks for a month or so (we saw another garlic booth at the Barcelona market).
A dry-goods store, with all of the wooden drawers, the ladder, and everything still in active use.
An African man selling purses. He must be more legit than the Athens purse-sellers because he is sitting in the shade, and doesn’t look poised to wrap his goods in his sheet and take off running as the Athens street merchants did when the cops came around.
Cucumbers and eggplant.
Pasta for lunch — a  day without bocadillos!
A weed growing in a crevice of a church wall has caught a dozen pigeon feathers and held on to them.
A family coat of arms above a house door. Regina observes that the heads on the sides of the shield appear very chicken-like.
A modern gargoyle water spout.
Dandelions and white clover in the grass by a church — I felt suddenly at home.
Brickwork on a church. This shows Moorish influence in the ways that the bricks are used to pattern the surface, and in the arches.
More Arabic influence, on a different church.
Regina, on a bench with gargoyle feet.

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