Monday, July 27, 2009


I am in Rabanal, staying at the English Albergue. They are 4 charming and gentle people (one German) and they really make an effort to help people and make them feel at home. There is a warm sitting room and a small library with some books in English.
Unfortunately, yesterday when I was congratulating myself on getting a bottom bunk and a warm shower I slipped and crashed messily, noisily and painfully to the floor. Today there is a large purple bruise on my right hip and technicolour tints and tones on the middle toe of the right foot. Hence the second day here. I have had/am having a real rest with two church services (prayer and mass) and my foot up most of the day. The swelling is going down, the foot is less painful, but it still cannot fit inside the boot. Maybe tomorrow. I hope to walk tomorrow, if only for 10 km, and if necessary in boot and sandal. I bought the book About a Boy and am half way through it. It is better than the film!
Yesterday started with neither breeze nor sun though occasionally I cast a weak shadow. As we climbed it got colder and the breeze became a strongish headwind but despite a few steep sections the climb was quite gentle. All was well until the slip. I dined with Glee (surname Balmer pronounced as if batmer) and two others, one, Petra, has invited me to Germany to stay for a while. It´s a genuine offer and I may very well take it up. To visit Germany would be good and she lives 20 minutes from Nurnberg.
Today the hospitalleros have made a real effort to make me feel welcome and special, inviting me to breakfast and lunch. I greatly appreciate it. A number of years ago a German monastery established an outpost here with 2 young Spaniards. They speak German, Spanish, and English and spend busy lives following the canonical hours, acting as priests for the district, running 2 and 3 day courses and retreats. There are two churches here, the one next to the albergue and monastery being a 12th c Templar foundation and the other is 18th c, recently renovated and quite amazingly gifted for such a small community.
This second church is used for special occasions. The other is partially restored but much more needs to be done. Last evening for vespers here were as many locals as pilgrims, with the small chapel´s seats all filled. It is lovely to see this dedicated Christian work and outreach making an impact both locvally and with the pilgers.
If I can´t walk tomorrow I may very well spend a couple of days with them. They interview applicants and if accepted, design a course of prayer and contemplation (I guess - it won´t be the form guide of tapestry making) for that person.
I do feel well and am quite buoyant. This is just a setback, and not a major one.
Pray for my foot, please!
All the best

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