Day 16 (May 25) – Burgos to Hontanas: 19.9 Miles

Part 1

Happy Birthday to my dear son, Henry, born 32 years ago today. This trip and much of this blog are dedicated to Sam, but is so important to remember Henry as a great brother to Sam and a great son to John and me. Henry, I am honored to be your Mom.

Part 2

Today, I was off to an early start, with a plan to cover 19.9 miles. And, guess what? I did it! That was the longest walk (so far) in my life. I’m just sorry I didn’t take another lap around the block to make it 20 miles.

Burgos gave me as much trouble on the exit as the entry. The Camino markings in that city just aren’t good. I missed a marker early on, but figured it out pretty quickly. As I retraced my steps to the last marker I had seen, I ran across a stream of pilgrims. They knew where to go. I merged into the stream. One of the pilgrims said hello and introduced himself. He was Nate, a recent college grad, who is on track to enter the seminary in July. He was a charming young man and our conversation made the miles fly by. It was raining heavily the whole time and neither of us cared.

We stopped for a coffee at a cafe that had erected a tent to cover the tables. It felt like the Hunt Cup in the rain. Very crowded and very friendly, but, in this case, without alcohol.

Nate’s seminary decision puzzled me, given the major sacrifices required. But, he seemed undaunted. I used our time together to get answers to some questions. I got all sorted out on the importance of religious relics and how to get tickets to the Pope’s Easter mass (know someone, who knows someone who knows a Cardinal.)

I also talked to him about my personal crisis of faith that was triggered by Sam’s death. Bad things happening to good people as a general concept, has always been hard to understand. When it got personal, I was perplexed. He had no answer, of course, but hoped I’d find it on the Camino. Me too.

I said goodbye to Nate at the 12 mile point. It was his first day walking the Camino and I insisted that he take it easy.

I missed him on the second half of the day, where I dragged along alone. I did hit the start of the Meseta, that long stretch of plains that so many people view as boring. I thought it was among the most beautiful and peaceful places I’ve ever been.

I came down the hill into Hontanas, my stopping place for the night. Goal. Score. Check. Town of my dreams. Bed of my dreams. Shower of my dreams AND dinner….

Before I close for the night, I have to tell you about the church at Hontanas. A 14th C church, much in need of restoration. Usually a Church like that would be a stone cold space. Not this one. The local people have made it a true place of welcome, starting with a thermos of green tea for all to share. Then there were handmade cushions to sit upon and a collection of bibles in dozens of languages for all to read. In front of them was a large vessel filled with sand, with candles burning brightly. A sign invited us to buy a candle and place it in the sand. I lit a birthday candle and said a prayer for Henry. He’s the slightly crooked purple one in the front.

15 thoughts on “Day 16 (May 25) – Burgos to Hontanas: 19.9 Miles

  1. What a soulful post, Trish ! Giving me much to reflect on. Thank you . I am very respectful of your pilgrimage. 19 miles in the rain is double jeopardy !

  2. Carolie & Pokey May 25, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    Happy Birthday, Sam!

    Well done, Trish!

  3. Trish,
    I find myself riveted to each post, in a way I wasn’t expecting. It is like a good book that you can’t wait for the next chapter. Beautiful pics also. Thank you.

  4. I say you did 20 miles due to the slight detour leaving so need for an extra lap. Score indeed. Remarkable posts. Brave girl for many reasons. Proud of you.

  5. Trish- I, like Frank, have followed your every post and have been enjoying your journey. When I see your blog pop up, I stop what I’m doing and read. Many prayers have been said for you and I hope you find your peace.

  6. Barbara Robinson May 25, 2018 at 11:18 pm

    Dear Trish
    I am so enjoying your adventure and your splendid writing. What a wonderful experience. If you read this Henry, Happy birthday.
    Barb R.

  7. Deborah Breide May 25, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    My first impression of the beautiful photo with the candles burning brightly was that of a birthday cake. A coincidence I think not. Happy Birthday Henry! Congratulations to you Trish — an impressive walk and wonderful writing on such a special day. xo Deb

  8. For some reason, good things can come from bad times. I believe you are heading toward the good things.
    Happy Birthday to Henry. Wow – 32 !

  9. How great is This d’aventure Trish!
    I read your blog everyday , Thanks to share your camino and your diary With us.
    Happy Birthday Henri
    Bonne route et bravo Trish.

  10. A true celebration for the Defords..Happy Birthday to you Henry and congratulations Trish on a wonderful milestone reached of 20 miles (mas or menos). Your stamina and spirit are inspiration to me.
    I look forward to each and every entry of your life on the Camino! Thank you for sharing with us all.

  11. Dear Trish, I’ve not seen you for many years, but Joe made me aware of your trek, and shared your blog link with me, and now I’m as captivated by it as so many others. Your beautiful writing and photos capture your personal journey and the amazing scenes you’re seeing along the way. I wish you strength and peace as you continue on your path (literally!).

  12. Mark Hoffberger May 26, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Happy Birthday, Henry! I remember some of your earliest birthday celebrations! And Mom, you are my hero! 20 miles! Score!

  13. Dear Trish,

    As Paul and I take the ferry to Fishers Iskand to see mom & the gang, all I can think of is your trek how much it inspires me.

    Happy Happy Birthday to Henry!‼️

    What a nice young man to walk with. How admirable that He is giving himself up for something he believes in and that is bigger than himself.

    This is your journey …your family, your faith and your beliefs. Keep on/Keep on. what you ultimately take in and decide , well that is your truth.

    In the meantime what powerful soul searching and conversations you are having along with beauty and journey of the walk.

    Much much Love,

    Happy Birthday to Henry.

  14. Trish,
    First, Happy birthday to Henry. He is a great guy and you have done a great job Mom. How lovely that you were able to light a “birthday” candle for him.

    Second, since I’ve been keeping track, I think your Sam sighting of the day was Nate.

    Third, I would clock in at 20 miles particularly since you got lost for a bit.

    Love, Mag

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