I left Santo Domingo de la Calzada early the next morning, and was treated to a beautiful dawn.
Fellow pilgrims, many in twos or threes, passed me as I walked alone. I did not want their company, though, because dawn passed into a beautiful morning. Fields stretched out all around me, like these.
Water gurgles in springs and hidden streams in the ditches beside these fields. And something else, once. An old man, scooping unseen items from the ditch to a plastic bag. Others passed him without a word, but I stopped.
“Hola,” I greeted him.
He answered back in native Spanish, and said more that I did not get. He gestured at my scallop shell and I made out the word “peregrina” (female pilgrim). Then, he opened his bag and I saw what he was gathering. Snails. Large and fresh. Probably for dinner.
He said more to me, then he leaned over and kissed both cheeks. I bid him farewell, warmed by his words, though I did not know what they were.
Off I went, into the distance.
If you’ve missed any of these photos, feel free to backtrack over here.