We awoke at 7 AM in the Alburgue La Laguna in El Burgo Ranero to the soft sounds of classical music playing, I think it was Bach. Well today was Dave’s birthday. He thought it was a secret. However Marie must have informed Carmin and Rosa. After breakfast, out of the kitchen comes a huge upside down pineapple cake with a candle. The gang gathered around and sang happy birthday Dave. He was very touched and grateful. What a great place to celebrate a 60th birthday and one he will never forget. Thanks to Marie for spilling the beans!
Carmin and Rosa the volunteer hosts from Quebec made it all happen. Their joy and fun loving spirit was the hospitality highlight of our pilgrimage. Reluctantly we said goodbye to everyone with lots of hugs. We would never see them again. Dave did connect with Sarah and Rafael for years on Facebook until they left the platform. Sadly, we could never find a communications link to Denis and Aline. At Christmas, Rosa emailed Marie a wonderful video of her year at La Laguna but alas, that has gone astray.
We took the train some 38 km to Leon to celebrate Dave’s birthday in style. This brought us forward 2 complete days and hence we would be walking with meeting a whole new group of pilgrims who were up ahead. We met Henny and Randi from Denmark on the train. Today we would not be walking far so we could start celebrating right away!
We arrived in Leon, pop. 130,000 and were making our way to our boutique hotel when who do we run into but Dick, who we hadn’t seen since day 3. Dick was a very interesting man. He was a Protestant Minister in a community church in Arkansas on sabatacle to hike the Camino. But he did not tell many people his story. Rather, he enjoyed asking each person he met what their story was i.e., why are you walking the Camino? He enjoyed listening to their response and should the opportunity present itself, discuss Christian faith matters with them. We became great friends to this day.
Our hotel was easy to find and near the Cathedral which looks so great when lit up at night. After freshening up we walked around town to sightsee. Later we found the marketplace, had tapas and vino for dinner and met a nice young couple from Montreal on pilgrimage too.
We spent a somewhat restful night in our hotel room with private bath, however it was noisy on the street, the window would not close nor the TV work. We were grateful for another great Camino experience and still eager for more. Thanks for the great birthday celebration Marie!