Saturday, September 18, 2021: Slow start today. It’s 7:00 am and dark out. Time to roll up the sleeping bag and load the backpack. This daily routine is getting old. I wonder how small the next town is going to be and if there’s any way to skip it. The days were becoming repetitious with fields that are endless and a big sky that is too big. Worst of all, there was nothing to see along the way. I would be so happy if there were some good ruins, an old church, a cemetery, a herd of sheep or even an irrigation canal. There was nothing but fields of sunflowers, fields of wheat, a few corn fields and some empty ones. Theresa and I are now in Taxi mode.
We were the last to leave today. We walked to the town’s only restaurant for coffee and to figure out how to find a taxi in such an isolated rural farm area.
In the reception area before entering the restaurant, I saw something unusual — several suitcases waiting to be transported to their next location. What’s unusual is that some people who are walking the Camino are opting to bring a suitcase instead of a backpack. There are courier services on the Camino that will transport backpacks, suitcases or other parcels to your next Camino stop. It costs about $5 a day and for many who don’t want to carry a backpack, it’s a great option.
Having a suitcase instead of a backpack is another good option. It probably holds more than a backpack and one wouldn’t need to be too concerned about its weight. I’ve heard of people breaking the handle off their toothbrush to save a fraction of an ounce on their backpack load. The suitcase option may make walking the Camino appealing to more people.
As we settled in with our coffee, we watched the room empty as walkers made their way out the door and down the road. A backpacked young woman entered the restaurant and sat at a table near us. Since we had already made up our minds to boycott walking today, we had nothing better to do so we struck up a conversation. Jenneke from Holland became an instant friend. She had just taken a cab from her last stop and was in desperate need of a rest day.
The man running the restaurant, Caesar, waited on our every whim. We didn’t order from the menu, we just asked for things. Jenneke wanted a fruit plate which reminded me how much I like that honey-dew melon and Theresa was in the mood for ham and eggs which I thought was a good idea too. And Caesar did not disappoint.
It’s amazing how we connected with Jenneke. I think it was because she is so genuine. We talked for hours about so many things. She is a fascinating person. The morning went by so fast. It was hard saying goodbye but we needed to get moving.
We asked Caesar to call us a taxi. His response in Spanish was something about a taxi being too expensive. Next thing we know, he’s loading us into his car and was going to drive us to our next stop. That is how life on the Camino happens. We did pay him but I’m sure it was far less than what a taxi would have cost.
Jacques de Molay is the name of the albergue in Terradillos. This village seems to be planted in the middle of farmland with a bit of industrial sites along the highway. In addition, there was a little church that was locked, a small playground and three or four streets with various housing. Behind the albergue was a little park with picnic tables.
So who was Jacques de Molay and why was he so important that they named an albergue after him in the middle of nowhere? I did a little research and he was the last grand master of the Knights Templar. The order was dissolved in 1312 by Pope Clement V. Little is known of his actual life and deeds except for his least years as Grand Master, he is one of the best known Templars.
While most historians agree that the Knights Templar fully disbanded 700 years ago, there are some people who believe the order went underground and remains in existence in some form to this day.
The Order and its members increasingly appear in modern fiction, though most of these references portray the medieval organization inaccurately. In modern works, the Templars generally are portrayed as villains, misguided zealots, representatives of an evil secret society, or as the keepers of a long-lost treasure.*
We took a tour of the town which took less than ten minutes. I’m always fascinated with the dwellings made from mud and straw.
The garden patio, restaurant and bar were an oasis that made the day a lot more interesting. The restaurant had charming and interesting bits of history and culture decorating the walls. We were fortunate to reserve a private room in advance. They started turning away walkers around noon.
We had the “menu del dia” –– meal of the day. Theresa was adventuresome and went for the Inky Squid which she said was very good and better than the Inky Squid in Pamplona.
We crossed another day off the calendar and only four more nights remaining in The Meseta.
* Information taken from Medievalspain.com; Wikipedia; Britannica.com