Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Starting Back to Florida

It took two days to get from Gainesville to Leon, where we started our Camino; we have now begun the two day return trip.

At breakfast this morning at the monastery there were only four places set at the table...200 rooms and four guests. What an intriguing place. We guess that much of the clientele is from retreats and church groups that come to the city.

The breakfast room has long, communal tables and a stairs leading up to a pulpit-like perch overlooking the room. College friends of PegÅ› might be reminded of the dining room at the East Avenue Retreat House, where they made annual, silent, retreat weekends and a nun would read inspirational words from such a perch during meals.

Today at breakfast, we were able to pay for our monastery stay. We asked about paying when we arrived and were told by the woman-who-runs-everything that we could pay whenever we wanted. We tried twice during our stay, but the woman could not be available at those times and she seemed to be to only one who could accept payment. Luckily, she served breakfast today and we could pay as well as tell her how much we enjoyed our stay and her wonderful monastery. What a fantastic, end-of-Camino experience.

We walked to the bus stop and took the bus to the airport. It felt good to walk with our packs. We had a bumpy, short, on-time flight to Madrid and are now in the Madrid Aeropuerto High Tech Hotel, with a laptop and free internet in our room. Combined with fluffy towels...it is hard to imagine more luxury...and a greater contrast with the monastery! Dinner looks like it will offer some new Spanish gourmet choices when the restaurant opens at 8:30...they eat late here.

We leave Spain at 11:30 tomorrow. At 8:00 Peggy is meeting us at the Gainesville airport; she emailed that we have beans and tomatoes in the garden and a big golden dog who is eager to see us. That sounds really nice.

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