Hermits in Spain (Day 11)

(I finally got around to transcribing some of my pilgrimage journals. Will be posting them over the next few weeks in case anyone out there is still reading them. Hopefully, it'll give me that closure and I can go on to writing other things. :)

There’s a small, quite 22-bed Refugio in Belorado. It’s run by a Swiss couple that once walked the Camino, and now they spend their days providing a sanctuary for others. The Refugio is completely trust-driven. People pay what they wish at the end of their stay and that has sustained the place for years. They have a large kitchen that anyone can use as long you leave it as you find it. And the large dining area downstairs where everyone hangs out is really their living room. Such generous souls.

Along with this off-the-beaten track gem, I heard that there are ancient caves in this town. This was the last thing I was expecting to find on a walk in Europe. When I think caves, I generally think the Himalayas but there are many around all over this region. I’m elated to learn that the ones in this town are actually right behind the Refugio, practically in its backyard.

I decide to hike up the hill behind the place with two others, one Japanese girl who looked like she might like some company, and a 20-year-old Canadian boy walking with his dad. As we make our way up the steep hill, the sun is starting to set and the birds are making their way home. The Canadian boy doesn’t really understand why someone would choose to live in a cave. He’s just coming along to see the storks since there’s a huge nest up on a church bell tower that you can see from the top. I try telling him about the hermits that once lived in these caves. “You mean outcasts from society,” he inquires. “No, no, they voluntarily sought for secluded places; they’re seekers of the ultimate Truth.” I can see that it could be a lot for an average teenager to grasp.

The limestone from the cave glitters in the sunset and practically comes off in your hand when you touch it. Completely deserted today, it’s hard to believe that a lineage of hermits practiced here hundreds of years ago. It’s reassuring to see that there are mystics in every society in the world, people who would go to great lengths to find the ultimate answers to life.

View from the top is amazing. The sunset covers the town in a rose-colored tint, which matches the peaceful energy of this entire town. I can see how the Swiss couple ended up here. One can easily spend a lifetime in a place like this. The energy is more tranquil than anywhere else I’ve been – even the Himalayas.  

(From the Camino Journals May 10)


  1. Audrey Lin1/21/2011


  2. hey.... thats me youre talking about there!!!
    funny, the other canadian girls mcguire and kortney who were walking with their mother and their friend carly, sent me the link to your blog, and i saw ur name and remembered you right away, and after a quick scroll down i was very surprised to find a picture of me!
    hope youre doing well, i am now going to hotel/restaurant management school in strasbourg, france, and my email is sesa.lece@gmail.com.
    hope to hear from you soon!
    take care, hope your camino is going well

  3. Sebastien,

    Hi how are you? so nice to hear from you. I just heard from Mcguire on facebook too. So nice to connect with people from the Camino. I'm finally getting around to posting my journals. :-)

    You moved to France, wow! Cool.