Wednesday, August 27, 1650
Weather: It has been uncharacteristically lacking in rain for the last three days; temperatures have been consistently cool in the mornings, however, and conditions effectively overcast. As you leave Engleke Wednesday morning, and arrive in Leer three hours later, the temperature has risen to being pleasant, with clouds and a gentle breeze.
Leer is as the party left it last week; it was unhindered by the pirates, and in fact has swollen a bit with people rushing in to seek supplies that have been plundered. Thus the road to, and the town itself, is quite busy, but the merchants in Leer have plundered their storehouses in an attempt to sell all they can in these good times (for them). From the street shown on the right, you can imagine what it is like trying to get your wagon, horses and group through the throng of people who have descended upon the town. But there is a promise of more goods being shipped from elsewhere to compensate the people's troubles, and all is well.
The party also encounters a group of five hundred (thereabouts) pilgrims who have set themselves up in one portion of the farmer's market on the edge of town. You may recall my mentioning that Leer is unwalled, and normally has about 3,000 people; at present, this number has swollen to double its usual size, but even at that these pilgrims can be seen everywhere. They are uniquely dressed, in brown robes, red or bright green belts and white cowls, the men all with shaved heads and the women wearing hollar caps with red fringing. Very little inquiry tells you that most of them have had their heads shaved in just the last few days - and it fact you discover a host of barbers are hard at work shaving the heads of even more men.
This party of pilgrims is gathering in Leer from throughout Germany; they are Roman Catholics, and are determined to leave upon the 1st of September for the Holy Shrine in Santiago de Compostela, in Spain, expecting to arrive there in four to six months. Besides provisioning, praying, having their heads shaved (sometimes more than once), and exhorting others about them to join their pilgrimage, they are a jolly, pleasant bunch, and have brought much money to the town by their presence.
If the party will take its time and come to a clear, definite decision about what they will do next, we can begin the campaign again in earnest.