DAY 14 A DAY OFF

•September 15, 2019 • 2 Comments

This morning I woke up at 5:00 am, an hour and a half before I needed to. I felt refreshed and awake and ready to tackle the day ahead…21 miles. But my body was in a complete state of shutdown. The Spirit was willing but the body was not. So I decided to play a grace card and skip walking today. Thirteen straight days of walking was too much. I sent Glen on his way and had my own little adventure.

I had breakfast in the hotel and chatted with some of the guests. There is a group of 20 women doing the Camino together. It’s a challenge for them as they walk at different paces and yet are expected to arrive at the destination together.

Then I got on a bus to head for our destination, Ibeas de Juarros. As I got on the bus I heard, “Hey I recognize you!” It was a woman we met in Estella staying at the same hotel. We chatted for the 15 minutes we were on the bus together. It was very companionable.

On the Camino people weave in and out of our lives. All have been so interesting and so friendly. Sometimes we meet people that aren’t even on the Camino like the couple we met in Huarte. We happened to be in the same bar having a glass of wine. They were ready to leave but they ended up getting another glass and we chatted for over an hour.

When I got to Ibeas I had some lunch, checked into the hotel, and rested. My tracker wasn’t happy. It told me my rings were not as far along as they usually are so I shut my tracker off to give it some rest too 😁

DAY 13 ATTITUDE TO GRATITUDE

•September 13, 2019 • 4 Comments

The Camino has been more crowded than anticipated. There are not the long stretches with no person in sight, hours to contemplate whatever it is God is whispering. Before I complain about this I try to accept what comes my way with the attitude that this is a reflection of life itself.

Abundant to the right, barren to the left

There are two common questions asked on the camino.

1. Is this your first Camino?

They say that your first Camino is never your last. I have found that to be true. I met a man named John; he’s 78 years old. He gave me some directions and seemed knowledgeable so I asked if this was his first Camino. He told me it was his second. Then he told me he finished his first with his wife in June 2019. Upon their return home he told her he wanted to go back and do it alone. Her response? Of course! She was already thinking of returning next year alone.

The second question?

Why are you doing the Camino?

The answers here are all over the place.

I walked the Camino after my first wife died and now I want to share the Camino with my new wife.

I quit my job and I’m trying to figure out what comes next in my life.

I’ve wanted to do this for 40 years and this year I’m doing it.

Today I met a Norwegian woman who said that she wanted to be more intentional about expressing gratitude for everything that God has done in her life. Her answer gave me a gentle pause. I don’t feel particularly grateful for the blisters on my foot, but I am grateful for her wise words and conversation that carried me along and made me forget my blisters 🙂

People say two things about the Camino: the Camino will provide and, express gratitude for all the Camino gives you.

Gracias Camino!

DAY 12 WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER

•September 13, 2019 • 2 Comments

There is a legend on the Camino that is associated with the town of Santo Domingo. The story goes that a couple and their son are making the pilgrimage to Santiago. They stop in Santo Domingo where the daughter of the innkeeper falls in love with the son. Unfortunately he rejects her advances so she decides to hide a silver cup in his sack and accuse him of a crime. The next day the parents start out and the son somewhat later. He is stopped and searched and the cup is found. The punishment for theft is hanging. Sometime after the execution the parents realize that their son has not kept up with them so they backtrack to find him. When they discover he has been hanged Santiago (St. James) appears to them and tells them he is still alive. The parents run to the judicial official of the town to tell him that Santiago has declared their son to be alive. It so happens that this official is sitting down to a dinner of roasted chicken. Having witnessed the execution the official tells them that their son is as dead as the chicken on his plate, at which the roasted chicken rises up from the plate clucking.

I’m told but cannot confirm, that this story is so beloved that a hen and a rooster are always kept in the Cathedral of Santo Domingo.

DAY 11 CLEANLINESS IS DIFFICULT ON THE CAMINO

•September 11, 2019 • 2 Comments

A gift from the rental agency

We have been staying in some very nice hotels along the Camino much nicer than the albergues or even most of the other hotels and bed & breakfasts along the way. Two nights ago my husband said he thought the hotel was definitely less nice than any of the others. I was confused by this proclamation. There were two twin beds to sleep in and they were comfortable. Plus the sink had a stopper so I could wash clothes out and the balcony had a clothesline with clothes pins. A luxury!

The Camino has been more crowded than anticipated so tonight the only accommodation we could find was an apartment. It has a washing machine! So I put all my clothes in the washer, wrapped myself in a towel, poured myself a glass of wine, and watched Legally Blonde on my phone.

I guess some days I’m not very profound, but at least my clothes are clean 🤗

DAY 10 LIFE & DEATH ON THE CAMINO

•September 10, 2019 • 2 Comments

Today was not the prettiest day on the Camino. It was a short walk from Logrono to Navarette, about 8 miles and it drizzled rain with a pretty good head wind. The Camino also took us along the highway so we were accompanied by the sounds of cars and truck racing by. But life has its ugly parts too doesn’t it. Pain, illness, broken relationships, and more. You just keep moving on the Camino and things will change.

Today was also interesting because we passed by the fence of crosses.

This part of the Camino stretches for a couple of kilometers. At first there is a long a part of just fence with these crosses. Pretty soon though the grapevines and wild berries start to grow through the fence so that the crosses are obscured.

Some of the crosses have the names of loved ones with a date, but most are just simple sticks woven into the fence.

I wonder if the crosses speak of a particular death of someone or the death of some hope or dream. Or could the empty crosses speak of a resurrection in the life of the pilgrim who left it?

Tonight Navarete is home

Buon Camino!

DAY 9

•September 10, 2019 • 6 Comments

I am beginning to see the walking, or maybe hobbling, wounded. Knee and ankle braces are appearing. Road rash is peeking out from beneath bandages. One woman has her wrist and one finger bandaged up. She took a bad fall back in Roncevalles, but she’s still moving. This morning we saw a man with his whole head and nose bandaged up. He is bicycling the Camino and took a header over his handlebars.

Even I have a couple of blisters but they are healing nicely and don’t bother me much.

On a more pleasant note we left the Navarro region and entered Rioja.

Rioja is a big wine region. We’ve already seen vineyards dotting the hills, but now we can expect to see more of the actual wineries.

Buon Camino!

Day 8 A MILESTONE DAY

•September 8, 2019 • 3 Comments

Or is it a kilometer-stone day?

Today was a big day on multiple levels. It was a long walk from Estella to Los Arcos. 14.5 miles. Miles vs. kilometers? The distance in kilometers my Australian friends tell me is so much more impressive and because a kilometer is less than a mile and it goes faster. At any rate a goal was achieved.

See the stamp on my credential in the lower left hand corner? Yes I have walked 100 kilometers since Roncevalles the first stop in Spain. I was shocked! And of course that doesn’t include the kilometers walked from St. Jean Pied de Port. It was a very good feeling.

I got the stamp outside of Estella from a blacksmith.

Since today is Sunday he wasn’t doing any forging, but he was out to stamp credentials and to show his wares. And then I saw this

I know the Camino is not about accumulation of stuff. If anything it is about getting rid of stuff. Remember Teresa of Avila and George Carlin 😉 Modern pilgrims usually have a scallop shell attached to their backpacks to designate themselves as pilgrims. Because the earlier pilgrims would take a shell from Santiago or Finesterre as a souvenir of their pilgrimage I have decided to get a shell there. But in the meantime I have this hand forged shell with the cross of St. James to celebrate 100 kilometers.

My second cause to celebrate came about 5 minutes after I left the blacksmith. There is a monastery that has a fountain. It’s called the Fountain of Irache. On the right is a spigot that pours water and on the left is a spigot that pour wine.

These are gifts the monks provide for the pilgrims. Sadly some take advantage and fill their water bottles so the pilgrims behind have none. I was lucky enough (since it was about 9:30 am) to pour enough for a taste into my cup. I feel blessed to partake in this tradition that has endured hundreds of years.

Tomorrow will be another long day. This time 17 miles. How I wish that were kilometers. And there are two steep descents.

Buon Camino!