“The Camino will provide” is one of the phrases most often heard especially when someone expresses a worry about something. I have two stories from today about how the Camino provides.
Today we walked from Zubiri to Huarte, about 12 miles. We had planned to stop in a little town at about mile #6, but when we got there, there was only one cafe and it was crowded so we decided to walk another mile to the next town and get lunch there. So we did and when we got there we just didn’t see anything available.
Now those of you who know me, know that I like to eat and I really hate to miss a meal. On top of that my water bottle was below the halfway point and I didn’t think I had enough to get to Huarte. So we were walking along a narrow path and suddenly around the bend there was a man with a cooler full of drinks and a pile of bananas and oranges. But there was no vehicle there, no indication of how he got there, but there he was and I was so happy and relieved. I bought a bottle of water and a banana and gave gratitude in my heart for these provisions. And he really wanted to make sure I knew that his bananas were from Nicaragua. 🙂
Upon arriving in Huarte I was very tired and to be honest my feet were hurting. We weren’t 100% sure where our hotel was, but we did think we were in the vicinity. We saw a “cafeteria” and stopped to eat and gather our thoughts. When we were leaving a young man and a woman approached us. He spoke English saying that the woman recognized us as pilgrims and that we were a little lost. She heard the name of our hotel and knew that it is right next to her home and she would show us how to get there.
My Spanish is nearly non-existent, this woman and managed to talk and I’d say I understood about 75% of what she said. And I think I was able to make myself understood a bit too. It was wonderful and again I gave thanks for the kindness of others.
Today I came across a black metal cross with a gold plaque that said
End of the Camino
Rosinna de Verona
I didn’t take a picture because it seemed too sacred. I wonder who was Rosinna and why was she on the Camino. Did she die of some long lingering disease? Did she have a sudden stroke? Or did she die of a broken heart that she was hoping to mend on the camino? Was she happy when she died? Was she surrounded by pilgrim friends?
And who put the cross there? Family? Friends? An unrequited lover?
Was her name Rosinna de Verona or was she simply Rosinna from the town of Verona in Italy?
All I know is that she was a pilgrim, she died, and someone cared enough to commemorate the place of her death with a cross.
So after the debacle of the ugly Americans I had the occasion to hear what others from different countries had to say and it was not a flattering account of our country. Nonetheless it’s over, done, and perhaps grace will prevail.
Today’s journey was again difficult, but not as difficult. We left France and crossed over the border in to Spain. Here I am trying to leap for Joy at the frontier.
We were told the roads would be rolling hills, but they seemed to be more steady climbs and descents. The last two miles into Zubiri were described as “treacherous” and that is very accurate.
It was a very steep down hill on a path strewn with big rocks. It was painful to the feet and the rocks could be slippery. But if we had had a cafeteria tray we might have been able to slide down. Or it might be a good place to install a zip line.
After all that we did make it into Zubiri and our hotel was very nice
This house was built in 1677 and the oak floors are original. We finally had a very good night’s sleep.
But before that we went out in search of dinner and met up with our new friends Gunny & Antone from Holland. We had a great dinner together. Sadly as we compared schedules and hotels we probably won’t see each other for the rest of the Camino. But we have pledged to try and stay in contact.
Today I caught my first glimpse of the not-so-elusive species…the ugly American. The coffee machine wasn’t working and these women wanted their ☕️! I’m sure the waitress’ English was better than their apparent non-existent Spanish, but she was alone serving about 70 hikers speaking at least 10 different languages in 2 dining rooms. AND someone had just broken a glass that needed cleaning up.
Maybe the word of the day should be grace. Or at least please.
Today was the second day for climbing mountains. The altitude gain was the same as yesterday, but at a lower grade. But make no mistake, it was up and it was continuously up. The thing is just when I got tired and had to stop I would look around and see the most magnificent sights.
“Oh my goodness!” Was my phrase of the day 😮
Of course there were other sights to see as well. We had to be very careful where we walked because the road was filled with horse poop, cow patties, sheep dip, and something that looked suspiciously like very dark blueberries, but didn’t smell like blueberries at all 💩
We also crossed over the frontier from France into Spain.
Here I am at the border trying to jump for joy 😄
This truly is an amazing place. My friend Gaye described it as magical and she’s right. It’s so beautiful and I almost hate to take a picture because I know that a photograph will never capture the immense beauty of this place.
For now it’s dinner time and after we will go to the church for the blessing of the pilgrims. I guess I am becoming a pilgrim.
So none of the 10 plagues happened today and I did make it to our first stop Orisson. It was only 5.5 miles and I don’t have the exact elevation but my tracker tells me I climbed 82 stories. To give you a visual…
Somewhere down there in the distance is St. Jean Pied de Port, the starting point. To give you another visual of the beginning of the camino…
This is the Gate of St. James, a UNESCO site
I can’t begin to describe to you the people who are walking the camino: two brothers who started in the western most part of France and who walk the Camino once a week (they’ll cross over in to Spain today), a Dutch couple who live in France now are walking with their little dog, the man in a kilt who is walking the Camino barefooted, and a man from Australia who had the forethought to pack a baguette for his lunch.
I hope to see these people again and for now I will treasure their images and remember that we are all on the Camino.
I will also apologize for the poor writing and lack of better placement of the photos. There is so much to show and tell, and wifi/cell are limited.
There are two sayings in French…ok, definitely a lot more than just two sayings, but I’m just contemplating these two…
Now you might think that the first saying means to be brave and the second to have heart, and you would be incorrect.
The French in their linguistic logic have the opposite meaning for those two phrases. In fact avoir courage carries a connotation of having fortitude, the wherewithal to keep going.
I’ve been thinking a lot about courage and being brave. This is the eve of the beginning of the Camino. For the past week I’ve been waking up with an upset stomach just thinking about this day. I know these are butterflies of fear and I am afraid of this mysterious walk that lies ahead.
Today we are in Bayonne, France and we leave in an hour and a half for St. Jean Pied de Port the departure point for the Camino Frances. We had lunch in the park, a sandwich made with Bayonne ham and a bottle of cider. I struck up a conversation with the woman next to us who was out for a walk with her dog. I love dogs and can’t help myself when I get the chance to pet one. Ok, plus I’m talkative 😉
During our chat she asked if we were on vacation and I told her we were on our way to walk the Camino. As we parted she waved and said, “Bon Courage!” For a moment fear grabbed ahold of me but then I remembered she was wishing me the will, the heart to carry on. And that has been the crux of my fear. Can I carry on?
Truthfully the answer is neither I nor anyone else knows if I’ll have the heart to persevere. But I do know this, I will face that fear tomorrow and probably every day on the Camino. And that’s ok because it’s not brave to do something you’re not afraid of.
The mountains in the distance is where we will be tomorrow.
My sign-in at the Pilgrim’s Information Center. It looks shaky because the pen wasn’t very good.
I’ve been captivated by that altar and try to visit it as often as possible when I walk in the park. The closer my trip becomes the more I think about it. So much so that I felt drawn to add to it. This weekend our two granddaughters were with us and we decided to go to the metro park.
I chose a rock from the ones we brought back from our trip to Zanesville. After looking over all the rocks we brought back, this time one did speak to me. So I decided to introduce it to the altar.
It seemed happy there and I offered up a prayer for the Camino and whatever we might find along the way. Then our granddaughters asked to add their own rocks to the altar. I’m not sure they really knew what they were doing but I am sure that God took those gifted rocks and showered blessings on them.
I will take my small rock and offer it at the Ferro Cruz, and hopefully my little Zanesville rock will continue to anchor me to my home.
A son says to his father, ” Dad, what I’d really like for my birthday is a car.”
Now the father thinks long and hard about this. Finally he says, “Son, if you want a car you’ll have to work hard for it. There are three things you’ll have to do.
1. Your grades need to come up.
2. Your mother is tired of nagging you so you’ll have to keep your room clean.
3. You’ll have to get a haircut”
The two shake hands
A few months later the son broaches the subject again. “Dad I’d like to talk about getting a car again. I’ve worked hard and brought my grades up to a B+ average and I’ve kept my room neat and clean. I know you said I had to get a haircut but I’ve been thinking about that. Jesus wore his hair long and I think I should be able to keep my hair long too.”
The father thought carefully and said, “Son we are proud of your grades and how you’ve kept your room clean. And I hear what you say about Jesus. But son you need to remember…
Jesus walked everywhere!”
I wish I could credit whoever first told that joke but I can’t. All I can do is laugh when I think of it.
This weekend we had the great privilege of keeping our two oldest grandchildren (ages 4 and 5) over night. Mom and Dad were attending a conference hosted by CureSMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) a genetic disorder which our younger granddaughter suffers from.
Because I often see the girls 2-3 times a week I worry about the extended time we will be away from them while we are going to be on the Camino. So I took the time this weekend to try and explain where we are going, why we are going, and what we will be doing. Essentially I told them that we were going to take a walk with God because we haven’t spent much time with God lately, and that we would be walking 500 miles. I tried to put 500 miles in perspective for them. I’m not sure how good of a job I did explaining.
In the end I asked if they understood and after a pause our oldest granddaughter said, “Sure. You’re going to get your steps in.”