Apr 8. Day 13. 38 km. Departed 0650 hours, arrived 1602 hours.
If my earlier posts had lulled you into thinking the Camino is all about the scenery, this post will rectify that.
The Camino is about You. Your Life. Your Purpose. What You Are, and Are Capable Of. Your Spiritual Essence. Your Relationship with God if You Believe In One.
This is the earliest start on this Camino. It was still dark, and fortunately, a couple of German pilgrims passed us with a torch and fluorescent rain ponchos (easily seen).
We made a tactical decision not to bring our rain jackets (to save weight given the distance we would cover today). This was a strategic mistake.
Before describing the day, let me share the dream I had the night before. It was about me and a group finding Fools’ gold and Real gold, hiding latter from another group. It seems many of us wonder if what we are pursuing is Fools gold or Real gold. The scripture even says to store treasures in Jeaven, not on Earth. What will help us differentiate?
We met Suzanne, a recently retired Lutheran pastor from Skagit Valley, Washington State, USA. We both were thrilled meeting someone on a pilgrimage too. We parted ways when we had to have our hot breakfast for the morning, 1 hour 30 mins after setting off.
Today was Wet, Cold and (physically) Miserable. The scenery was unspectacular. The uphill climb was over loose stones and pebbles, likewise with the downhill but with small streams of water flowing down. There was long stretches of muddy trails. The headwinds were blustery. It was overcast most of the day, with nary a ray of sunshine. We had to shelter under a tree when it rained.
Thus, everything today was aligned to test one’s faith, trust and fortitude. Perhaps, one can even find Joy in the Wet, Cold & Miserable state as there’s something better to look forward to.
This early sign when it was dark really set the tone. It seemed a heavenly reminder.
Note the advice in bottom left corner before it was light.
The uphill against headwinds was tough.
We saw Mick, a Brit in a cafe having coffee. Trust Brits to bring the necessary to have a cup of tea.
It was a slog. The feet dragged. The mind was lulled into a stupor for stretches. The legs were on auto-pilot.
The wetness dried. The wind died down. The birds chirped. The sun broke through.
Then the wind blew in great guests and the hail came down. The road stretched. But this eventually passed, and the spirits lifted.
Today tested more than the physical bodies. It tested the mental, the emotional, the spiritual. How good a best friend are you to yourself? To your traveling companion? Can you always see the silver lining to any situation, even as you feel the pain? You will learn a lot about yourself on a day like today.
The day did end with a bright clear sky. Thus, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.
So, the day ends with us knowing what we are capable of. But more importantly, knowing that God and Spirit were walking alongside us.
We treated ourselves to a fantastic dinner at our lodging. Enough walking. Buenas Noches.
1. Jacobtrans, the luggage transfer services that we used, can actually recommend lodgings since they know these facilities as they have to deliver backpacks/luggage. They actually recommended a lodging when they realized I may prefer something closer than what I had booked (their recommendation was not on Booking.com).
2. If you are willing to walk all the way to Ibeas de Juarros, I would recommend La Cabala de Ibeas. Her breakfast which is included in the room rate was the best so far. Real OJ, jambron ham on mini baguettes, her open toasted bread, biscuits and coffee. She had fruits too! The dinner was good too, black pudding (i.e. blood sausage, eggs, ham, fries, toast bread, bottle of wine).
Post Script: There was no point stewing in the decision not to carry our rain jackets. It became an opportunity for prayer and trust that we can cope with God’s help. But once bitten, twice shy.