Guernica – Bilbao. 8 hours.
As I woke up at 6.30am this morning, there was a bit of listlessness. The question that seemed to lurk in the back of my mind was where was that joy? The answer came later during the morning walk. We had our usual yogurt and were fortunate to find a panaderia near our place that was open at 7.40am. Nothing beats fresh pastry early in the morning.
As we leave Gurnica, it would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention the historic significance of this town. It was the first town that was devastated by three hours of war time bombing by the Nazis in April 1937. The Spanish artist Pablo Picasso painted the anti-war painting known as “Guernica.” A tapestry copy hangs outside the UN Security Council to remind the need for peace.
The walk out of Guernica was pleasant, well marked and passing a park. They had a nice pilgrim sculpture to send you off.
The first part of the hike is a great balance of enough effort without over exertion. It gets the heart pumping, the lungs drawing in the fresh air. The endomorphin and adrenaline are rushing through the system. It’s a climb of 300m over 5 km. Through the wooded trails (a small stretch of muddy paths and stones, but after which had stretches like the PNW, dirt paths with pine needles).
So, where was the joy? Clearly the series of pictures highlight the joy of experiencing such beauty. But Joon put her finger on it – when we experience God’s presence.
We climbed higher to 1050 feet before descending. It pays to pause and study the various signboards placed for our benefit.
We did lose our way and went off track significantly, namely extended lots of energy going uphill for a stretch until we came to a fork and there were no Yellow Arrows. This cannot be! We had to backtrack almost 1/2 km to a fork where we had overlooked the Yellow Arrow on a signboard that was partially covered by hanging branches. Two life lessons – it’s never too late to back track when one is heading the wrong way; and when one comes to a fork, pause, pause and discern before deciding.
There was a long stretch of pavement walking next to a not so busy arterial road. The temperature was 26C or 78.8F. We walked all the way to Lezama, a total distance of about 21km. We then realized that in this heat, we would be foolish to attempt hiking up 300m and descending over 5km. We caught a bus into Bilbao. Which gave us time to rest and catch an early dinner,
When one is on a pilgrimage, one has to decide which is in charge – our self or God? Sometimes our Ego gets in the way.