Wednesday Oct 26. Villapedre to La Caridad. 5 hours, 19.6km.
We left El Pinar at 8.21am (sunrise was 8.54am), a nice facility that had a kitchen area with a microwave, coffee & beverage vending machines. We were able to heat up some meat pastries as our breakfast.
The street lamps were still on as we left El Pinar, walked about 100m of the main town center before exiting onto country roads. There is enough light reflected from the sky that it was not pitch dark on the country roads. The odds of pre-sunrise walks when we return to our usual routine might be very low. I should ask myself, “Why?”, if it’s so enjoyable and allows one to break the daily routine and taste a different slice of life.
Camino routes are designed to lead one past various churches/iglesias, ermitas/capillas, etc. Today was no exception. When they are open, we will stop in. The vast majority are centuries old, though we came across a fairly modern parish in La Caridad.
On the Camino, one has to be open to ‘signs’. That’s either a primary or secondary reason that people walk the Camino, and not some outdoor trail with great scenic views. The simplicity of the villages and towns that one passes through, the natural beauty around and adjusting one’s walking pace and internal rhythms, does open up one’s receptivity.
I had various signs during the earlier stages, and I will share one that seemed to ‘shout out’ at me today. As you read, my post yesterday was themed, “Listening to Others’, and ended with a penultimate sentence about the ‘wise one’.
Lo and behold, during today’s walk, I sighted on THREE occasions, statues of ‘Owls’. I did some Internet research on why owls supposedly represent wisdom.
The owl was a symbol for Athena, goddess of wisdom and strategy, before the Greeks gave their pantheon human forms. According to myth, an owl sat on Athena’s blind side, so that she could see the whole truth. In Ancient Greece, the owl was a symbol of a higher wisdom, and it was also a guardian of the Acropolis.
Our walk today took us past many farms, open countryside and parallel residential pathways next to a major road, N-634.
During our lunch, prior to checking in, Joon double checked and realized the 38.8 km of the last stage would be too large to handle comfortably. So, we decided to change our stay the night before this last stage and walk more the second last stage. On checking in, I explored three possible options. The first two options did not work out and I was on the last option. Lo and behold, there was ONE room left on Booking.com! Net, we were short to split the 61km of the last two stages from 22km/39km to 33km/28km. We would arrive in Santiago earlier in the afternoon on our final leg. A much better proposition.
It’s difficult, no, it’s impossible to explain the how’s of the Camino. It just is.