Tuesday November 1. Miraz to Sobrado dos Monxes. 6 hours 33 mins. 25.5km.
A typical Galician breakfast consists of espresso and tostada (toasted bread) with olive oil and (fresh) tomato paste. We had latter fresh before but on this occasion, our lodging provided this in single serving Jan containers.
Today’s walk was shorter than yesterday, and in better weather. But what was more important for us was whether we had recovered sufficiently from yesterday’s effort. We passed that test. Co-incidentally, the sum total of yesterday’s and today’s mileage is the same as the last two stages, namely 61km! This increases our confidence about our walking ability for the last two stages.
While this stage takes us to the highest point in the Del Norte at about 2,300 feet, we were already starting at about 1,600 feet!
The first 4km were reported in the guidebook as ‘some of the last scenic off-pavement walking on the Norte.’ Yes, it was. And we took a leisurely pace at that.
The purported tallest height of the Norte was given to us in mostly gentle gradients along pathways. There were some steep inclines along forested paths but this was really insignificant relative to everything we had experienced in earlier stages. Thus, today’s walk was relaxing.
The relaxing walk today allowed for some pondering. Refinement is a process of removing impurities or unwanted elements from a substance. My thoughts gravitated not to the impurities, but the pure essence that results from this process.
There is a term used for benchmarking, namely the ‘gold standard.’ IMO, the experiences walking the Camino helps refine us and our ‘standards.’ What gets refined is unique for each of us.
I toyed in my mind various gold standards that I possess and (intuitively, sub-consciously) apply in my life. For example, what is my gold standard for compassion? For humbleness? For generosity? For forgiveness?
It’s not only the absolute measure in a standard that’s important. But its integrity too. For example, when we profess certain humanitarian values or compassion standard but balk at homeless shelters in our neighborhood, we lack integrity.
Christians have a universal gold standard. It is Christ’s life, teachings and commands.
Lastly, the Camino experience can sometimes continue during one’s sleep. Two days ago, part of my contemplation and prayer during my walk was on that self-purifying [refinement]. That night I had a dream that was specific to that afternoon’s self purification prayer! It was as though the dream was either affirming the correctness of what needed to be purified or was part of the purification process! I am hoping it’s the latter! Furthermore, I dreamt of my wife’s deceased parents. I have never dreamt of either of them before, let alone the two of them together in the same dream. I will find out when we next meet the meaning of this dream!
We ended our evening by attending Vespers at the monastery. A lovely way to end a relaxing and contemplative day.