April 16, 2016 – Saturday
This is for those following my blog that do not have Facebook. I have been better posting in real time on Facebook that I have arrived and am safe. The blog post takes longer to upload the photos so I am several days behind in the blog, but up to date with Facebook. That doesn’t seem fair, so from now on I will post a quick message where I am, and upload one or two photos. The details will come later.
13.6 miles Started at 7:00 a.m. – arrived in the rain at 3:30 p.m.
Rosie and I and a young German girl and I start out together at 7 am. We did not buy the pilgrim’s breakfast but bought food at a little store and are carrying it with us. I initially did not want to carry food as I am carrying enough weight as it is but the idea of not having to stop for food was appealing. At many albergues they have an area where people leave things. You can take something from this box if you need it. I found a purse in this box, a light weight plastic purse and took it to use as my lunch box. I thought if I strapped it to my “belly bag” it would keep the weight off my back
Off we start going downhill – oh how wonderful – everyone said the worse is over. I start the day filed with joy and optimism to be walking in the early sunshine peaking through the trees. We are on a wooded path. Walking carefully around mud puddles. The path opens up in justa little while and we pass lots of pereginos getting coffee and breakfast at a little cafe. We wave and say “Buen Camino..” I recognize many of them. We lose our young German girl here as she stops at a market for food..
We are in the beautiful basque farmland. Their Spanish is different but somehow we communicate. Everyone is so friendly, wanting to help and serve the pelegrinos.
As we walk Rosie tells me she is worried about some clothing she left in a hotel on her journey here form Germany. She asks me if I will call the hotel for her because they speak French and English only. She is very anxious about this and I assure her I will call when we take a little break and we decide on the time of 10 a.m.
Speaking of lunch, I know I have made a mistake with the light little plastic purse dangling from my waist. With the food in it,it probably weighs 3 or 4 lbs. and it is swinging and slapping back and forth against my thigh sometimes throwing me off balance as I try and step across mud puddles. Note to self-don’t do this again..
Although we ar going down into a valley, in this photo we just came up a steep incline and once again I am passed by quickly by other pereginos. The wet leaves and the mud create a situation to be careful not to slip and fall. Rosie is still waiting patiently as she is always about 5 steps ahead of me.
I am not afraid of heights but this was a little tricky for me to step over the space while walking across those blocks. I have hiking poles in one hand and a plastic purse heavy with food in the other (to keep it from slapping on my leg and knocking me over). When I look down to watch my footing the rushing water almost makes me dizzy. I am so glad to reach the other side safely.
As we roll into Vizkarett our fellow pilgrims are ahead of us and happily enjoying food and beverages in a bar, sitting in the sunshine. I make the phone call for Rosie only to get an answering machine speaking French. I told her, “No worries – we can find someone who speaks French to help us.” She pleaded with me to ask someone, that she was too shy. Anyhow, I think that is what her German meant. I got the “you” part. I just went around the outdoor tables asking for someone who spoke French and found a young English woman who spoke fluent French and the problem was solved. This young woman understood the message, called a different number and the hotel would hold onto Rosie’s clothes until she returned. I ditched the plastic purse in the trash at the bar and hung a plastic grocery bag with the food in it to my belly bag. I filled up my water bottle from an outdoor faucet with the help of two mean loading lumber helping me. My breakfast had been the other half of my cheese sandwich from the day before, my lunch was an apple as I chomped away while we left the bar.
Five minutes later I am feeling a tightness in my chest. It is an odd feeling I have never felt before, I drink water to try and relieve it. It feels like my apple is stuck in my chest. I can breathe okay well sort of, in short breaths. I sit down on a stone wall, Rosie is looking scared asking me if I am okay. I motion with my hands “just a minute” not wanting to say no because I know she worries a lot. I am not okay. I am choking. A Korean girl sitting on the wall comes over and starts rubbing my back. Just gently rubbing and without any effort up comes the appl. How embarrassing to come all the way to Spain to choke for the first time in my life and to be rescued by a lovely young girl who traveled all the way from So Korea. Another drink of water and I am okay and we are on our way. A good thing there was a grassy area behind the stone wal to dispose of my upchuck.
It is now time to climb out of that beautiful valley. We pass lovely pastures filled with horses and then start climbing. I encourage Rosie to go on without me. She wants to get to Santiago in 30 days and I have 30 days to get to Sarria (100 km before Santiago). She cannot wait for me. I walk the rest of the day alone. I climb out of the valley and into the pines. My backpack is heavy and I try to distract myself with singing. In my mind. I try “Onward Christian Soldiers”. I try lots of old songs from my teenage years at First Baptist Church of Ramona. I try Rock and Roll. Once the backpack was so heavy I thought of Jesus carrying a cross up the hill. After all this is a pilgrimage. I tried everything I could to stop the negative self criticism that takes over. Why am I not better after all my training? Why am I so weak? Why can’t I do this better. I go back and forth from beating myself up to looking around and seeing the beauty of the pines. I try to stay in gratitude. Thankful that I am healthy enough to be here in this beauty, thanking God forthe strength and finances and time. I have much work to do with character building.
The plastic grocery bag has twisted and twisted itself so I tuck it behind my belly bad and decide I have to eat everything in it, which now consists of a cucumber, some strawberries and a few protein bars.
I am walking downhill now and it is starting to sprinkle . By the time I get to Zubiri it is raining hard. I have on my Tilley hat, rain pant and raincoat. I go int the first albergue I can find and it is full. The lady sends me to one down the street. Before I go outside I put my poncho on as it is pouring. Pilgrims are in line trying to get into the municipal albergue. I get a bed for 8 Euros and try to settle in. Grateful to be out of the rain.
I find out that the bathroom is outside but it is okay – for now I am out of the rain and have a bed for the night. Day 3 was very hard for me it it is over. I am grateful!
(Please excuse any typos in an effort to post this I haste.)