It’s funny how much of life really depends on perspective.
I just did my laundry by hand yet again, and commented that I will be so appreciative to be back home and be able to do my laundry with a machine. I often mentally complain about laundry because I have to go all the way downstairs in my apartment building and hope there are free washers and driers and pay.
Hand washing laundry is a good perspective check.
Today’s walk was 30 kilometres, and in some pretty hot weather. I kind of figured I’d be walking through really hot weather, but it’s been surprising the number of cold days we’ve had. Weather seems to be either quite hot or quite cold. Perspective-wise, it could always be worse weather. It could be pouring! (Kind of expecting that as I cross mountains tomorrow into Galicia!)
30 kilometres used to be daunting. It was really hard as recently as day 18, walking a long time in the hot sun. But my body continues to adjust and grow stronger. My calves and quads are quite sore from yesterday’s descent, but the muscle pain gives rise to prayers of thanks that we’re not descending like that today.
And the mountains. Today’s walk was all in the valley of the El Bierzo region. We started almost at one end of the valley and walked and walked toward the other end. Huge mountains towered on all sides. Behind were the mountains from yesterday, and ahead lie the mountains for tomorrow.
I had a great moment, climbing a hill and finally seeing a significant town around lunch. It was finally clear just which mountains we were going to climb tomorrow. I had a moment of laughter at seeing them. A sense of expectation for what lies beyond (Galicia and Santiago!). A sense of joy a how far I’ve come and how much I’ve learned. A sense of peace about climbing them tomorrow. Jesus, you’ve got lots of opportunities to teach me to do hard things, I thought.
I had lunch in the village at the end of the valley. Then I pushed onward another 8 kilometres, because I’d rather do the majority of the climbing tomorrow at the beginning of the day, not end. Leaving Villafranca (named so, btw, because Franks came to live there after originally coming through on the Camino!), we left the valley proper and started through the pass between mountains. We took some really winding roads along a river with the hills and cliffs rising up and towering over us on both sides. Really beautiful scenery. It reminded me of parts of New Brunswick, except more deciduous trees here than coniferous.
I walked from Villafranca to this village, Trabadelo, with an American woman. She kept the pace quite quick, but I appreciated that because it was so hot and meant we’d arrive sooner. And the company are the walk in the heat of the day much more enjoyable. It’s funny how Camino conversations can be very meaningful and very personal so quickly. I just met this woman today, but she knows about a lot of my hopes and dreams for the future! There is also a freedom in sharing things with someone you may never see again.
There is a Camino expression, that if you walk the Camino with lifelong friends, it may break up your friendship. But you may also find lifelong friends on the Camino. I am grateful to am the people that I have met and all the things I have learned from them. Relationships are unique here, and I will miss that a little when back at home.
Well, time for a little siesta. I deserve one after 30 kilometres, and it will help prepare me for tomorrow’s mountain climbing, right?!