Kilometres walked today: 27.5
Total kilometres walked so far: 96.5
Once I finally fell asleep I must have slept deeply, because I woke up feeling rested and refreshed. This was a good thing, as I had a big climb ahead of me today up to the Alto de Pardon (the Mount of Forgiveness).
At the start of the day, I slipped a little white stone in my pocket – one that a friend had asked me to carry on this trip. The theory is to pour that person’s sorrows into the stone, and then at some point leave it on the Camino and thus leave his or her troubles behind. I carried the stone all morning, thinking about my friend, asking that she felt loved and that she be able to do her life’s work without financial worry. I left the small rock on a monument at the top of the mountain.
I passed a very overweight man who was struggling with the steep path. Sweat was pouring down his face. Someone later saw him stopped for a rest, smoking a cigarette. Truely a heart attack waiting to happen. I don’t know if he ever made it to Santiago or not as I never saw him again.
I also came across Emily and Candice, the two women from the U.S. who I had met my first day. Everyone has their own way of doing the Camino and these two were staying in hotels instead of albergues and sending their very large packs ahead by taxi each day. I was delighted to see them again and we walked for a couple of hours together, getting caught up on each other’s news. Travelling with Emily is like walking with a curious toddler – she wants to stop and examine every flower, bug, etc. Quite refreshing in our hectic-paced world.
At the top of the mountain, the view was breathtaking. I was excited to see the large wrought iron art installation of a group of pilgrims heading west. It’s something I had seen in many photos during my Camino research and now I was seeing it in person. And there was another welcomed site too: a man who was selling food and drinks out of his van. I bought a potato omelette stuffed in French bread. Delicious!
After resting for a bit it was time to make the steep descent, which had my left knee protesting loudly. I tried the healing techniques that Edda has shown me. It did seem to relieve the pain somewhat (or was that all in my head?).
After walking through some gorgeous well kept villages and passing acres and acres of asparagus fields and vinyards, I had a decision to make. Did I feel up to taking a detour to the little church at Eunate? It was a few kilometres out of my way and while it was a very hot afternoon I had heard the church was one of the gems of the Camino. I decided to go for it. It turned out to be a very good decision.