Well, today we are in Lavacolla; our last night before reaching Santiago. We had 9.5 km to walk today which turned out to be 10. Not a big deal at all. However, we did take four hours to make the journey. We took our time first of all (and we did take some longer breakers too) but...it seemed to be all up hill. Well...it didn´t just ''seem'' to be all up hill it was 75% up hill.
As we were walking out of town we saw a sign ''Ablergue''. I laughed to myself and said to Elena, ''I think I made a wrong turn at Albergue.'' Without missing a beat she replied, ''Ok Bugs''. I thought to myself, what on earth is she talking about 'bugs'. It took me a few seconds but I did get it. hahahaha She got my joke a whole lot sooner though.
Once we got out of town, we travelled through the country side. It was cool so I was glad I had my long sleeve t-shirt on but as we got into the sun it was warm, so I took my shirt off. Back into the shaden area and I put my shirt back on. And then it happen....we started a climb. I believe it worked out to be almost 3km up a mountain at what felt like a 45 degree incline. OMG I wondered if it was ever going to end. And now I was hot again, so....off came the shirt. I tied it on my back pack so I could use it to wipe the sweat from my face as I had lost my Camino 'dude rag' the other day. My grandma (nana Eva) use to say ladies don't sweat - the glissen. Sorry gram either I'm no lady or we DO sweat. I wasn't just glissening - I was down right dripping! Thankfully it was still early. I´t would have been a challenge to do that hike in the sun during the heat of the day; for sure! In truth it was a nice balance between sun and shade and most all was we walked on a natural earth path. While the upgrade walk was taxing it was truly an amazing walk.
Finally we reached the top of the mountain (Sound of Music thoughts again - when you see the family walking across the mountain top) where we stopped to have some breakfast. While it was included in our room it was half a sub bun toasted with your choice of a coffee or orange juice or water, does not a breakfast make. I'm telling you - breakfasts for hikers - here its not the same as I had expected. We took quite a long break here and took some time to just take in the past 7 days. Our Irish friend arrived and sat for a while and then the German couple joined us. It was nice to share reflections. We talked about how we'd each met so many people from so many different countries and how nice everyone was. Of course that's partly because we are walking the Camino, so we have that commonality but...we don't all have the same religious background or even the same political points of view. What we all do have is....the simple truth - knowing. First and far most we ARE people. By our soul or core truth, people are good and we want good for each other no matter where a person comes from, what their religious or political belief is or what their physical or intellectual abilities are. .......then we parted ways again.
From this point the path leveled off. We found ourselves walking between fields again with the highway rushing beneath us and planes flying over head. It was a very perplex sensation. I felt like I was walking in the eye of the storm. I seemed to be walking in a protective bubble of serentity while chaos was swirling all around. I'm sure many of you can relate to that state of being in your own way.
Our walking notes are a bit off, I think, on a few points of interest. They said the mile markers would end at Amenal however they went on a while longer; another 3km in fact. The 13km mile marker ended up being the last marker. Interesting...we flew out of Toronto on Friday July 13!!!! Some would say coinsidence, but I (and many soul coaches) would say...it is not. I've always found Friday the 13th a calming day and many good things happen for me on those days. The 13 also felt like the end of a chapter for me as our plane took off and here it was again #13 - the end of the mile markers. The end of the tool I used to ensure I was on track; a comfort/crutch if you will. Now, my material security was gone. For some that may be scary but for me...it was simply the end of yet something else. Now I move forward with the new.
We entered the Lavacolla limits. In was a very beautiful water spot with a rust coloured water fall. As I took some photos, I said to Elena, this area smells a bit of sulfer. At that point we wondered if this was the 'river' the pilgrims washed their neck and faces in. There was no sign or anything in reference this point of interest to suggest we were right or wrong. We didn´t really care. It was lovely and I took a photo. Around the next bend was another cafe. We stopped and enjoyed a rest and ice-cream treat. Mine was half ice-cream sandwich and ice-cream bar while Elena enjoyed a white chocolate with almonds vanilla ice cream bar. While we were their the lady owner freaked out. Screaming and crying. Through the chaos, Elena understood the woman´s father had disappeared and that he was ill - altizmers. As the events unfolded we learned her dog a small lasoapso had bite the hand of a pilgrim. We didn't stay around to see what the out come would be but a little while along our path we were passed by the 'emergency' vehicle. I do hope the man who was bit, is recovering well and that the lady whose dog did the biting is also settling well no matter what the out come was for her pouch.
The final step count today was 13302; km was 10 and we burned 532 calories. I can assure you I ate FAR more than that today. Our hotel is lovely! Air conditioning, blow drier and a fine restaurant. We had lunch there. 50€ for the two of us. The wine (a bottle) was only 3€. It was the food that was so expensive. We got two of the waiter's choice apetitzers, two salads and two desserts. Note to self...I still do not like fish that has it's head and tail attached AND all its bones and scales on - no matter how one prepares it - but I tried it. The pepper things were good though. And...I must confess, I did enjoy TWO glasses of wine. I'm not a drinker for a reason and today was no different. I smile a lot and then...zzzzzzzz Once the bill was paid, Elena escorted me to the room (I was not that bad) and slept for an hour. The resturant was so beautiful and the food delicious and I felt like I was a lady being spoiled and so I wanted the wine. Plus I´ve been dead tired the past two days and not able to sleep. I knew the wine would help and it did. It was a very nice flavoured wine. In fact the best wine I've had in years. I still don't care for 'the drink' though!
Today..I saw my first snake. I´m not sure who was more startled - it or me?! As you may remember I had to purchase new shoes (sandals) and this morning my sock kept slipping down under the heal strap. I stop and noticed this 'cord' which I was going to look at closer, after I fixed my sock and shoe however...just as I put my foot on the stump...that interesting 'cord' slithered away. I guess you've figured out it wasn't a huge snake but it did catch me off guard.
Ok, Elena suggested I put this part in my blog...toilets! The toilets here flush differently. Not just here in Spain but often from bathroom to bathroom. I mean...if you are in Canada and your in a flush toilet 99.9% of the time the flusher is a leaver on the tank and you push it down. If it's wonky you may have to pull it up but that's rare. Then we have some toilets you don't have to flush at all - you just get up and move and swoosh...its all taken care of; or maybe you're in an out house or porta-potty and then - well there is no flush BUT here... HA...its a game of crack the flushing code! Do you push, pull or tug? Is this device on the toilet or near it? I'm getting good at 'cracking the code' though. Today the 'push' was the chrome button on the wall above the toilet. On some, the 'button' is split so you can choose which half to push. I am NOT trying that out!!!!! At home the water gently comes down from a ledge in the bowl to wash away the stuff. Here its as if it bubbles up like a volcano ready to errupt. Some stuff we put in at toilet we don't want coming up and I don't want to know what the other half of the button is for...down is good!!!!
We didn´t see anything we thought was the Cathedral today but tomorrow I'm very sure it will be clear! Once we got to our hotel...we just enjoyed a very calm and relaxing after noon. Tomorrow is the day we reach Santiago, the end of the pilgrimage for most. We will take a down day before enjoying a coach ride to Fennestira (spelled wrong I'm sure), but I´ll tell you more about that after.
I am going to sign off for now. Keep your comments coming - I really enjoy them as well as your emails. Safe journies... Carleana