Breakfast, this morning, was a croissant and a glass of orange juice. After a horrible supper I am starving. Our walk today was 14km through some very nice country side. The weather was cool to comfortable with a lovely breeze. It was bit hilly but hey...I'm beginning to think Spain is hilly.
4km into the walk we came to our first and pretty much only cafe along our walk. It was .50€ to use the bathroom or free if you purchase from the menu. Being hungry I thought I'd buy something to eat. After all how could I go wrong with a cheese sandwich, right???? Ok, let me tell you. First, I don't like butter on my sandwiches. The bread was sopping in butter or oil or something. The white of the bread was soggy and the crust, well lets just say I'm sure I could have used it as a pick to dig for diamonds. Man...this local bread is not on my top one million things to eat (in fact, I'm trying local octopus tonight - it cant be worse than that other fish or this flippin' bread). On the pluse side, the cheese was ok. It tasted like cottage cheese but not curd style. In hind sight it would have been cheaper for me to pay to pee than to go 'free'. I am so glad I packed my granola bars and twizzlers, from home. In truth, while I'm walking I'm not very hungry so its ok.
SIDE BAR...in the cafe here they have old MTV videos playing. I keep getting distracted my the music (It's a classic bub) from the late 60s, 70s & early 80's. I'm sitting right under the speakers too. Not my ideal location but, I am enjoyingthe music tonight.
Today I saw a dog that looked very much like my Tiphonie. My heart filled with so many emotions. I just wanted to pick that puppy up, hold it close and never let it go. It was so nice to see her image. I sure miss her! Seeing this puppy made me think of the day I was walking with my mom and Tiphonie. This lady pulled over and got out of her car to look at my dog. "I had a dog just like her, but I had to put her down." the lady said. Today I could have said the exact same thing to another lady. How interesting, huh?!
Anyway, the journey today was filled with interactions between so many other pilgrims along the way. Funny thing, many of us have been 'travelling' together for days but respecting the unwritten boundaries; allowing each other to be alone with their thoughts for their own experience. I guess today we just needed to (side bar again - listening to Baby You're a Firework) connect to each by voice.
I spoke to a young man from Montreal, Qc He had knee surgery but wanted to do the Camino. He started in Leon and is travelling to Santiago then going back to St Jean through the Pyrenees stopping at Leon where he started. He wasn't sure how his knee would hold out so if his plan works, he will have completed the entire Camino.
There is a couple from Germany who decided to do some travelling. The flew into France started the Camino via auto (car) getting their passports stamped along the way. In Sarria, they traded their rented car in for walking sticks. Neither of them are athletic or 'fit' by definition but, they thought it would make a nice memory.
I met another lady walking who seemed to be struggling with each step. I asked if her feet were sore. Thankfully she spoke english. She too is dealing with blisters. We caught up to her hubby who was walking with another gentleman. The lady and her hubby are from San Diego Ca on a two month tour of Europe after recently retiring. We shared some California stories. The other man walking with us was from Scotland and hilarious. A lone, older and a huge sense of humour!
There is a family from Ireland we often cross paths with. Their youngest daughter is having a hard time with the diet too. We talked a little bit about nothing at all really, mostly the country side, how nice the weather has been and how greasy and salty the food is.
I met a younger lady who seemed to be 'lost'. I couldn't understand her, maybe that's why she felt safe to 'share'. Then there was this guy who was very unique looking. I suggested to Elena he might be a Shaman. He and the lost girl connected. As they spoke she showed him a charm she was carrying. He closed her hand around it and placed her hand in his hands then began to speak softly. Tears caressed her cheeks as he spoke. When he was finished they sat silently for a moment. The a bright smile broke the silence. She seemed at ease as they embraced. They walked together for a time; then parted ways.
I came across another couple. Much younger than most people I've seen so far. They were sitting on the dirt path chatting. Clearly, she had been crying and he, comforting her. Based on the earth around her tears were not because of a fall - but she had been sobbing for some time.
So many people taking this journey and for at least as many reasons. Sometimes I want to ask 'what brought you hear' but the truth is it doesn't matter. The point is we are all here individually, together helping each other along the way. Strangers, but kindred spirits - fulfilling a soul contract.
I could tell you more about the country side, the hamlets and paths but today I want to share my reflections.
Today is day 5 of our camino not only are we passed the half way mark by travelling days but we are also down to the last 52 of our 111km journey, and so why am I here?
The truth is I don't know specifically. I was inspired to take the Camino de Santiago de Compostella after reading Paulo Coehlo's books ''The Alchemist'' and ''The Pilgrimage''. At some point in our lives we all asks ourselves why am I here, what's the point and similar other questions; especially we did everything 'right' and yet we feel wronged and/or unfulfilled.
Many of us spend our lives doing what's ''right'', but my who's standards? Some of live to achieve goals and dreams, but who's goals and dreams are we living? Others spend their life wondering around trying to find them self, often because they buy into some illusion of how life is suppose to be, but who's life; who's illusion?
Today as I watched people on the Camino and noticed how they choose to journey. Some are on bike racing pass others. Many are still attached to their electronics trekking along at a deliberate pace. Some walk with their eyes glued to the ground, while others seem to be starring at the sky. Others seem choose to sit in on the path to take their breaks while other seek out a cafe. It doesn't really matter, I guess, how people choice to take the Camino, what matters is what it means to them.
For some it means meeting a religious desire. Others its to prove something to them self or someone else. Some it's ''because it's there''. Maybe it's because they're still searching for an answer or sign. Whether it's alone, with a companion, with strangers, or a group...each years thousands of people choose to become a pilgrim of the Camino for their own reasons, in their own time and at their own pace. That is what is so cool about this.
So why am I doing this? The truth is, I'm not sure. I thought perhaps it was to prove to myself I can take care of me, but I've lived enough shit in my life that I know I can take care of me. Maybe it was to prove to myself I could set a goal and achieve it. Well, I've done that many times too or I wouldn't have done as much as I have. Was it for religious reasons? I can assure you it wasn't because I was raised Catholic, but maybe as part of my soul's journey - an inner discovery; even at that I don't think this is the reason. To be alone...nope. To prove to someone else I can do it, NO WAY! The people who care about me wouldn't ask me to prove anything to them and those who would ask me to prove something to them, don't care about me.
But, the last couple of days I'm thinking the reason I'm doing the Camino is to reconnect. Reconnect to myself, to those who love me, to nature, to a simpler time; a soulful time. Maybe it was to allow myself to be vulnerable?
Could I have done this at home? Perhaps but in truth...no! It wouldn't have the same impact. You see, all I have to do is get up in the morning and walk. Someone else prepares my meals, cleans my mess, carries my baggage and makes sure I'm where I'm suppose to be. I'm not asked to do anything but walk. What I choose to do while I walk in my choice and so I'm choosing to observe, reflect, enjoy and appreciate. Maybe that's why my heart felt lite today. I felt playful and excited, just as I remember the spirit of my Tiphonie.
I know many of you are sharing this journey with me for your own reasons. Whatever you're reason is, please feel free to send it to me through your heart and thoughts. Permit me the opportunity to be the vessel that allows your answers to reach your, ease your worries, enlighten your soul or whatever it is you're searching for. I promise you, you are in my heart and through that connection, this can happen.
I know my message, today, is deep but I felt a real pure connection to the day. I saw, smelt, heard and felt so much beauty on my way. As well, along the path, there was an area where memorials had been placed for those who had died while making their pilgrimage. I hope that's not my destiny but the truth is it was for many and will be for many others.
Life is a treasure; the ups and the downs. None of us likes the crap but we don't seem to appreciate, value or celebrate things as much as we should without it. Maybe the crap is our reminder???? What I have learn over the past few years....you can choose to live in a dark place or...you can choose to turn the lights on and see what is truly important to YOU!!!!! Choosing to turn on the light really is a lot easier than we think too. And as soon as you turn one light on you can find so many more light switches to turn on too!
On a lighter note....according to Elena's pedometer we have walked 69,314 steps, travelled 65*kms and burned 3555 calories as of today. Tomorrow we've got another 12kms to cover which should leave another 36km. After that I think there is an 18km day and two 9km days, but I'm going by memory. Between that and my math...I could be out a km or two but as Elena says, ''The 111km Camino is as the crows flies, not as people walk.'' Oh and we've learn this is NOT the 'easy way'!! This stage is the same pilgrimage as it would have been if we started in France. The only difference is, rather than doing it in 5 days, we're doing it in 9.
With that, I should close for the evening. Melide has some interesting things to see and hopefully, I'll have a chance to speak to my hubby and angels tonight.
May your journeys, short or long, be exactly what you need and may you always remember to celebrate all the things that warm your heart!
Abundant blessings always, Carleana
*Do the math. 111km was our distance. The mile marker at the Camino when we stepped off indicated 52 and yet we've walked 65kms on the Camino.