Kym’s Arrival on the Camino Hike

Day 9–11

Kym is with me now! There’s something so sweet about watching her discovery of things that were in novel to us last week. The beautiful flowers in windowsills, the ancient buildings, the horizons filled with fields, and the majestic cathedrals. These last few days have been especially flat and hot – around 97°. We get an early start and are walking for about five hours. The place we arrived at today has a pool! Most of my muscles are no longer sore – that wore off mostly after the first week. But by the end of each day, my feet are definitely ready to be propped up and say ‘out of order.’ With the extra time in the afternoon, we read, chat, sometimes nap, sometimes explore town, sometimes eat more pastries, and find some refreshing bubbly water. And then eat a table full of snacks for dinner so that we don’t have to wait for Spanish dinner time. We close the shutters tight and try to go to sleep between 9–10 p.m., even though the sun only sets at 9:45 PM.

There is a consistency with doing the same thing day after day that can lead to “going through the motions.” Waking, packing the day pack, breakfast, walking, café break, more walking, and more walking, to arrive at a new place that is somehow quite the same to the previous. So the changes to notice are subtle, and happen gradually. It reminds me of how my children look the same day after day, and one day I realize they have grown 6 inches and have lost their baby fat. 

The landscape has changed, so slowly and with each step. We started in Basque country in the Navarre region, with shadowed forest paths and some fog where all street signs were written in Spanish & Basque, then made our way to wine country of Rioja, and have now come to Castile & Leon with wheat fields, little shade, and hot days. Within the first day, we went from ordering cafe au lait to cafe con leche (as we crossed the border from France to Spain). Prices have slowly increased. Consistently restaurants open at 6pm, at the earliest. After arriving at the resting places for the evening, you can identify the other ‘pilgrims’ in town by their walk; slow and protecting their sore feet. And they aren’t afraid of taking their shoes and socks off during dinner. I am trying to keep the balance of being present, paying attention and curious while also just relaxing into the rhythm of the ride.


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