Last night we stayed in Los Arcos - the ancient city of Arches. This photo shows one of the entrances to the city. This morning I said goodbye to this sweet village as I set out for our longest day so far - 27km.
First stop - Farmacia - I have 2 sizeable blisters - one on each foot. Needed to get some supplies. Managed to get what I needed with my limited Spanish. Went to pay for it and my CC was declined despite my notifying the bank that I would be in Spain for 5 weeks! I had very little cash. The owner locked the store and drove me to the next little village to an ATM machine! We hugged goodbye.
Today's walk proved to be one incline after another. As I passed other peregrinos it was clear we were all being challenged by the terrain. I got to the top of a steep incline and stood for a moment with 2 brothers. Probably in their mid to late 60's. One brother was clearly more physically prepared for the walk than the other. The second brother commented that he didn't think he could do it. "one step at a time... we reminded him - be kind to yourself..." They told me they had been planning this trip for 3 years. It was heart- warming to see how they cared for each other and supported each other. I took their photo together and off I went.
Above are images along the way today. We are in wine country now - and the vineyards are plentiful. Wildflowers line the sides of the trail, and every direction holds a spectacular view.
As I walked, my pack began to feel heavier and heavier. I had been taking note of what I had used since we started and when I arrived in the second to last city - Cruse, (24K into the walk) - I decided to stop at one of the hostels and lighten my load by donating everything I had not used to date: a portable speaker, a portable charger, a spork, my sleeping bag, smart wool long johns, a pair of blue jeans, and 2 pair of heavy socks. I ripped the front and back cover off of my journal and a smile came to my face as I put on my substantially lighter pack.
I set off to finish the days walk and meet Terrie in Logrono - the sky looked very dark and rain began. Within minutes the temperature fell, the wind kicked up and the rain came in sheets. I ducked under a little alcove to wait it out. I wondered if we might be having a tornado. Sitting on my pack and munching some sunflower seeds I thought ... it is exhilarating to be outside in the elements that we usually protect ourselves from (not that I need to make a habit of it!!) and I realized had I not stopped to lighten my pack I would have been on the trail right in the middle of this. I was reminded that it is always a good thing to lighten our load! I don't know that the photo below shows the intensity of the storm. The rain was coming in sheets and the wind was howling.
When it changed to a steady rain and the wind settled down I bundled up in my smart wool and rain gear - I decided to continue the last 3K. Somehow I was not sure where the trail was (no directional comments Pete!!) I stopped to ask a couple who were sitting in their car. They spoke no English - but clearly wanted me to get in their car. They proceeded to drive me to Logrono and refused to take any money - wishing me Buen Camino.
I was moved to tears several times today by the gifts of the Camino and the way it brings people together. A phrase by one of my teachers Deborah Adele kept going through my mind...
"Just do your practice and trust your practice. The grace of your practice will heal you..."