Despite throbbing feet, some blisters, and sore achilles tendons, Day 7 of our pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago was exceptional! Our day started with some unexpected excitement when Fin was walking and eating a baguette for breakfast when a tooth fell out. A baguette connoisseur by now, Fin remarked “The baguette was actually delicious and perfectly soft on the inside, but the outside was a little tougher than I prefer them.” (I sure hope the tooth fairy doesn’t forget to visit tonight!)
After we crossed the Miño River and started up a hill, the sun came up and lit the forest and trail with a bright golden glow. Sunrise is my favorite time of day, and this was our first morning to have a clear sky and a notable sunrise. This made me so happy! Today’s hike was 15 miles, and we shared the trail with many pilgrims. About 4 miles in, at the top/end of a long uphill, the boys pulled to the side of the trail and sat on their backpacks for a KitKat break, while Jerry and I took a 400-meter roundtrip detour to check out the remains of the castromajor Romanesque church of Santa Maria, which was inhabited from the 4th century BCE until the start of the Roman occupation. After that quick exploration we walked through rolling farm fields, and several little villages until arriving at Palas de Rea, our destination for the night.
We are really getting our routine down by now. Have I mentioned lately how I love this current Camino lifestyle?!! Here’s how it goes: We start hiking around 6:45am. We always huddle and share a custom prayer at the start of each hike. Sometimes we add an additional exercise or intention for each of us to provide more purpose t the day’s hike. Then, after we’ve hiked 10 miles or so, the boys take on the leadership to find an albergue that serves soda pops for them, and sangrias and/or “vino tinto” for us, and fortunately, they are always successful in their hunt. 🙂 We then proceed to take a much-needed break with our loads off and our feet up while hydrating on these particular beverages. Then we walk again for some miles until we’re about 1-3 miles from our final destination for the day, at which we point we find a place that is making a serving delicious food, and we enjoy a hearty lunch. Depending on the mileage for the day, we usually arrive to our town or village between 1:30-2:30pm. The boys take their shoes and socks off and plunk down for a nap or some “Privs” (Netflix, games, etc.), and Jerry and I go find a sangria or some wine.
Siestas are for reals here in Spain, so most shops, etc., are closed from 3-5pm. We are totally in support of Siestas, so we do our part to honor the tradition after we’ve had our beverage. LOL. Eventually, everyone gets cleaned up and we set out for hopefully not many steps to find a hearty dinner. BTW, the “peregrino (pilgrim) menu” in most of these village restaurants include two super-sized courses, plus a dessert (usually tira misu, flan or “Santiago cake,” and a beverage, all for 8-9 euros/$10USD per person.) It’s crazy delicious, and a truckload of food, which is critical when you have three growing boys who are hiking many miles every day and can’t get enough food. Then, after dinner, we “waddle” back to our motel or flat, and we’re in bed by 10pm. Then, rinse and repeat.
Today I met two wonderful pilgrims with great stories. Anna Lou, 25, is originally from Mexico, but is a professor of public speaking at a college in Texas. She is walking the Camino to celebrate her 25th birthday. She said she is having a wonderful experience. She said her Dad did the Camino, on a bike, some years ago, and that inspired her to walk the Camino. She also shared that she read a Thesis that a man wrote that compared pilgrims of early times with pilgrims of modern times. She told me the difference between a crusade and a pilgrimage is that a crusade takes something or takes something back, and a pilgrimage offers something. She said everyone asks (myself included) what pilgrims are looking to gain from walking the Camino, and she’s been asking herself, instead, what can she offer the Camino? We had a great conversation about how kindness begets kindness, and I was so glad we got acquainted. We’re going to keep in touch, and I look forward to it. (I bet we’ll be celebrating in Santiago when she is, and I hope our paths cross again there this weekend.) I also met Celine, from Lebanon. Celine is 27, and was inspired to walk the Camino after reading The Pilgrimage, by Paulo Coelho. And, she added she is searching for herself. When I asked her if she’s found herself yet, she said, “I’m not sure.” We both agreed that transformation is so often occurs over time, and that changes and insights can be “unpacked” for weeks, months and even years after return from an experience like a pilgrimage. Celine and Anna Lou were walking together when I met them, and at first, I thought they were sisters. They both have been walking individually for weeks, but met each other three days ago and became fast friends.
We have 3 days of walking left. Our son, Hayden, unfortunately has two giant blisters on his heel. He is such a champ. He walks and never complains despite the pain his blisters are surely causing him. We are more proud of our sons than we can say. Walking day after day for 160 miles and several days was not their idea and would not have been their first pick. But they’re doing wonderfully and we’re having a meaningful time on this pilgrimage. Thank you for following along with us. We very much appreciate your thoughts and support!
Related blog posts:
VIDEOS FROM DAY 7: