What a difference a good night’s sleep makes… the day before, in Najera, there was a religious celebration of sorts taking place with a lot of music, dancing and revelry in the main square until nearly 5 am. It was so loud, that there were times I thought they had entered our room. They didn’t, but much of the celebrating was right below our room. Spaniards have a different clock than we do and Susan and I still don’t feel like we’ve cracked the code on it. They eat late, at least 10:00 or later, kids and all, and seem to get up at the “normal” time. The towns shut down in the afternoon (shops anywhere from 2 or 3 in the afternoon until 7 or 8 at night, when they open again until 10 then close for dinner and the night. I’m intrigued, but kind of exhausted just thinking about it. Towns literally feel like ghost towns when we’re walking through them… still asleep? Just quiet? Or afternoon siestas? They do take their siestas seriously and given that their nights last so long, I’d guess it is a necessity. Last night in Santo Domingo, there was no celebration, no music, no fireworks, no cathedral bells and so a very good night’s sleep was had by all. Or at least by Susan and I. Thank you, España.
We are finding our routine… our rhythm, our pace, our schedule and our favorite snacks to get us through it all. I’m concluding that it takes 4 days for the body to say, “OK, I get it. I see the pattern and know the routine.” I feel stronger, have no blisters, feel like I’m in overall pretty good shape and am not really sore, but it seems that no matter the distance, one hour before arrival, my feet begin to protest, and I can hardly blame them. Boots off is a highlight of the day, followed of course by legs up the wall and a manic devouring of whatever snacks we collected throughout the day. We’ve been leaving early, on the Camino by 7, which of course has us wanting dinner at 4, which in this crazy, late night of eating country, simply isn’t going to happen. Thank goodness for snacks and the pilgrim dinners that we can usually find by 6 or 7.
The people we’ve met, the stories we’ve heard and the incredible scenery we’ve paced our way though – THIS is the beauty of the Camino. From the rainbow that presented itself yesterday, right when I seemed to need a push, to the man who poured some peanuts in my hand as he passed me today, just when I was realizing how hungry I was (peanuts in Spain are far better than any I’ve ever had before…) to the encouragement felt simply from hearing the words, “Buen Camino,” it’s all magic of the Camino. Today, for the first time, I listened to my iPod. Watching the long road ahead of me, sprinkled with pilgrims, most walking alone, while listening to Spanish guitar music, brought tears to my eyes. Everyone here is here for a reason, some probably won’t realize that reason until long off of the Camino. It touches me deeply and inspires me profoundly.
I’m blessed beyond words, to be able to take this journey both with Susan, and alone.