Day 26 –Mansillas de las Mulas to Leon

We woke up this morning – allowing how we felt in the morning decide whether we were to catch the bus or walk into Leon.

We had read up on the walk into Leon and it really seemed a little discouraging and adding to the sore foot and muscles, we figured we would give our bodies a chance. The more we pushed ourselves, the more likely it may inhibit us or be more detrimental down the line. One of the golden rules: Listen to our bodies!

Before we started we had given ourselves a “wildcard” to use for a taxi or bus if we ever needed it. And we chose today to be the day.

But anyway, we don’t need to justify our decision or actions to not walking today. We all have free will and are entitled to choose how we embark on stages of our lives, and it is no different on the Camino.

Despite not walking, we still experienced some rewarding moments that have reinforced things we have already known.

Humans speak a common language but we sometimes forget that we do. If we tuned in, observed and take the time to interpret, we would recognize that body language is our common language. Doesn’t matter where we are in the world – we have always found that body language can, most of the time, break any verbal language barrier.

There shouldn’t be any barriers between people in society to communicate and we have definitely learnt that in our travels but it has been reinforced on the Camino.

The Spanish people of the towns we visit are so welcoming, open and caring. Every time we pass someone in the town, they will wave, say “Ola”, smile or wish us “Buen Camino” – if people are in their car, more often then not, they will wave or bow in acknowledgement or stop and let us cross the road. Then the joys of trying to order food and even have a conversation – we have had many laughs with the locals and we guarantee that most of the time, we haven’t really understood what they said and vice versa but we get the gist of one another. Thanks to body language!

Don’t get us wrong, we are practicing our basic Spanish and we don’t expect them to be able to speak English. But we have a blast conversing in this way – we have in fact bonded with quite a few people (locals and pilgrims).

This morning when we left the hostal, the older gentleman who owned it, bid us farewell. But in his eyes, smile and his touch, we could feel the sincerity in his heart – we actually felt sad saying goodbye despite only knowing him for the two brief encounters we had. As we walked up to the end of the dark street (possibly 200 metres away), we turned back, he was standing outside the door, watching us and he waved. When we got to the corner we turned back one last time, and he was still there and he waved one last time. We will probably never see him again, but there was something about our interaction that made us feel like we had known him forever and we were saying goodbye to a dear friend!

Our second encounter today was when David got his haircut – the hairdresser could speak a little English and we managed to have an absolute ball talking to her. We discussed travel, reasons why we were doing the Camino, the history of Leon and how family-orientated Spanish people seem to be. It’s funny how things work, we had tried at a few barbers/hairdressers earlier but because it was approach 2 pm (siesta time), we were unsuccessful with getting David in for a hair cut – yet when we came across this shop, her son was more than happy to slot David in.

Just these two encounters show how easy it is to break the language barrier – we can all get along in this world. We need to show one another respect and with a few genuine smiles, handshakes and pats on the back – we can really reveal who we are. It is like people can feel the goodness in one another and connect!

In the busy life that society has become, we connect but in cyber space – we need to bring it back to basics and say hello in person! Why can’t we do that on the streets of Sydney without people thinking we are mad? Have we become that much of an isolated community?

Let’s open our hearts and reach out more to one another! Prove that no matter where we come from, what verbal languages we speak that we can still connect and build fantastic friendships.

 

Day 14 – Santo Domingo to Belorado

We started off early again today and the road markings were pretty clear so we had no trouble despite the sky being pitch black!

We managed really good rhythm today so covered the 23km in one hit with about a 15-minute break altogether. We were quite surprised we were able to cover that ground so easily. We were also having a great conversation with a sincere and lovely couple from QLD, Australia who we had met 2 days ago in Najera. And because we were chatting away, the time just passed! Some people you are just meant to meet and connect with 🙂

We naturally have conversations all the time. But it’s amazing how many different types of conversations people can have. With some people, it’s all small talk. With others, it is just superficial conversation sharing, say… travel stories,. And then there are real conversations, which allow us to reach a more deeper understanding of one another and also many a-times exposes us to a wealth of knowledge in areas we are unfamiliar with.

Why do we, as humans, need to know what people do for work? Why do we need to know details that don’t necessarily tell us who they really are as a person?

Really getting to know a person involves spending time hearing them out and really listening to them. It is so important to chat to people and let them show us who they are. Take the time to explore and show interest because it is incredible the things we can learn from others, their experiences or information they have to share 🙂