Day 42 – Arzua to O Pedrouzo

Boy, did it rain today! It rained from the beginning to the end of the walk with NO let up at all. We were walking through so much water that our shoes and socks had no chance at staying dry.

Actually the paths looked more like waterfalls, streams or mud pools, then they did walking track. In some parts, the water was at least ankle deep. The 18 km today felt like an eternity.

The scenery and hamlets we walked through were so lush and sweet but unfortunately we didn’t get to stop to enjoy much because of the deluge of water.

Only one day out of the Camino and we were hammered with rain, possibly to cleanse our grubby bodies and shoes. After 40-odd days of walking, all the pilgrims probably could do with a quick wash! Heheheh. Maybe today was a wake up call…. Kept us from getting familiar with the routine of having mighty fine weather.

And today, we shed our first tears on the Camino. Not tears of sadness or pain but tears of elation and humbleness that we have made it so far. That we have achieved what we set out to do! That we have stayed so mentally and emotionally strong and positive and with such ease. To achieve such happiness and bliss and to be able to do it together! To be pushed to our physical limits and to endure grueling conditions at times, yet enjoyed every second of it! To be so close to completing a pilgrimage that has been around for centuries, walking the paths that so many millions have done before us.

We cried and we too felt that skies were crying with us, as the rain kept on coming!

But throughout the entire day, we didn’t wish for anything different. We accepted the rain for what it was and enjoyed every minute of soaking our feet in our shoe baths 🙂

As only in the past few days, other people have stated to us that the Camino is a metaphor for life and isn’t it just?

When it rains, it pours! And it taught us another valuable lesson. That preparation is fantastic but sometimes there are things that pop up into life that you just cannot prepare for. And although, you try to walk around it, or over it, or try to avoid it… sometimes, you just have to walk through it! That is how we felt when we had to walk through those puddles of rain. There was no more avoiding them, we just had to face them head on and deal with the “aftermath” later. And we came out unscathed and stronger.

Unless we called it quits, the result for the day would be the same – i.e the feet, shoes and socks were getting wet but what was more important and the overarching achievement was that we walked another day of the Camino! We are one day away now from Santiago and tomorrow is predicted to be raining again. But that doesn’t affect our mindset at all – never has on the Camino and so why let it now?


Day 6 – Puente de la Reina to Estella

We left this morning with the sky still dark and the moon looking pretty full to us. As we headed out of Puente de la Reina, we saw many other pilgrims heading off too so it is always comforting to know we are not alone. 

We had a few hills to climb today and the day seemed a little longer than we had hoped for but our spirits remained high.

We can see that the enthusiasm is waning or the fatigue is setting in for others because the chirpy “Olas” and “Buen Caminos” are faint or unenthusiastic or simply non-existent. We are hoping to keep up the positive energy and greet as many people as we can along the way or who pass us.

One thing we are struggling A LOT with is the late dinner. We arrive somewhere mid afternoon and dinner is usually not until after 7.30pm. Firstly, that is really late for us normally but even later because after a day of burning tons and tons of calories, all we want is a good hearty meal. So after a shower, giving our feet a massage, watching TV, catching up on the blog… we end up wandering the streets, which means more walking. It is true what people say, walking is addictive!!

Today, we thought we may have lost our “guidebook” for the walk when we couldn’t find it in the “usual” spots of our backpack. Instead of panicking or becoming upset or frustrated, we just shrugged our shoulders and figured we would survive without it. Similarly, Le lost her sunglasses on Day 3 and it didn’t affect us in any way then either. It dawned on us today that we are “letting go” of possessions. Those things are replaceable. The lesson for life is to have no attachment to material items. Things break, things go missing…. So what?!

It reminds us of the quote:

Attachment is the root of suffering – Buddha

Day 3 – Akerreta to Pamplona

 We stayed in a beautifully restored Basque house in Akerreta overnight. But the night sleep wasn’t as fantastic as we hoped. Purely because a huge electric storm blew through about midnight and with the howling winds, forceful raindrops hitting the window panes, the thunder and the every-second lighting flashes….. sleep was going to be for deep sleepers only!

 This may have affected some of our bodies recovering time because 15km (which was about HALF of each of the past two days), honestly felt like 1000 km. Each hiking boot felt like we had filled it with lead and we felt like we were carrying bricks in our backpacks.

These past three diary entries have been David and Le whinge, whinge and more whinge. And we apologise for that. We want to be able to document our rawest emotions as we don’t want us to get to the end and be so elated about reaching Santiago, that our daily emotions are long forgotten! But on the flip side, we are really loving every other aspect of this experience. Each day, the minute we hit our destination we feel so accomplished!! We feel so proud of ourselves.

There have been moments where we are getting overtaken by everyone (or so it seems) – we thought the Camino wasn’t a race. And it isn’t! We just feel so slow and sluggish and unfit compared to everyone. Doesn’t matter the age of who is passing us by, we feel inadequate.

But after three days, we have learnt our next lesson. Something we are obviously aware of but on the road to Pamplona it dawns on us: we have no idea why these people are walking faster. They could naturally be fast walkers, they may have done this road before and so are trying to make more ground then they did last time, they might only have a few weeks to achieve the entire thing, they may not want cold showers at the next albergue…. everyone has their own reason why they are walking faster than us. And we should remember there are probably plenty others behind us that we don’t know about!

Extend this to our everyday lives off the Camino: That we can’t compare ourselves to other people. Why do we feel that there even needs to be a “benchmark”. We are all individuals and we should not be living to “keep up with others”. Take life at our own pace because everyone has different goals, don’t get distracted by what others are doing!

And today, what are we grateful for? The beauty of the earth! Over the last three days, we have seen the landscape change so much! We live on such an incredible planet, let’s look after it 🙂 

We have a rest day tomorrow!! The plan is to explore Pamplona! Thanks for reading 🙂