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 24 –Terradillos de los Templarios to Bercianos del Real Camino

(yesterday’s post that we couldn’t get online)

When we left this morning – it was still pitch black despite it being almost 8 am. The dark clouds were looming but we managed to escape any rain – thank goodness!

We could be hitting the wall right about now. Although we manage to do the 26-odd km on back-to-back days, we are finding that today was really hard on the body. Tomorrow is 26 km again, so it will be interesting to see how we hold up.

Each step seems to be taking slower and the body seems to not want to cooperate. But at the end of the day- we get here just like any other day so far.

It’s been a couple of interesting days on the road. Seems like the hordes of pilgrims are dispersing into their own rhythms now as we are seeing fewer and fewer. And once again as we have had a rest day, we are walking amongst the next lot of pilgrims so are not recognizing anyone… back to making new friends! 🙂

Today we reflected whether this walk would bring us even closer together. We only had our 6-year wedding anniversary a week ago and so are still very early days into being veterans at marriage but we have lots that we are proud of. We are no experts nor are we saying our marriage is perfect but we talked about the strengths of our relationship and what we were happy about it.

What is it that we think we do good?

  • We are more than just husband and wife, we are best friends, we are a team!
  • We work through things together and we talk about everything. There is literally no topic that is considered taboo between us.
  • We are open about our feelings, we call a spade a spade to one another – there is no tippy-toeing and there is no right or wrong when it comes to opinions!
  • Every night, whether we are on holidays or at home, we make sure that we climb into bed together. And we greet and farewell each other with a kiss and a cuddle.
  • We appreciate one another. We are married and we consider ourselves as our own “family”, so we place US first when we make any decisions.
  • We do things together because it makes us both happy.

Yes, we disagree/argue/fight or whatever you want to call it. But we never go to bed angry, we never walk away from a fight and we never argue on the phone. Our arguments are always face-to-face. We make sure there is a clear end or resolution to the disagreement and then move on. We don’t revisit those discussions or dwell on them.

The other thing that irritates us so much is when marriages are described as “give-and-take” or “happy wife, happy life”! We know these phrases are used in good humor but not only are they inaccurate, it is so overused and BORING!

A marriage is not about compromising or negotiating. We don’t give and we don’t take from one another. We don’t need to buy one another gifts. We haven’t celebrated Valentine’s Day since the first few when we started dating. We don’t buy birthday presents or Christmas presents for one another as we would rather experience something together to mark those important dates (i.e. a musical, a nice dinner etc). And as for our wedding anniversary – it is probably the most lavish gift we give to one another and that is to always spoil ourselves with a trip away! It’s become a tradition for us 🙂

Everything belongs to us so we decide together what we do, what we want, what we need, what is best for us. It isn’t about a trade-off… it’s not about bargaining…. It’s about knowing and understanding what is important to the other person and being supportive and happy for them if they are happy!

Bottom line, it is about doing what makes us both happy and constantly showing our love for one another.

The Camino has definitely brought us even closer together. Although, we are having tough and draining days, we are having so much fun and can still smile knowing that we are doing this together. We wouldn’t have it any other way! As we walk; when the going gets tough, we stop, have a sip of water then cuddle! A big cuddle is the best re-charge ever 🙂