“We Will Rock You”
June 7, 2014
After “Spa Day” we slept in our nice cozy beds as the wind howled like a French Banshee woman ( I am so going to keep this phrase going throughout this blog) and rain drizzled down off and on, we woke to a glorious morning. I’m chalking it up to me praying that we have excellent weather for walking over “The Hill” as I am extra cautious when it comes to mud, loose rocks and water streaming down trails. I have fallen/slid 15-20 ft off the side of a snowed in trail in the High Sierras, ran over a small pine tree ( ouch!) and when I came to a stop by a boulder, the snow gave out beneath me and I was stuck. My dad had to climb down and pull me out, due to me having no leverage at all to pull myself out and the weight of my backpack kept me down. I was 16. I am now 48. Sliding down a muddy trail or slipping on wet rocks…yup a concern of mine.
Anyway, we packed up and left at 7:30 am. Once again, a German came to my rescue for my backpack. He is an engineer. I told/ showed him the problem with the one shoulder strap that continues to slip. He decided that it was probably due to oils from my fingers which has loosened the strap. Needs to be scrubbed with soap and dried. Well…maybe later I can do this, but no help now. So he fixed it by tying the strap into a knot to keep it from slipping through the buckle. It WORKED the whole way!
Carrying my pack is working out ok. We continue to trudge along. The trail today that we were going to hike keeps going up and up and up…but not as steep as the Pyrenees. The view is one that is seen in all the Camino pictures-the Alto del Perdon featuring the wrought iron sculptures of medieval pilgrims, up by the HUGE wind turbines. We wanted this picture too and we were gifted with a beautiful day to take pictures as well as to walk. We arrived at the Albergue Camino del Perdon, in Uterga by 1:30 and walked about 11km. The descent was done all on loose rocks. Took careful time descending. My tendons on the top of my feet are inflamed and swollen. I’m soaking them in cold water and will elevate. Just not worth pushing ourselves (me) another 7km to end up where others we have been hanging with are going. I am listening to my body. It said “Stop. Now!”
Nope, we did not go as far as others are going. I am in awe with those whom stride by us, some with heavier packs than ours. A great many people in their late 60’s-70’s, just moving along like we are really slugs. I am greatly impressed. But like I have learned in having conversation with them, they have been hiking mountain terrain forever. One young woman from Norway told me that her parents did the Camino twice with the entire family in their teens and this was her third time. She said that they grew up climbing mountains daily and that is a way of life.
Not like us Americans. We drive our off- spring to school two blocks away because they might be late. We drive everywhere, even though we could walk the distance.
I have been having great conversations with lots of people from outside of the states. They are quite interesting. For example, when they come to CA ( and there is a package deal that seems to be the norm that Europeans purchase- Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, San Francisco- drive Hwy 101) and rent a car, they are blown away with how large a compact size is and when they upgrade to economy size they feel completely swallowed up. One woman said that when they came home from their trip, her mom got into their teeny car and was disgusted with it. She wanted the American one. Also are the comments about the size of food portions that are served. And the coffee size and the Coke size. “So big…I ask for a large and they serve it in a bucket!” One man stated. “That’s America for you. We like big and cheap,” I said. We all laughed.
Our Camino isn’t like the others whom we have met. It is working for us. We have the luxury of time to slow down and meander along. We have no problem with the thought of taking a bus. That isn’t seen as a failure or cheating. It is an adventure! Many of the Pilgrims are on a time schedule due to vacation days. Others are caught in a race mentality. A great many are under the belief that they HAVE to follow the guidebook layout in order to be “successful.” To each their own as we maneuver across this rocky terrain, aka life.