Well here I am now in Puente de Orbigo…a lovely little village with a beautiful bridge which dates back to Roman times.
Yesterday in Leon was great…. I spent the day totally relaxing, chatting with many others and generally having a special day. Even though my brain was telling me …keep on walking..I needed the down time and I’m really thankful for it.
I spent a bit of time in the beautiful cathedral in Leon……utterly spectacular…it had a very similar atmosphere to the cathedral in Santo Domingo…. inside it was very beautiful in it’s simplicity but however, it’s elaborate stained glass windows were simply gorgeous.
I think I may have said this previously… but I’ll say it again..I can’t tell you what an absolute privilege it is to walk this walk. I have been so lucky to be able to take the 5 weeks necessary to walk the Camino…I know that so many don’t have that luxury : ( in saying that.. there are many people who may just walk a few weeks, or a few days and then when they have a little more time, they walk the next stage……. little bit more complicated for those of us who live in Australia : )
At times its been tough..but the experience is amazing and the people you meet..wonderful. The other special thing that I want to tell you..in case I forget…as I’m forgetting a lot at the moment : ) ….is about the cross section of age groups walking! Actually,the youngest I’ve met walking with his parents,is 12, then there are those from their late teens to late 70’s!! ….and Im sure there are older folk as well : ) Everyone interacts on the same level…it’s a very special thing to experience …..: )
Today the walk to Puente de Orbigo was essentially, long and boring (33 kms of walking mainly beside the highway and through residential areas) but interestingly, I was able to put my head in another space. I walked for much of the day in a hypnotic state..my thoughts were like butterflies…flitting in and out of my conciseness as if carried on a gentle breeze.
It’s a wonderful feeling to have the opportunity to let your mind go…there’s nothing else to think of each day..except the task of putting one foot in front of the other. It’s taken three and a half weeks for me to get to this stage of thought, where I can totally be in the now : )
I can honestly tell you all……that this is the first time in a very long time where I feel totally at peace and I have an exceptance of whatever is going to be presented to me.. ( hope I’m not freaking you out!)
I walked with a man from Brazil for a bit today..who has walked the Camino Frances three times before. I was expressing my slight fear about how I would react at the end of this walk..and his words were…the end of the Camino will be the beginning of a new way. I like that : )
I saw some interesting little houses along the way today…not sure what their significance was but they were all covered in soil and had little chimneys sticking out of their mounds…they were very old.
Walking out of Leon, we passed one of Spain’s famous parador hotels..a simply magnificent building and I think there may have even been the odd peregrino sheltering there…hmmmmm..
Puente de Orbigo, as I have already mentioned is very cute with a lovely simple bridge but very impressive, with a lot of history behind it.
Getting back to more serious stuff though…one thing I’ve noticed significantly with lots of people is how they have mellowed and let a lot of stuff go… One person as an example,is a guy from Mexico..who I met on the first day walking out of St Jean Pied de Port. Gorgeous, generous guy…who was huffing and puffing up the mountain, with an ENORMOUS pack on his back and a white face drenched in sweat. I asked him if he was ok and he said he was good and the reason that his pack was so big was because he was caring extra stuff for all the people who might forget things. At that stage he was full of bravado and in a way, unreasonable expectations, of his own capabilities. Now down the track…..he’s a lot humbler and I think looking at his own needs with a greater degree of thoughtfulness..I think this in turn, makes him a much more effective person in being able to help others.
Ok, hmmmmm… I think I’ve given you enough of an earful : )
Love to all