Part 8: El Camino de Santiago
Camino Day 9
Buenos Dias Los Amigos
Today's stage took us from Santo Domingo to Beldorado.
When I woke up this morning in the hotel, for the first time on the Camino I was genuinely contemplating quitting. I thought long and hard about telling you this, but at the end of the day this journal is supposed to be a humorous, but also truthful, account of what the Camino means for me.
This is Alain and Dominique's last day with us and, over the past 9 days we have shared what seems to have been a lifetimes worth of experiences. When you are faced with the prospect of 25 more days alone with a wonderful, but profoundly deaf American and my other 3 friends, blister, calf strain and plague rash, prospects do not look too promising. I can also not tell you enough what a psychological effect it has had on me the last couple of days to know that my journal has not gone out. I know some of you are reading it and it lifts me more than words can describe to know that you are sharing the experience in some small way.
As I sat at breakfast, Dominique told me the story of her Camino so far. After she had finished I felt better, well enough to thrust on my pestilent boots and head out for another day!
If you recall, when we met Dominique she had been wandering, lost, around the main square at Pamplona. We had pretty much kidnapped her, dragged her to a local restaurant and then promised her, in Sangria fueled revelry, to help her up the hill the next day. Dominique's version of events was somewhat different!
Having gotten to Pamplona, Dominique had decided to quit. Her life, as the wife of one of Frances most eminent surgeons, had not prepared her for the Camino and all its trials. She checked into a 5 star hotel, had her hair done, booked a train ticket to Madrid and a flight to Paris on the Internet, and was looking for the taxi rank when we stumbled across her in the Square. Over the next couple of hours, largely because she could not get a word in edgeways, she gave herself back to the Camino and decided not to quit after all.
So, she met us at the bottom of the mountain, as promised, and has not looked back since. Her exact words to Alain and I were "You were so kind and funny and helpful I felt guilty for not going on! - I love you both!" When I heard this I realised that in our own way we had done for Dominique what Hector and Dane had done for me. I wanted to cry, and as is the way of things on the Camino, I did. Sorry if this seems sissy or unmanly but sharing this thing with others is the main part of the Camino and it can bring out unexpected (and embarrassing, if you are eating croissants in a packed restaurant) emotions.
The walk today was much better than I would have thought possible. I am too tired right now to think of any witty analogies to describe the day and its events. I will miss my friends desperately when they leave tomorrow and when they do, my Camino will commence a new phase.
Alain, to you I want to say a big thanks. When you read this I want you to be in no doubt that you are the only one who has got me this far. To those in his family, you are lucky to have him and for those of you who only know him through these pages, I hope you have the chance to meet him one day. The Camino will be a worse place for you not being here with me!
I hope my readers will excuse me the lack of humour today. The Camino is a challenge which I hope more of you will have the chance to try for yourselves. I am not sure if I have it in me to finish this thing or not - only time and my body will tell. Sometimes there is laughter and sometimes there are tears, but tonight is a night for reflection and celebrating the fact that for some of us the journey ends here.
Tomorrow is another day and I look forward to sharing my experiences with you further. When I receive your e-mails it raises my spirits more than you can possibly believe (even those from people I don't know.)
Thank you for your support and, as always...
Buenos Noches Los Amigos and Buen Camino.
Chapter 10 Belorado and taking the long way to Ages
Dominique and I were first to Belorado and we checked out the places that were available. One, almost new, was closed until sometime indefinite in the afternoon, the other one appeared OK. After checking in we were told to go up the street to a large metal building, that’s where the sleeping quarters were. After arriving and putting our gear on the bunks it was obvious that we really didn’t want to spend the night there.
It had been cold the night before and that morning I’d wished I’d brought my gloves, which I’d decided in hot New Mexico, wouldn’t be necessary. It was cold in the building in the middle of the day and that night was supposed to be the coldest night yet. We went back to the one that was closed but it still wasn’t open so we checked into a pension, took showers, had our clothes washed, ate dinner and went to bed early. The next day Dominique planned to make the last 46K to Burgos.
We were up, down the stairs, in the street and on the road before daylight. It had been 2 degrees Celsius overnight and frost was on the ground, we were glad we hadn’t slept in the metal building. For the second day in a row I wasn’t glad I’d left my gloves at home. Socks work but they look a little dorky. If you turn them just right they look like mittens but you can’t button your jacket or scratch any of your bodily parts without giving your secret away. We had a chance to talk to a couple of people in Burgos who had slept in the building the same night we’d decided not to and they said they wished they hadn’t.
Tags: Pilgrimage , Hiking , Trekking , Camino De Santiago
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License.