Yesterday, I walked about 14 miles from Cizur Menor to Puente de la Reina. It was a relatively uneventful day. I walked part of the day with Madeline from Germany. We had a lot in common, and we talked about our reasons for this trip. It was spiritual for both, as neither participate in organized religion but both believe in a Higher Power.
The highlight of the day was when we went a few kilometers out of the way to Eunate. There is an octagonal church there from the 12th century. Many feel that, because of its shape, it was at one point affiliated with the Knights Templar. I took several photos, got my passport stamped, and the lady told us how to bypass the next city and go directly to Puente La Reina. We had already walked the kilometers, and we would have had to go up and down again, so we opted for the bypass.
We arrived at the albergue at 3:00, and the three people after me who signed in filled the last three beds. I showered, did laundry, went into town to see the churches and get food. It is interesting. Sometimes when I walk into the churches, I feel a presence. It feels like a place that is alive, where people who believe come to worship and celebrate, representing the very best aspect of the religion. Other times, it just feels like a building. I am not sure if it is my mood, the building, or a combination of both. I try to say a prayer every day, but sometimes it just doesn´t feel like a place I want to pray.
I was asleep by 9 last night, up at six this morning to begin again. Had my usual breakfast of high protein granola and yogurt, and was walking by 6:45. I knew there would be ups and downs, but I guess I didn´t expect so many hills. It wore me out early today. I walked for 5 hours, covered 10 miles, and by 11:45 was ready to be done. I think I could have forced another hour or so, but the problem is the next town was 3 hours away, and getting there after two, I ran the risk of not being able to get a bed and being forced to spend more money for a hotel or to keep walking. I checked into a great place! All of the albergues are nice; they are here to help the pilgrims complete there journey. They are run by good, kind, friendly (usually) people. But, some accomodations are nicer than others. This one is nicer. Most of the municipial albergues cost €5. This one was seven. My room only has four beds in it, and my bed has a real mattress! And I have the bottom bunk! And there´s a computer with free wifi! And there is a wash machine! I paid €2, soap was provided, and my clothes will all be dry by tonight and won´t smell like sweat tomorrow! But first, when I got here, I laid down on my bed and woke up 90 minutes later. This Camino is something that I know I can do. I have no doubts that I will finish, no second thoughts about doing it. But, it is the biggest physical challenge I have ever taken on.
I think it is a mental challenge as well. I find that if I can focus my mind on other things, I don´t notice the pain in my feet and legs. This is where having developed the practice of meditation would have come in handy! I always intended to do it, I just never got around to it. Maybe when I get back.
Tonight, I am in search of good healthy inexpensive protein. I think I am not getting enough protein, as the cheap stuff is a little Spanish ham and cheese stuffed between two thick slabs of a baguette. At least I try to get whole grain when available. If nothing else, I will get eggs at the store and cook them here in the kitchenette. Eggs and veggies. I think that sounds delightful! Until tomorrow!
Photos to follow in separate post . . .