Finally on Day 10 we both got the feeling of what the Camino is all about. Every day we can hardly wait to get out and start walking. We are becoming immersed in the Camino. The Camino is all there is. What will we do when this journey is finished? We’ll miss it for sure, and might not want it to end. What a simple life it is when you know exactly what you are going to do every day: walk, eat, sleep, repeat!
This morning was magical. I felt the company of all the peregrinos who walked this way before us. All the people in my life – living now or gone from this life – were with me, too. I felt their company, their love, and we were all one. It was serene, peaceful, and whole.
We are not completely sure of how this awesome feeling came about, but it was almost like being in a trance. It might have been the rhythm of our footsteps, the tapping of our hiking poles, the fact that no other peregrinos were in sight, no distractions, the beautiful scenery, and the perfect weather. There were no pressures, no distractions, no telephones, and no news – nothing else in the world except walking the Camino. Life was complete.
The magic caught hold so strongly that I almost imagined I had the power to create a bench in the shade under the tree ahead. I wanted to sit there and watch the man herding his sheep. I was surprised there was no bench, but it wasn’t far before we came to a cafe with wi-fi (remember it is pronounced “wee fee”) where I was able to write this down before I lost the clarity of the moment. It was like a dream which fades away too quickly.
It was when we left the cafe and the trail became more difficult, that it was hard to maintain the magic. The physical challenges almost took over. It was a struggle in the heat but, at the same time, I could understand why people say the Camino is a metaphor for life. We have our ups and downs, our good times and our bad times. Sometimes life is easy and sometimes it isn’t. We came to a long, hot, steep, uphill grind and I thought, “Life can be like that sometimes.”
Making decisions in life can be like coming to an intersection and not know which way to turn. We take a route or make a decision, which may or may not be right. We’ll never know what would have happened if we took a different route or made a different decision.
It is easier to lose your way in life than it is to lose your way on the Camino, however. You simply follow the yellow arrows. Peregrinos maintain the trails, post signs, and there must be many peregrinos carrying buckets of yellow paint to paint arrows showing you the way. Even when you enter a path where you see a yellow arrow and, even when there are no intersections, yellow arrows appear periodically to reassure you that you are going the right way. We are so greatful for all those kind peregrinos with the yellow paint!
Because of those kind peregrinos who show us the way, we easily found our way to Viana and checked into the fourth floor of an albergue. We are sharing a room with two others. After such a gruelling walk, it is really hard to climb all those stairs, even without a backpack! We had a very good pilgrim’s meal with a huge salad, chicken, fries, wine, and ice cream for 9 Euros each. It sure goes down good when you’ve worked up such an appetite.