Woke up at 6 am, took inventory of my pack and prepared to depart. Wanted to hear my friend Cindy’s (Lindy’s Mother for 23 years in my mind) sweet voice so I called her. After shedding a few tears together about the final 4+ weeks of Lindy’s life in hospital/hospice (of which Cindy was there almost every day for), she told me something that modeled my day. She said, “you will see Lindy soon enough. Our time here is but a nano second compared to eternity. Go have a good day on your hike”, or as every passing pilgrim would say, “happy Camino!” I don’t know about you, but I don’t find too much happiness in lugging a 30 pound pack 15+ miles a day “happy times!” Maybe once I get in shape, said me never, I might get more excited about the walking part of this walk. Maybe a Segway would have been a good idea, with all terrain tires?For now “it’s one step at a time sweet Jesus”
Enough complaining as most of today was, as Ice Cube would put it “i gotta say today was a good day”.
I left at 7:20 am with a pep in my step. Stopped at the cafe to get 2 pastries, a cafe americano, 2 chocolate bars and a small cold water. Crossing the bridge out of Puente la Reina Jamey Johnson’s I Remember You came on my iTunes and brought tears to my eyes and I had my mid morning devotional early.
I had also decided in the first 15 minutes of the walk that today was dedicated to Walking with Lindy, not for Lindy. Since 2009, every year we have been walking for Lindy and her brainy names for her tumors @ the DFW Brain Tumor Walk. The name that stands out the most was Walk for Jacque. (For some reason she wasn’t fond of French men so she named all 3 of her tumors after them). Either way, I wanted to walk with her and reminisce on the best times we had. Those were the times we travelled. We travelled so well together and always had really great times on our trips. I thought all day about all the placed we went together. I laughed. I cried. I got sad. I got happy. More importantly, I found a little joy today that has alluded me since the funeral.
Within the first 20 minutes of the walk I encountered a mud slide. I couldn’t go around it because, damned if I didn’t pack a raft! Couldn’t go up and over it because, well, I don’t do vertical inclines like that. I went through it. First foot wasn’t bad. I sunk maybe up to the top of my boot. The second foot went almost knee deep! Then, I fell forward. My hands now planted firmly in the mud. What do I do now? Oh yeah. I forgot. I have been carrying my sisters walking stick and haven’t even been using it other then to occasionally twirl it like a baton. I reached back, withdrew the stick and leverage myself out. Luckily while taking inventory of the pack the night before I saw baby wipes. Thanks Dave. I appreciate you leaving those in there. Don’t worry I will return your pack nice and clean. Unless you want some Spanish mud with it!
The rest of the walk was nice. A few inclines, but more so in the little towns I passed through. One climb outside of Puente la Reina had what looked a large grave of stacked rocks with a cross on it about half way up. Real encouraging let me tell ya!
Made it to Maneru by 9:02 and got some bottarga bread and refilled my camel. It was here I met my first english speaking pilgrim from the south of Spain, Juay (Pronounce like Javier but without the “ier”. I talked his ear off. Was sooo happy to finally have someone that understood english. He never really said what he was doing on the Camino other than a project to snap a photo of everyone he meets on the while walking. Probably for his illegal passport biz! Wait.That doesn’t even make sense. Either way I obliged him as long as he reciprocated. He looked like he wanted to get moving, and as a much younger chap (too much Hemingway recently) I said don’t wait on my old arse. And as the Townes Van Zandt song goes, “tomorrow I will be thru them hills and gone”, and gone he was.
I only had 2 real walking mulligans today. Once I was about a 100 yards off the Camino and was quickly herded back on track by a goat herder. Seriously. Second time I was about 2 km into this guys property when I realized I hadn’t seen a yellow arrow in awhile. This young farmer drove by and offered to quickly take me back to the trail. I climbed in his truck next to his wet smelly dog. At one point in the ride it sounded like he said he wanted to take Texas. I said, “your forefathers tried that once!” I think he really said he wanted to come to Texas! I’m sure that’s what he said but sometimes its fun to mess with people when you can’t understand each other.
Back in the village he dropped me in, I stopped a little store to get a banana and some nuts. Sitting outside I saw this old lady beat her big dog with a stick for barking at the passerby’s. She looked at me and smiled like she thought it was funny. I looked back really frightened. I checked out. Paid my 80 bucks for my 4 things and got the heck out!
The rest of the walk was peaceful. I crawled into Estella. It was not the entrance I had envisioned earlier that morning. I planned on walking into town in a white t-shirt calling Stella!! Stella! (Yep, lame joke). Instead I walked into a nice hotel looking like the swamp thing. Said, I need a private room and my clothes washed. She said, “you have dinero?” Plastic rules in moments like these!
The hotel is across from my cathedral: St. Michael Cathedral. Took a half a Xanax and passed out!
Really enjoyed reminiscing about good times with Lindy today about our past travels. I would like to think she was with me all the way talking back to me. If she wasn’t, I probably appeared crazy to some farmers! Oh well. When will I ever see them again!?
Ciao for now. 1200 mg’s of Ibuprofono, muscle relaxing creme and some wine and I will be good as new mañana…I pray!