Left Astorga way later than expected but went further than expected. I hiked 17 miles and climbed 4800 feet to the top of Monte Irago. I am settled in at the Albergue with the same name in the town that time forgot: Foncebadon. It’s 5 pm here and this fire feels amazing. This Albergue makes me feel at home and the proprietor, Manuel promises Spanish Paia tonight if enough pilgrims check in before 6 pm. This place is muy comfortable. There is a sign on the wall that says “We Give Massages. Thirty minutes-10 euro”. Uh….I see no one here even remotely qualified, clean, much less that appears to have showered in several weeks that’s touching my back! Uh, no thankso! As much as a massage would be great, I’m afraid some Deliverance music would magically start playing on the guitar in the corner!
Good walk today. The snow was actually amazing to walk in. Much better to walk on it than in it!
Walked through the best little ciudads. I watched dads push their kiddos on sleds. I saw old ladies sweeping the little porches to their Tiendas. I stopped at of them for a coffee sin leche. (I just figured out how to ask for coffee black)! And the best part, the sun came out about 3 miles into the hike.
I met a 25 year old, South Korean kid, 4th year sociology major, doing an exchange in Paris this semester. His name was Hobok. He is walking the Camino to check off his list, or as Lindy used to say, bucket list. We walked and talked about trivial things. He wanted to know what things I worried about at 25 years old in America. I simply told him I was only worried about our next gig, next cover tune to learn and what truck driving attire i could find at the local thrift stores as stage clothes! (And whether I should sign up then and get on the liver transplant list early).
We talked about the SK economy and if he will be able to get a job there when he gets home. He did teach me something I never knew. He was in the US Army through a program called KATUSA in Korea that allows the Korean teenagers to do their mandatory 2 year military service in the US Army/Navy.
The last 4 miles of the walk were what I would call the-by-far-toughest hike to date. It was over 1 foot of snow each step. Its was a steady vertical incline for miles. It was over a melted stream of frozen and running water and snow that occasionally caused you to break through the ice and be ankle deep in water before you could feel it. It was treacherous and at one point I was absolutely certain I was off path, yet again.
I left Hobok in Rabanal right after lunch to get a good start on the afternoon. I was at least 45 minutes in front of him. Yet, as I walked into Foncebadon he snuck up right behind me! That’s 25 vs 40! Dang I miss being young! We checked into the same Albergue
As I write and drink my Spanish beer several pilgrims are coming in. Looks like Spanish Paia is for dinner! Yeah! I love that stuff. Their is no better place for it than, well, in Spain!
I did have some incredible spiritual revelations today from my devotionals. I learned i may having been asking for the wrong things. Instead of trusting God to “give me” things, like peace and understanding about my wife’s transition to heaven, I should just be trusting God to get me “through” this. He must be tired of people trying to short cut him. Big lessons learned and it is what I plan on dwelling on the rest of he walk as I prepare to come home in a week or so.
There is a letter (more a love note) I have been carrying with me. It’s is the box I plan to set sail after the walk. I never realized this letter touched Lindy so much until Katanna sent me an email 2 days ago with a copy of this letter attached. She told me Lindy was really moved by this letter. She was moved enough to share it with her and Cindy.
I wrote it to Lindy right after the diagnosis of the third tumor. O told her life has punched is and that i would continue helping her punch back. I told her that I appreciated everything she did from keeping an incredible, loving, clean home for us despite me:) to helping me remember birthdays, anniversary for friends and family (always had a problem with this) to the greatness of how to write a proper thank you note. I told her how much I loved when she cooked for us. Told her that amidst such trials she is amazing and that I am happy to be in Team Lindy Lou all year long.
I also told her that something amazing was going to come out of this new tumor. Something amazing for you; for me; for us. I just know it.
As I sit here and ponder this comment and reread this letter, I am not confused. Lindy got to go to Heaven and live pain free and I am learning to live. The seeds she has unknowingly planted in me has caused me to rekindle my relationship with God and rethink my time I spend doing every little thing I do. The value I place now on other things important to me will forever change me for the better. Thank you again Lindy. You are truly amazing.
I love you very much Lindy,
I was finally coached today from Haylee, yet again, on how to pronounce the name of this town after 3 and a half days! Haylee Ryan and I had a goodbye (for now) lunch at a nice French place (Pomme Cuite). She was an incredible host and I really enjoyed the distraction during the day from the beautiful beach and when she could get away from work. (Thank you Haylee for spending as much time as you could with your work schedule. I never felt alone. I am now a fan of this city, minus the more-than-Seattle-gets-in a year daily rain fall! The times the sun came out, along with your kindred spirit made this RnR worth while. I learned a lot from you, and I mean that. Words cannot describe how comfortable you made me feel in your home. Gonna miss the morning eggs and toast!)
Haylee and her friends Lucas Bischofberger & Allison McCann were a lot of fun at dinner last night. We had tex-mex at a Nacho Libre themed restaurant and watched Super Porky get bashed by a plethora of metal chairs from the Grim Reaper! Good times indeed and surprisingly good tex-mex. Thanks guys for the camaraderie (and for showing me the greatness if Siderias a few days prior).
Walking the beaches, the old town and through the Iglesias, I found some solace. What I found more was how much more I really missed Lindy because of all the dressed up dogs! She would have been right at home here in this beach town (during he warmer months) with all the shopping but more importantly she would have loved that nearly every dog was dressed up! My heavens she lived to dress Ollie and Sassy up in sweaters, rain gear, Halloween costumes and Santa hats!
Good RnR but I was ready to get back to the trail. Decided against the northern route due to weather and lack of hotels/hostels open and I am now taking a bus back to the main vein of the Camino Francés. I will resume the trail in Astorgas. I am a little homesick but every time I think of going home I get sick at my stomach knowing there is no one in our home to go home to, except our four-legged kiddos, who i now I miss immensely after Gijón.
Just arrived in Astorga. This ciudad is incredible. The snow is just now melting on the plazas; kids are playing; people are friendly. Reminds me of a ski town, but 500 years older! This is a good place to start back on the Camino.
Until I finish my day mañana.
Tomorrow is my last day in Gijon and I will be hitting the trail again. This city is a jewel and i get why Haylee Ryan chose this place to live and teach for a bit. It will be hard to leave the creature comforts. The trade off is i have too much time when Im wake up in the middle of the night, cant get back to sleep and read the box of letters Lindy Bullock-Cox and I wrote each other over the last year. It sinks in more with each letter I read.
Haylee Ryan has being such an angel & great listener and we seem to share the same values on key issues. Happy Cindy suggested this break. (You guys will love this place when you visit in March by the way)
Good night. I will try for a few more hours sleep as it is 6 am here. This is about the time I usually hit the trail!