We began walking in the dark today. Not only that, we experienced our first day of rain. Time to test the wet weather gear. Again, the Camino has been treating us gently. While we got a few hours of rain, it was mostly a light sprinkle. We are being initiated slowly. So we put on our waterproof jackets, our backpack covers, and began in the journey. I’ve walked in the rain before, yet somehow this seemed momentous – an acknowledgement that we would have to receive what the Camino brings. A little bit of mud, a few slippery spots, but by about 10:00 a.m. we were able to stop worrying.
Walking in the dark was another thing. Lena had her headlamp – but her batteries were buried deep in her bag. I just didn’t even think to prepare for darkness and so my light was also a hassle to get to. We started to walk in the dark, but a fellow pilgrim came with us for a few miles or so and shared hers. The Camino is full of small kindnesses like that (I actually believe all of life is full of the same if we only paid attention.)
I am struck by how welcomed we were in small towns at 8:00 a.m. in the morning. The grocery store proprietor who made sure we found just the right energy bar. The bar (cafe) owner who was delighted to make our cafe con leche and serve us chocolate croissants. (I know, every trek should have time for croissants.) The many people along the way who offered friendly greetings and conversation. You should ask Lena how many nationalities have been represented in the conversations we have had, she is keeping a list.
We have been trying to make reservations at albergues we want to stay in a day or two in advance. It gives us a little bit more peace of mind as we walk. Some we do online, with some we phone call and stumble through few words of Spanish and hope the folks we talk with will understand, and today our kindly hospitalero was willing to call for us.
Tomorrow we will be walking through Pamplona – the first “big city” on the way. It will be interesting to see how it feels after all these miles walking through villages and countryside. Today Lena and I were looking at a trail sign, and I said to her, “it says 5 kilometers to Zubiri” – with a hint of relief in my voice. From a few feet away came a man’s voice in response that said, “Yes, a pity, isn’t it?” It was as if he was saying, “why would you want to stop walking?” Why indeed.