Last night at our Pilgrim’s dinner I met an Australian man walking the Camino for his second year in a row. He is here with his son. I told him I am a writer and he told me he is a geologist. Then I told him about my life before, when I worked in an office. He asked why I left and I told him I was trading my life for a paycheck and it wasn’t worth it. He knew what I meant, because he’d just left his job for the same reason.
My bed in the albergue last night squeaked like a dog toy every time I rolled over. I was in a small room with twelve people and I felt guilty shifting around. So I lay like a mummy as my roommates snored around me and I thought about walking.
This morning was chilly. The sun rises late here in Spain and even at 9 a.m. the sky is soft. Life wakes slowly here. I like this easing in.
The walk today was nice, steady ups and downs. Hila and I walked together. I asked her important questions like “Do you have Ikea in Israel?” (yes) and “What side of the road do you drive on?” (the right).
Hila says that she has so much she wants to think through but so far her mind feels empty, totally blank. Mine feels this way too. I tell her that we are just beginning and the things we need will come in time. I hope I’m right.
It is a short walk into Pamplona today but my shoulders ache and my feet ache and to be honest every muscle in my body aches. So it is nice to have a short day.
I did not dispose of any rocks today. Mom, don’t worry, I am saving one for the special place, as you have requested, and another for when I reach the end in Santiago. I miss you too.
Now, I am sitting in Pamplona’s Plaza de Castillo at Hemmingway’s favorite bar, Café Iruna. I told Eran that, just like Hemmingway, I am going to sit down and write. He said, “Yes, but Hemmingway wrote with a pen and a chicken.”
“Yes, a chicken. Or, what’s that thing?” He flapped his arms and pointed to his elbow.
“Yes! Hemmingway wrote with a pen and a feather!”
But a feather is the one thing that I do not have in my pack. So, for now, a computer will have to do.
We have ordered a bottle of wine. There is fresh bread on the table and the sun is warm on my arm where it breaks through the cracks in the awning above me. Pamplona feels alive and so do I.
Today I walked 10 miles.