Last night Hila and I had tapas and wine with Dennis and Eric whom we met on day 4. I spent most of the evening talking to Eric. He told me about his wife and five children and he had tears in his eyes as he spoke of them. He said that, on his last Camino, he’d dedicated each day to a single person or thing. He spent days thinking of each of his children, his wife, and other family members. Then he spent a day on his values and one on his beliefs. He said that, when he reached Santiago, he felt cleansed. “It was like the lyrics of that Bob Dylan song,” he said. “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now. I really feel that way.”
I’d heard a similar sentiment from a marathon runner I met a few years back. She said she dedicated each mile of every marathon she ran to someone that she loves. “It makes the effort easier,” she’d said. Right now I am spending most of my time thinking of how much my feet hurt and what sort of chocolate I will eat next. But I may still employ this tactic in the future. It’s a long way to Santiago.
After dinner Hila, Eric, Dennis and I strolled back to our albergue through the plazas and cobbled streets. All of Logrono was out. Families ate at outdoor tables. Couples drank wine in the plaza. Children ran through the square kicking soccer balls and laughing. “Spain sure has a few things figured out,” I said. Everyone agreed.
I woke up early today, 5:30 a.m., and walked through the empty city. I was tired and grumpy. There was a strong breeze from the south that smelled of rain but the day dawned clear.
It was a long walk today and I suffered. My feet throbbed as I crunched my way westward towards the sea. I wonder how I will feel when I reach it.
When I finally arrived in Najera it started raining. I found the municipal albergue, took my shoes off, and walked through the door. The dining room was filled with other pilgrims. A delicious smell hung in the air. It is festival time and our albergue was offering free stew and wine in celebration. I scooped a bowl and sat down to rest my tired feet.
I’ve had a warm shower now and a few glasses of free wine. I am sitting in the common room of the albergue and Spanish music is playing softly in the background. There is the friendly chatter of other pilgrims all around me. The atmosphere is comforting. Rain is falling outside. I am so, so tired.
Today I walked 19 miles (31 km).