I was the last to leave my albergue this morning. There were only six of us pilgrims in the room last night and yet still there was a snorer.
In Spain these days the sun does not rise until after 8 a.m. so I began my walk in the pitch-black of pre-dawn. I crunched down a gravel road past warehouses and dark forests. I was completely alone and I felt it. I kept turning to see if anyone was behind me and squinting into the trees to watch for signs of movement. Anything could happen out here. It is a testament to the good people of Spain that nothing ever does.
The sun came up subtly and I could tell that it would be a gray day. I walked and walked, lost in thought, just doing whatever the yellow arrows told me to do. If only everything in life were so straightforward.
On days like today the time just flies by. I’ll look up and realize I’ve been walking for hours. I get lost completely in the silent meditation of walking. Left foot. Right foot. Breathe in. Breathe out. My feet don’t ache anymore. I don’t have any blisters. Nothing hurts. I feel healthy and strong.
It seemed like no time passed at all and I arrived in Astorga, my destination for the day. I’d decided to get my own room again. There’s no excuse this time, I just wanted to. I’m addicted.
I pulled out my guidebook and followed the map to the Pension listed within my budget. But when I arrived the place smelled like cigarettes and the rooms were threadbare and dirty. So I pulled out my map again and off to the albergue I went. I navigated through the tiny streets and congratulated myself on my map reading skills. Really, I was feeling quite proud of myself.
Then I arrived at the albergue and the front door wouldn’t budge. The two men working at the desk just stared at me in amusement from behind the glass of the door. I pulled the knob. It didn’t move. I pulled it again. It still didn’t move.
I walked back outside and looked up at the sign, just to make sure I was in the right place, and then back inside and knocked on the door. The two men were still watching me. One of them made a half-assed gesture that seemed to say, “Just pull the door open you idiot.” I pulled and this time it popped right open. I blushed and felt like a fool.
I have been walking for three weeks now. By my calculations I have exactly two weeks left. If everything goes as planned I should arrive in Santiago in 10 days. Afterwards, I will walk to Finisterre on the coast, which will take three days. Then, because I have the time, I will walk on to Muxia, another coastal town a days walk north of Finisterre.
Today, Brian is boarding a flight to Spain. I’m so excited! He’s headed south, near Grenada, to volunteer for two weeks while I finish walking. Afterwards we will reunite in Madrid and then tour around Europe before heading to SE Asia. I know, I know, my life is such a drag.
I really miss Brian. It is strange to think that he will be in Spain but he will not be with me. Still, we talked about him coming to meet me on the Camino and I decided against it. I can’t articulate quite why, but it is important to me that I do this alone. I love that I am walking through Spain on my own. I knew I could do it but I also needed to prove to myself that I could do it. And I am.
Today I walked 13.29 miles (21.4 km).