On to Los Arcos

Awoke this morning refreshed and, believe it or not, looking forward to the day. Also happy to be leaving Estella. The hotel we stayed in did not serve breakfast so we ate at, of all things, a gas station across the street. John and I had orange juice and coffee (expresso for John), but that’s where the similarity ended. I bought two donuts, two bags of cookies and a small sweet roll. John purchased a small box of peanuts. Of course, at our first stop, John bought a monstrous ham and egg sandwich while I munched on one of my bags of cookies. John also bought a pepper/ anchovies/olive concoction based on the recommendation of one of our now many friends. John is simply amazing in his willingness and delight in trying new foods. He can also make fast work of anything he likes.

The weather today is delightful. Starting in late 50s or early 60s and will be lucky to go much above 70. This is what I thought we would be dealing with most days, but it is a blessing to have it for at least today. Really makes a difference in the water intake.

Two things are becoming more common as we make our way. The first involves people along the side of the road dealing with a variety of foot problems. We even came across one young man who had hurt an ankle so badly he was going to have to end his pilgrimage. The other thing is finding people who have stopped to, in various ways, reflect on their journey. Writing in a journal, doing yoga, saying the rosary, or even holding a church service. Neat.

We continue to encounter new friends. I took a picture of three Irish men (priest on the right) we have spent at least a little time with each of the last three days.  There have also been several Italians and a couple of Australians. Country of origin seems to make little difference in how well fellow pilgrims interact. At one water fountain we met a Swiss, a Pakistani and a Spaniard who were traveling together. As they left I heard one of them say to the other two, ” and what do you want to be going five years from now?” We even met a woman and her two children making the pilgrimage with their dog and all their belongings on a donkey.

And the there was Anna. We met Anna and her two male traveling companions (all from Norway) at an intersection of two trails with a nice view in the background. John offered to take their picture, which they readily agreed to. I then suggested they take our picture, at which point Anna, quite attractive, very blonde and somewhere in her twenties, said to me, ” Would you like to have your picture taken with me?”  Without really thinking, I thanked her for offering but said if my wife saw the picture she might think I was having too good a time on the Camino!
Today’s route involved some hills but not too many. The longer I am on this pilgrimage the more I think of hills as the problems in our lives. If you just decide on the right direction by following the signs, the hills just come…and then go. The key is to keep moving. I think this is what Jesus meant when he said, “Take up your cross and follow me.”

We made good time today. The weather was great for walking, the route not too demanding, and we just keep moving, stopping once for coffee and once for lunch at a little trailer in the middle of nowhere. I did end up with a new sore spot on the back of my right foot (I think an abrasion from rubbing against something like grains of sand in my sock). But I am well prepared to deal with it.

I loved the sense of meditation today.

I think I like Spanish coffee because the sugar packets that come with it are large and I have two!

In case you are wondering, we did manage to buy three more adapters.

The baggage transfer that moves my back pack each day is working flawlessly.

Long day tomorrow so the report may be very short.

Jim Howell, if you read this, please tell our Sego Palm friends they are in my prayers.

Love to all, especially Frannie.