A long day

The town we stated in last night, Los Arcos, was everything Estella was not. Quaint, medieval feel, a nice little bakery where we bought breakfast this morning, and a piazza where people gathered (food and drink available). Naturally we ran into many of our friends there last night, having dinner with a French widow who is shepherding an 18 year old African on the Camino. The highlight of the night, however, was going to the Pilgrim Mass at a lovely church just off the piazza. The priest had s beautiful voice, started songs and then sang harmony. Not sure of all the reasons, but I was deeply moved by the Mass, particularly the Eucharistic prayer followed by Communion. At the end of Mass, the priest handed out copies of the Pilgrim Prayer in all languages represented by those in attendance, so we could all say the prayer in unison. Yes, Kate, I was blubbering by the time we finished.

Left this morning at 7:00, after picking up breakfast and having a quick cup of coffee. Wanted an early start because we were going almost 19 miles and because of the forecasted heat.

Nice conversations with a Spanish woman named Marta and the father of the six children as we walked the first five miles. After listening to my story of why and how I came to do this pilgrimage, the father’s only comment was, “You must have a wonderful wife.”

Finally stopped for lunch in Viana, after a good twelve miles. I stuck to two small sandwiches and a cookie I bought this morning. John, God bless him, sampled a variety of small plates (pinchos or tapas), including blood sausage and a pig’s ear sandwich!

Our walk this morning covered rolling hills with some of the steepest inclines we have experienced. Very tiring as the weather is about 90 with little breeze. Had nice chats with German gal named Lydia and an Irish gal named Eileis (Gaelic for Elizabeth). So you don’t wonder about all the female contact, women make up the majority of the pilgrims. Surprising how many single women. I think they like to talk with me because an old gent like me looks harmless and because walking at my pace gives them a chance to catch their breath.

There is an prayer I have said many times that goes like this: “Lord, I turn my life and my will over to your care; free me from the tyranny of self.” As we put our boots back on (my right foot now covered in precautionary band aids) at 3:00 in the afternoon to begin the remaining six miles, this prayer has never held more meaning for me. 😉

Well, we finished our day 3 1/2 hours later, completely bushed, sore all over, but pleased and unbowed. God really is good.