Thursday, July 4, 2013

Day 29 - slept in Las Herrerias - July 26

Up at 7am, out of the hotel by 8am, a strenuous day's walk brought me into the western part of the Galicia region, the final region where Santiago lies. It felt somber to be a pilgrim this morning, after the accident of yesterday and hearing about how they called off the festival of St. James. The locals seemed to be a tad nicer, saying "Buen Camino" while holding my hands in a prayer-like embrace, and everyone had a look of sympathy in their eyes. After my usual morning routine, I set off without tea. I had stocked up my provisions the night before - pastry, saucisson, apple, cheese, a sandwich, nuts, wine, and even a little chocolate. I filled my water bottle at the fountain and headed over the beautiful pilgrim bridge towards a huge sculpture of the traditional peregrino with his hat, cloak, walking stick, and gourd for his water.

I walked a route along the highway for the first part of The Way and decided for the second time of my Camino to listen to music. I put on a playlist of massage music, all kinds of just sounds and instruments, no lyrics. It goes on for hours and hours and it was the background theme of my day. I thought to myself "Let the morning sun proclaim the light of the world. Let the golden day unfurl, on every wave, on every hill. Let each angry fist uncurl, caress the hardest heart. Stir the sleeping earth, each stroke, each blade of grass. The soul of the world, ignite a brand new day. Let the morning sun proclaim, a brand new start, a brand new way." Once the trail shifted off of the highway, it led into nature and became heavily wooded, with pine and chestnut trees, and turned into a lush valley. I could tell I was in a beautiful new region.

The entire day was a steady uphill grade and I decided I don't like that kind of climb. I'd rather have a steep mountain over a long steady incline. Someone gave me a quote from the pilgrim guidebook and I contemplated it while I ate my own lunch by the river. "We cannot give peace unless we first create peace in our own hearts and minds. By giving love we extend love and thereby reverse the laws of this world for love increases the more we give it away. How much can we find to give away today? When we are able to respond lovingly to all our interactions, we send an expansion of loving energy into our world." I got it into my head that I would do the pilgrimage today with no money. I had enough food and Roger from Belgium had told me of a place that I should stay at by the river that was donation only. I crossed a ancient bridge and wound my way through a quaint village.  

The road into Las Herrerias was beautful and spectacular. It was extensive woodland punctuated by many streams and rivers. Whereas the geography on the first part of the Camino felt similar to Southern California, suddenly I felt like I was in Northern California. I found the alberge situated right on the road and checked in with the woman. She said it was donation only and I acknowledged that I understood. She led me to the dorm which consisted of a group of brightly colored bunkbeds against a brightly painted wall, and I chose the single one in the corner. I unpacked and showered - not the greatest, it was private and it locked but lukewarm and no pressure and you had to mop up after yourself. By the way, one of the best tips I can give is to bring a little suction cup with a hook, so you can hang your toiletries while taking a shower. I put on my comfy yoga pants and settled outside to eat my own dinner. I had done it, I had done a day on the Camino with no money. And I had found a nice place to sleep tonight. I walked 22 kilometers today and now that familiar feeling of contentment washed over me like the sound of the river. I updated my journal, then put in my ear plugs and fell asleep to the smell of my lavender. 

"Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart. And try to love the questions themselves. Do not seek the answers that cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer." 
- Rainer Maria Rilke