Tuesday, March 20, 2018

In Spain: Walking El Camino, part tres

Today, we departed from our hostel in Palas de Rei at around 7:30 in the morning. Over the course of the day we endured what seemed like a concentration of all four seasons: snow/hail, rain, sun, the warm, the cold. The walk was scattered with a plethora of conversations, many of which sparked laughter in all of us; perhaps the inclement weather created a greater sense of camaraderie. After two lunches and 28 km of hiking, we finally arrived in Arzúa: the location of tonight's hostel. After settling in, we enjoyed a delicious dinner and then nestled in for the night.
~Max Bjarnason

I can still feel the icy cold hail piercing my skin like a thousand tiny blades as I walk along the murky and muddy Camino path. We were trying to find a place to have a nice and energizing morning snack when the warm, golden rays of the sun suddenly were blocked by a dark, monstrous cloud. We were all cold, tired, and the high-level shooting pains were starting to be felt throughout our bodies. At this point, I just wanted to find a place to sit down and warm up. All of a sudden, in the distance I saw the wonderful sight of food prices on a sign. We had come across a café, and I felt like a little kid on Christmas I was so excited. I finally had a chance to rest my tired feet and warm up. However, my high hopes were soon shattered like a thousand pieces of glass when we discovered that the café was closed. We soon realized that finding a café was near impossible. I felt like giving up. However, the day didn’t start off this way. I started off the day with high hopes and bright spirits as we set off on the long and daunting journey. Today was supposed to be our longest hiking day, and I was prepared. The first part of the Camino was filled with laughter and fun, and I soon found myself wishing I could freeze time and just stay here in this moment for a little while longer. But after the horrid hail storm, I just felt like I couldn’t do it. My legs felt like they were about to give out, and I found myself wishing I could be at the next hostel already. I didn’t care about the journey of the day, I just wanted it to be over. However, right when I felt like giving in to my sore legs, I looked over and saw another group of hikers smiling and laughing. They didn’t care that it was hailing or it was cold, as long as they had each other they could make it out together. That’s when I realized that the Camino is like a family. Even if you have never seen the other hikers before in your life and you might not even know their language, they still encourage you to keep going by saying, “Buen Camino!” When the group of hikers told me "Buen Camino," I realized that I was blessed to be surrounded by my group, but also to be a part of the big Camino family. As long as I was on the Camino hiking alongside all of these amazing people, I knew giving up wasn’t an option anymore. I soon found myself smiling through the hail and all the rain, and finally felt at peace. As one of my favorite quotes explains, “Life is not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”
~Nikki Bires
Abbey Road on El Camino: The Guys.

Smiles in the mud and rain. Crazy!

"I can't get enough of these Spanish Tortillas!"

Abbey Road on El Camino: The Gals.

We're walkin'! 

We made it halfway! 57 km to go!

Yes, a respite! Our first stop for
yummy sustenance...
...And warmth!

When the sun's out, we go a bit wild.

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