My alarm tells me it’s time to rise and face the day; a few minutes later, my roomie’s alarm says the same thing. My body is feeling exhausted, and my stomach is upset. We are scheduled to stay in this hotel again tonight. I told the roomie how I felt and would not walk today; instead, I would stay at the hotel. The next thing I know, I find myself sitting on the side of the bed, slathering Vaseline on my feet. I’m not sure what provoked this movement, but I decided to keep moving forward and prepare for the day’s walk.
Today the walk begins at the door of the hotel. We cross Puente de la cárcel (the prison bridge), rebuilt in 1973. Following the Camino path, we walk through Estella towards the famous Irache fountains. The walk to Los Arcos is around 14 miles. A map review shows rolling plains with a fair climb in the middle, then back to rolling plains. The weather is expected to be a bit cooler. My body keeps telling me to go back to the room and crawl back into bed, yet something else tugs at me to walk out the front door and put one foot in front of the other.
We begin each day of our Camino praying the Rosary. Most days, we pray on the bus. Today we will walk and pray. A group pace is set to keep us together until we finish the Rosary. I’m just gonna say even at the slower pace, I struggle to keep up with the group, but something is pulling me along. Once we finish our Rosary, everyone breaks off at their own pace. As I settle into my own pace, I glance up; painted on the side of a building is a Bible quote: “In God all things are possible” – Matthew 19:26.
I began to realize there was a plan for the day, which would be amazing.
Walking along vineyards, the path takes us through Ayegui, where pilgrims can fill their pilgrim shells or water bottle with complimentary wine from the fountain of the Bodegas Irache. Unfortunately, my stomach is still feeling queasy, and it is early, so I take a quick picture and bypass the wine.
There are plenty of pilgrims in my view throughout the day. I run into fellow pilgrim peeps at churches, checkpoints, and the final destination. The father and son team is on the path, and I see they are a family with a younger and older brother and a mother. What a wonderful family experience they are sharing. We will pass each other many times throughout the day, but the most memorable passing is at Villamayor de Monjardin. I struggle with the climb into the village; I sometimes wonder if I will drop dead before I reach the top, lol. But I survive, and as I come around a corner into town, I hear cheering; the father and his youngest son are sitting on a bench encouraging me! Even strangers are Camino family!
The rest of the day is more or less flat. It is beautiful, and the landscape is very calming and peaceful. Husbands and wives walking hand in hand, sisters singing, arms locked together as they walk; I feel the love flowing everywhere. I began to understand yesterday was about releasing many burdens I had buried instead of faced. Burdens I kept using as excuses when instead, I should have opened myself to the lessons they were meant to provide. Today is about opening the heart and turning burdens into joy.
Miraculously I arrived at the destination and was in the middle of the pack! As the rest of the group wonders in, we, of course, enjoy refreshing sangria and visit. One of the pilgrim peeps suggests a conversational starter they use during family time; nope, doap, hope, joke. The precept is to tell one thing about the day that fits each category.
My nope, dope, hope for that day were:
- nope – the day started with an attitude of being defeated. Not an acceptable attitude.
- dope – not only did I walk the entire stage, but I also finished in the middle of the pack. Don’t give up on yourself.
- hope – I have released many burdens. I hope I am now strong enough to open my heart to joy.
In the words of my roomie, “THIS WAS A GREAT DAY!”
As I write this, I realized today, October 2nd, is the Feast of the Guardian Angels. Is it a coincidence or not that I am writing this today? I have no doubt my Guardian Angel carried me through those two days. First, to help me clean my slate, then to begin the lessons on how to build a joyful heart.
Most faithful companion, appointed by God to be my guardian, my protector, and defender, and who never leavest my side, how shall I thank thee for thy faithfulness and love, and for all the benefits which thou hast conferred upon me? Thou watch over me while I sleep; thou comfort me when I am sad; thou lift me up when I am down; thou avert the dangers that threaten me; thou warn me of those that are to come; thou withdraw me from sin, and excite me to good; thou exhort me to penance when I fall, and reconcile me to God. Long ago should I have been thrust down into hell, unless by thy prayers thou hadst turned away from me the anger of God. Leave me not, nor forsake me ever, I beseech thee, but still comfort me in adversity, restrain me in prosperity, defend me in danger, assist me in temptations, lest at any time I fall beneath them. Offer up in the sight of the Divine Majesty my prayers and groanings, and all my works of piety, and make me to persevere in grace until I come to everlasting life. Amen.
4 thoughts on “Estella to Los Arcos”
I am speechless! This was beautiful! I wish I had the presence of mind to stop a put down thoughts I had along the way. I spent more time listening and no time putting thoughts to pen. This was definitely your Camino in so many ways. Mine is still in formulation! Thank you Dee for sharing your deepest emotions in such an honest way. Mary Ann
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I am finding taking the time to reflect and remember the emotions during my Camino very therapeutic. Even though I spent much time walking alone each member of our group made an imprint on my Camino. You,my dear will always be an inspiration. You are brave, determined, quick-witted. Savor the moments. Love you girl.
Dee, I’m reading each of your blog entries and reliving each of those days. Your commentary is replenishing my feelings that are beginning to evaporate. I will continue to revert to your blogs for as long as they exist. Thank you so much.
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I also started to feel the memories disappear. I decided I better get them written down so I can relive the experience anytime I feel low. There aren’t going anywhere and I am so glad you are enjoying. We were so blessed to have this great adventure!