Day 12 (Thursday) was really wonderful. The topo map showed a pretty serious uphill climb that would cover 12 km of the day, so we started out with a little nervousness for how it would go. I have had chest congestion and a cough for a few days now, and I completely lost my voice on Wednesday, so we weren't sure if I would be able to make the climb with my lungs compromised. However, God was awesome and didn't disappoint! I took the climb slow, but it was not terrible and the views more than made up for the effort!
We hiked through oak forest for several kilometers. Then, it turned in to pine forest with ferns covering the ground. So many times, we both remarked at how much it looked like Texas forests.
We were caught in a little summer heat thunderstorm at one point, but it was very short and the rain barely even made it to the ground from the heat.
We stayed in a tiny, ancient little town that still looks like it came straight out of Game of Thrones. We ate dinner at the house of someone who Billy met last year. The house is 400 years old! She was super sweet to us, pinching Billy's cheeks when she talked to him. She was quite worried about my voice and throat and she told me at least 52 times that I needed to drink lemon and honey.
Our night was TERRIBLE! One day, I will have to post all about the lovely experiences of pilgrim albergue lodging life. But for now, just imagine 100 other pilgrims all sleeping in bunk beds in the same room. All from different cultures and ways of doing things. Men and women mixed in the same room. Two toilets and two showers for each sex. It's a train wreck. ..trust me. So, last night was the worst so far and we got zero sleep. It was sweltering hot in there. At 3am, someone's cell phone alarm went off. Then at 5:30am, another alarm went off and no one would claim it or turn it off. We finally gave up and hoisted our packs and hit the trail at 6:15am.
Today was also good. Walking so early, we got in several miles before the heat hit. We met a Spanish woman named Angela. Angela was stopped on the side of the trail on the first big hill and I asked if she was okay (because no one is slower than me!) and she replied that she was fine. She said, "paso a paso y poco a poco" - step by step and little by little. I need to add that this woman is grey headed and obviously much older, which is why I checked on her to begin with.
We later found out that Angela is 80! Yes...80! She has 6 kids and 18 grandkids. This is her 12th time to walk The Camino. Her last time was just 6 months ago! I asked her why she keeps walking it and she said, "I just love to walk. I love The Camino." She was awesome and an inspiration!!!
We are staying the night in Burgos, then we start the part of the Camino called The Meseta. Lots of long, desolate stretches coming up. I've heard many say that the first third of the Camino is about conquering the physical - the second is about conquering the emotional/mental - and the last third is where God really works on your spiritual self. That makes me a little nervous. ..I thought the first third was pretty emotional!
What do these next 2 weeks hold for me?