Well - guess what...walking the Camino does not always yield the best Internet results. I know, I know. You are shocked to hear that news. The truth is, most albergues have some Internet access. Some places are so remote that we have had trouble getting Internet or cell service. What on earth did those early pilgrims do without cell service or Internet? ! ;) How did they post a blog or upload photos? Ha! Anyway... forgive me for the past few days of no posts. For some reason, it has been easier to upload a Facebook post than to get a blog to go through. And I have no computer or tablet - thus is all via cell phone.
The past few days were some of the most beautiful I have experienced on The Camino. Not that all of Spain isn't gorgeous in its own special way, but I have been particularly fond of these last 4-5 days. The views are spectacular. The woods are pristine. The trails are quiet and mossy and storybook quality. Just amazing.
Well, except for those few epic climbs. Holy Bajoly! Who decided to climb up those hills?! I really had several moments when I thought, "How is this so hard?! I climbed over the stinkin' Pyrenees mountains a month ago! How is this so hard?!" But it was rough! Two climbs in particular were really hard. Let me just say that everyone needs a cheering team.
On one day, we were coming up a huge climb. Super steep. Mid-day. Hotter than Hades, as my Gama would say. I was dying. So was Billy. I was calculating...It is 3:30pm, we'll be lucky if they will still serve us lunch when we arrive, we'll be double lucky if there is a bed left, I'm out of water, and I don't think I can make it 2 more kilometers to the high point. We have to stop. At the same moment, Billy says, "let's stop at the next town and see if they have a bed and food". I've never heard more beautiful words.
As we walked up the last part of the ascent and crest in front of a small albergue, a small group of pilgrims (who have already arrived and are already eating lunch) begin to cheer and welcome our arrival. Okay, I'm an introvert and I don't love attention, but a personal cheering section at the top of a very hard-fought ascent is exactly perfect! Everyone should have people in their lives who have "been there -done that" who are waiting in the wings and watching so they can cheer when you finally defeat the monster! It was so great!
As we walked through the fields on the next day, Billy stopped mid-trail and said, "Look." I glanced over to see a field full of daisies. Huge smile! Daisies are my favorite flower. I just smiled at him and we exchanged knowing glances and continued on. Flashback...June 30 years ago, we had been dating for a month. It was my birthday. Billy knew that daisies are my favorite, so he told the florist that he wanted a stem of daisies for each week that we had been dating. He didn't realise that LOTS of flower heads come on one stem. So I received a really big bouquet! He also wanted to get me a gift. So I received...wait for it...jumper cables. Yes, jumper cables. The things you hook up to your car when it is dead. Romantic, huh? (okay, maybe my car had died during that week and maybe I didn't have jumper cables...)
That's my husband. In the same breath, he can give you flowers and jumper cables. And that's what I love about him. You see, he's a great protector. He will kill himself to provide for me. He's the number one person I want by my side when there is a crisis or a handiman job or when I'm crying and need special care and love. He might not always be the guy who plans out the super expensive fancy date, but I guarantee that I will always be taken care of and loved, and he won't ever leave the day without a few laughs and a million smiles in his wake. So, a field of daisies on the side of a mountain was perfect.
Yesterday was our 29th anniversary. We celebrated by taking a long walk...on The Camino De Santiago. No fancy dinner or expensive gifts. But he did make me the greatest play list on my music to listen to as we walked. And I cried, because it was so 'him', and because the songs were so indicative of his personality and of our relationship. And because, again, he provided for me in a way that I didn't even know I needed or wanted...songs that had beautiful words, songs from different times during our 29 years, funny songs that made me double over laughing on the trail, and songs that made me weep with their lyrics. He's a great man! I'll walk to the moon and back for this guy!!!
In other news...Today was Day One for Granny and Sarah. They met us yesterday evening in Sarria. They will walk the last week with us, arriving in Santiago this weekend. It is interesting to have been walking for 30+ days and now welcome someone in for their Day One. To watch them struggle with Day One struggles. To listen to the same words you spoke 30+ days ago as they come out of another person's experience. Now its my turn to encourage and walk alongside and cheer someone else on, just as I was encouraged and loved on the trail by others. It's now my turn to be the cheering squad for someone who us struggling and fighting for every step, who aches with every move, who questions why they decided to try to do this...its my turn to patiently care for and believe in someone who isn't sure they believe in themselves.