So, let's just start off with the fact that I'm still walking and I haven't packed it up and gone home. Truly, the last two days have been much better. We made a few tweeks to our system and our plans and sort of threw the schedule and the map to the wind. We will walk till we feel like we are done for the day and then we'll stop for the night. So far, that has been a good plan.
The days are getting ridiculously hot and the trail has very little shade or respite. Hydration is a major issue now.
When we arrived in Santo Domingo De la Calzada yesterday, it was around lunch time in Spain (2 pm). We were hot and exhausted and decided to go ahead and stop. The line to check in to the albergue at the church was long and slow...The nun running the show was a little particular, to say the least. While waiting in line, the heat and the hydration caught up with me and I started to feel nauseous. Billy stayed in line while I went to sit in the shade of a fig tree. God and I had a serious discussion under that fig tree and I had to admit to trying to do this Camino under my own strength (which is minimal to none) and had not been asking for His strength to carry me.
I'm not one to say that I have experienced miraculous responses, but I have to say that as soon as I prayed under that fig tree, I suddenly felt tons better. So much so that I went back to the line and told Billy that I thought we should go on and not stay here. Folks, this is a really weird response from someone who almost threw up 5 minutes ago!
So, we hoisted our pack again and headed in to town to find some lunch and rest for a sec before we headed forward. Guess who we found around the corner?! Little Billy!!! We had lost him a few days ago when we had to slow down and thought that we might not see him again on The Camino. Giant hugs abounded in a wonderful reunion and we all sat down to lunch together. I need to point out that if I had not sat under that tree and decided to move on, we would NOT have run in to Little Billy!
After lunch, we took our time in town by going to the big cathedral and to the ermita chapel and around the older areas. Then we headed out to the next town in Grañon. Grañon is a tiny town that originally existed only as a church and a pilgrim hospital. We stayed in the original pilgrim hospital that is from the 14th century and still looks it! The priest was lovely and held a pilgrim mass and blessing. Accomodations are just as they were in the old days...mats on the floor and community meals at a giant common table. there were 8 nationalities represented at the table and we all said the blessing for the food in our own language.
During dinner, one of the pilgrims began to feel poorly, then she went white and passed out. She and her husband are from England. No one had any idea what to do. And didn't know how to talk to her or her husband. When she came back to consciousness, I was able to determine that she had not had ANY water today. She only had two glasses of wine and a glass of orange juice during the day. Someone had some rehydration fluids and she began to drink it, but the usual symptoms persisted and she began to vomit and get worse. The host called for a doctor, but no one could speak both English and Spanish well enough to talk to a doctor on the phone. I never dreamed that all of that translating for medical missions in Peru would come in to play in Spain, but here I was and I knew how to translate. After talking with an EMT and the doctor, they decided to come to the albergue to treat her. Once there, I continued to translate between them.
In the end, all was well. She was very dehydrated. The doctor was happy with her recovery by the time they left and demanded that the woman NOT walk on Wednesday and only rest and drink fluids before she walks again. This week is forecast to be one of the hottest weeks in June in history for Spain. Pilgrims are already planning shorter days and walking earlier to take advantage of the morning coolness.
Again, it is not lost on me that had we stayed in the first albergue in Santo Domingo, we would not have had the experience of staying in the 14th century pilgrim hospital in the church, nor would we have been available to translate for the medical emergency that occurred.
Moral of this story...pray under the fig tree, admit that your own strength is not sufficient, and let Him lead. He has a pretty good plan!