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  • Day8

    Los Arcos, Navarra, Casa de Austria

    May 15, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    A most bizarre thing just happened as I was settling into Los Arcos, a frontier town, after a most tedious four-hour trudge that I thought might never end. I approached an older woman in alleyway asking for directions to the plaza. She looked at me wide eyed, and I then noticed the dead bird dangling by its legs from her right hand.
    She sort of yelled at me, “You want food??” and beckoned me to follow her...a few steps and she directed me towards a doorway where breadcrumbs were scattered for the birds; she seemed to be offering me the breadcrumbs on the ground. I responded no thank-you and with trepidation asked again for directions to the plaza. She glared at me with arched eyebrows and flung the dead bird behind her through an iron gate without skipping a beat, and then pointed with her newly liberated right arm in the direction of the plaza.
    Hello, Los Arcos!

    Camino families.
Today I fell out of sync with my nascent Camino bond with a 72-year old Brazilian man who I’ve been “walking with” since Pamplona where I offered to share my room with him as he was having a hard time finding lodging late in the day. We walked in lock step for two days after that, over the Alto del Perdon, but I knew I was holding him back and that he was feeling solicitous out of gratitude.
    After another half day of walking, I could feel my desire to be solo again growing stronger and so I told him in Puente la Reina that I wanted to walk alone to think about the next stretch of road, as it had a deep significance for me from the last Camino with Stuart. He took it well and since I had already booked us both in advance at the next albergue, the wonderful Casa Magica, I knew we would meet again there later.
    Likewise, last night we met at a prearranged lodging and today, he has moved on, and I am stopping for a breather. Today was 15 km and that’s enough for me in the unrelenting sun.
    So, my Camino family is still very tenuous—the older set who I keep running into I am in no way endeared to. This is as it should be because this is the first time I have done anything like this completely alone, and it feels very right to maintain my solitude.
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