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    • Day 4

      Akerreta to Pamplona

      May 4 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 20 °C

      Honestly, sitting here to draft this tonight, it is a bit overwhelming because the day had a few great moments. I will start at the most uneventful, but still, in my mind, worth noting today.
      1. I did "unload" much of my luggage today. After a couple of attempts at the post office ( who knew you need a passport to mail a package to Canada?), a very helpful and friendly lady...has sent my stuff to Canada. What is most remarkable about this is the number of people at the post office sending stuff home! Every other person was packing stuff into a box to send forward!
      2. The Camino seems to find a way to help each other. I tied an elderly man's shoes this morning and tonight at a cafe, I met a pilgrim and, now, friend from Australia who helped me figure out my phone problem. I now have a Spanish phone number! I think I can even use I messages! Funny enough...she also sent "stuff" home to Australia today too!
      3. Food management is a thing in Spain...they do NOT eat until 8 pm! Diana (new friend) and I met at one of the few cafes serving tapas before 8 pm. She asked me if I spoke English, and what I was eating. I said, yes to the English, and I have NO idea what I am about to eat...turned out to be mushroom and was very good with a glass of wine or two in the company of a new friend!

      4. So what I thought was going to be a pretty unremarkable day (a reasonably flat, 16 km) turned out to be incredibly remarkable. My soul is healthier today, even if my feet aren't!

      There is a fork in the Camino near Zabaldika. A pebble was bothering me, so I stopped before I even realized this was a fork in the road, and as I was sitting there, I noticed a pilgrim travelling in the other direction. I called out to him that the path was to the left, and he said he was going to the church. So I followed him. As it turns out, following this camino ( which is the old route) leads up a steep but short climb to a modest church.

      The church of St. Esteban is a tiny church built in the early 13th century that has not had any major renovations since! At the door, I was greeted by a man who handed me a copy of the church history and explanations. More importantly, he handed me the "Beatitudes of the Pilgrims".

      I came on this Camino with a deep urge to settle into my life. Meeting other pilgrims on a shared journey, unloading my baggage, and a quietness settling on my soul, the Camino has called me. The Beatitudes resonate with me deeply, and sharing them with you is the calling of the Camino.

      The Beatitudes of a Pilgrim
      1. Blessed are you, pilgrim, if you discover that the road opens your eyes to the unseen.
      2. Blessed are you, pilgrim, if what concerns you most is not getting there, but getting there with others.
      3. Blessed are you, pilgrim, when you contemplate the road and discover it full of names, and dawns.
      4. Blessed are you, pilgrim, if you discover that one step back to help another is worth more than a hundred steps forward.
      5. Blessed are you, pilgrim, if your backpack is emptying of things and your heart does not know where to hang so many emotions.
      6. Blessed are you, pilgrim, if you lack words to express your gratitude for all that surprises you at every turn in the road.
      7. Blessed are you, pilgrim, if you make your way a life and your life a journey in search of the One who is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life".
      8. Blessed are you, pilgrim, if on the way you meet yourself and give yourself time without haste so as not to neglect your heart.
      9. Blessed are you, pilgrim, if you discover the road has much to do with silence, and silence with prayer, and prayer with an encounter with the God of Love who awaits you.
      10. Blessed are you, pilgrim, for you will discover that the true journey begins when it ends.
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    • Day 3

      Roncesvalles to Akerreta

      May 3 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 25 °C

      Actually, I am in Pamplona right now because when I booked on short notice, Akerreta was fully booked. Akerreta is a small village famous because it is where scenes from the movie, The Way, were filmed and also because Ernest Hemingway wrote in earnest in this part of Spain and apparently also stayed in the community of Akerreta. Akerreta is less famous because in the forests about 15km back toward Roncesvalles, the area was popular with witches of the 17th century and several were burned at the stake in this region. Thankfully, I was born in the 20th century!

      Today was about 27km in total, and about 600 meters in elevation, and with the temperature climbing to the high 20's in the sun for most of the day, it was a very challenging walk. Made just a little bit more challenging because I left Roncesvalles a bit late, 9 am, and had to be in Akeretta for my transfer to hotel in Pamplona for 5 pm. I misjudged how long this might take...needless to say, I made it with 20 minutes to spare! Tomorrow morning I will be transferred back to Akerreta to continue on to Pampolona...I seriously considered a few times...of just staying here already! But my conviction to walk all 900 km is very motivating.

      So today, I had two revelations: first I crave a simpler life, a more ordinary life. Second, I have too much baggage literally.

      All the advice says, don't pack too much...I tonight in Pamplona, I walked (if you can believe it...because I can't) to the shopping district and bought a smaller suitcase. I stopped at the post office and will ship stuff that is unnecessary back to Canada. I am slowly but surely, shedding my life literally over the last few days, and also perhaps figuratively as well...I don't the days to come that will become clearer. One thing I know for sure, I cannot haul that monstrous suitcase up another flight of stairs for the next 48 days!
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    • Day 3

      Day 2 Halloween

      October 31, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

      We slept until 9:30 and my coffee barista was kind enough to deliver! We made our way to the city center on Bus #20, to Plaza de Callao. Our first stop was “Pan” for a cafe con leche and flaunts (jamon and diced tomatoes on baguette). After eating we turned right and hit the first souvenir shop and spent 45 minutes finding many goodies. We continued to walk up the street stopping in many shops. The Museo de Jamon was quite interesting, they sold bits of products in cone shaped cups. We continued to shop and Cari noticed many people were carrying Primark bags, so of course we had to find it. Holy Moly....what a huge department store. It was at least 5 stories high, circular and there was intermittent slide shows, scenes from Harry Potter, frozen, etc. Crazy busy. We had lunch on the gran via at Tapa Tapa - croquettes de jamon y quest, patatas aoli ,olivias, cheese cake with berries, sangria, We passed a line of people that were waiting for la lottery, Ivan (our guide) the lottery will be held close to Christmas. We made our way back to the bus stop and arrived back to the hotel around 6pm. The welcome drink and potato chips was at 7 pm and we had dinner at the hotel cafeteria. Halloween in Spain has recently become a more celebrated holiday for family parties. There is no candy trick or treat. We sat across from our future selves in 20 years :)! While we were eating my not so good hamburger and Caris roasted vegetables (purée) salad, and 4 sprigs of micro greens a family came in that were dressed up, Cruella Deville, Little Red Riding Hood, Big Bad Wolf, Chain saw guy, Frieda from Coco , Hunchback of Notredam, the wicked witch from Snow White. Back to the room. I found CBD Mints and was very happy!!! I slept well, Cari was up most of the night :(. Buenas Noches Madrid....hasta mananaRead more

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