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The Camino Adventure: Day Five

Friday September 27th 2019

1:22am Hotel Roma in Sarria

Can't sleep still stuffed to the rafters. And truth be told I maybe ate half of the food placed in front of me. The first dish was easily three pounds of scrambled eggs with mushrooms, shrimp and some sorta meat. It was enormous! And that was just the dish before the entree and not including the heaps and heaps of bread with oil and butter and wine they stuff you with before this dish haha. These Spaniards seriously eat such larger quantities of food than I'm used to.

3:49pm between Sarria & Portamarin


The wonderful thing about the French route of The Camino is all these hidden cafes. They're like gems in a Forrest. You'll go walking along some few miles. Maybe see some ancient cobble stone wall or a deserted ruins or a patch of dairy cows and then you'll pop into an adorable cafe. They'll have of course coffee and a restroom along with a unique stamp for your Credentials/Pilgrims Passport. They'll also have sometimes music and gourmet food. It's just so bizarre. Basically you're literally in the woods in the middle of nowhere and then out of the corner is a little cafe. And sometimes these are elaborate lodging spaces, still of course isolated from normal roads and no people aside from pilgrims in sight. It's just incredible.

Herd Of Thoughts 

Passing through a herd of dairy cows I laugh out loud as they refuse to get out of the road for anyone. They're social creatures and demand you give them attention and are even more curious about what you're doing. Perhaps it's because I've been a city folk for so long but it tickled me to see them. There's no end of livestock along this stretch. Passing by another pasture this beautiful black horse comes up to me. She pushes her face in my face and starts to nibble on my hat. I pet her as I realize she's probably expecting a snack. Just as that thought popped into my mind she pulls away tilts her head up at me and shows her gums and snorts a breath of disappointment. I can't help but laugh. It's just so cute. Moving further down the road I see the most incredible view. For a moment I begin to tear up. From my angle I can see miles of soft green pastures and ancient stone fences. Walking deeper into the forest and it's begun to rain. The trees rich and leafy green this is the first time I've felt at home since I left Portland. How is it that the scenery can look and feel so identical to Southern Oregon? I'm puzzled and again feeling moved by the moment. I think of Katie at this moment and at several intervals through out the day. At times missing her, some times shedding a tear for her, a couple times upset at her then back to praying for her. There's no question that this walk is helping me to forcefully heal from all my hurts. It makes me laugh and cry. It's very obvious to me that if it wasn't for Katie leaving me I wouldn't be here on this very journey. At first that thought stung and afterwards it has mostly become a peaceful realization. I am not the master of my life's directions. God has a work to do on me. And I'm struck with awe and elation as the Camino does this not so subtle work on my body and soul.

Well & The Many Buckets

How can I liken the Camino? Even from my short stint, knowing little and anticipating close to a fifteen mile trek in just today's journey: the Camino is like a well with an array of buckets with varying lengths of rope. So imagine one person has a long rope but a small bucket. There's depth just perhaps their depth might lack breadth. Or perhaps they have a large bucket but the rope attached to that bucket is very short. So their breadth is wide but their depth is a bit shallow. I think this analogy expresses my current experience. For a simple example my catholic companions absolutely have a greater width of understanding to the Camino. Yet myself as a Protestant, artist, and art history buff I can at times see layers to the symbols on a cathedral because I've studied them and see their universality. This isn't to disparage anyone's journey but perhaps to express how I feel that we're all dipping into this well called the Camino and we're all bound to be filled up with a different perspective and from different depths. The Camino is bigger than any denomination and bigger than religious beliefs.

Fairy Tale Forests & Foreign Friends

Along The Camino we've bumped across the kind of nature you really only read about in books. The idyllic countrysides just leap forward like living paintings. The grasses and forests and trees; rich greens and I'm at awe. So many little corners teleport me to the Shire or some Brothers Grimm fable. Millions of tiny acorns line the forest floor as the oak trees twist in all directions. I feel as if a mythical creature is going to pop onto the road and want to grants me wishes in exchange for some mad thing beyond reason haha. I can't fully express exactly how my mind has been changing just traversing through the trails but it has. I've found myself alone at times and with a group, then alone again then having chats with complete strangers which somehow you'll pass then they'll pass you then back and forth until you've both in bite like motions have learned a novels worth of their lives. It's been wonderful. And everyone you meet has a spirit of generosity and kindness - from the pilgrims(peregrinos) to the vendors in the shops and cafes. There's only the rare pebble in the shoe when you'll come across a "tourist" so to speak, typically they seem to be twenty something persons with their friend. They look more like they're off to a trip to the gym especially as their athletic clothes unbeknownst to them is gonna tear from the bracken and black berry branches and their fancy shoes are in for a world of soiling as you're trudging through mud and cow pat haha. Basically they'll give you the cold shoulder and won't say hello or "Bon Camino" on the road. I think it might have to do with the French Route being the most popular. Nonetheless all the rest of the people are just so amazing! From young to old the smiles and warm hellos are a currency in no short form. Make no mistake you're welcome on this road and they're excited to see you.

10:14pm at the Hotel Villa Jardin in Portomarin

Walking fifteen mile from Sarria to Portomarin I'm exhausted. I slipped into my room, and what felt like a breath I had fallen asleep for twenty minutes. Micah accidentally wakes me up as she mentions she's heading off to do some tasks. I hear these wonderful voices coming through the wall. The weary saints were having a mass nearby. I couldn't believe they had the energy. It was beautiful even though I wasn't in attendance. I opted to take a shower and get ready for supper. I felt like I was falling asleep at the dinner table. Today really stretched me, mentally and bodily. Surprisingly I wasn't very hungry. But I tried my best. I had hoped I'd of built up a Spain sized appetite but honestly I think my body was still working on the previous feast. Tomorrow we have an even more arduous day but we'll me cutting through more of cities. I'm excited and exhausted so I'll do my best to goto bed quickly tonight.