Friday, September 11, 2009
Entering Wine Country
6 hours 14 minutes-21.1 km
Today's walk was through gentle foot hills and farmland. We are leaving the high peaks of the Pyrenees and entering wine country. The Camino passes through many vineyards and farms.
We had only a few steep climbs today, and the descents were not so bad. I did not have to resort to my knee brace.
The medieval villages along this stage still have some Roman roads more than 2,000 years old. The stone houses and churches are beautiful.
I keep falling behind, as I am always stopping to snap photos, then I have to hurry to catch up.
We have met so many wonderful people from all over the world. I am making good use of my Spanish and even my limited German.
Friendships are struck up in an instant and some times we walk together for a while or share some nuts or fruit when we rest on the side of the trail or at one of the many fountains where we fill our water bottles.
Then if we lose contact of our new "friends" for a day or so, and they show up at the Pilgrim hostal, everyone is all excited to see each other; as if we found our long lost brother.
If someone shows up late after a bad day of walking, hot, dirty, and exhausted, they get a big cheery welcome and a few pats on the back for there effort.
Today a girl from Brazil had to walk in flipflops because the sole of her boot fell apart on a part of the trail far from any village. Everyone was distraught. No one could help her out because we didn't have any extra shoes in our packs other than flipflops ourselves. But we all stopped to try and help by giving support and encouragement. I saw that she made it to town, but her feet were a mess.
My lesson for today is that humanity is so strong and precious. There is an unbelievable energy on this Camino. We walk in the footsteps of millions before us and their energy is almost palpable.
We may all have come to the Camino for different reasons, but in the end there is a camaradarie that is not divided by religion, nor by politics nor by prejudice.
We walk together with open hearts, and open minds, and we share a very special experience as one endless stream of humanity walking this ancient footpath and savoring every moment.
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