Mel's Healing Pilgrimage 2016

Links to the Camino de Santiago pilgrimages are on the navigation links to the right of the web page.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Day 13 - Lost My Hat, but Found My Head

I left Melides, somewhat tired from the tossing and turning, without needing the flashlight because I decided to have a nice breakfast of orange, kiwi, and banana that I got from the supermercado last night. I walked alone for the first hour, passing yet another forest vendor. This one was unique in that he was doing fortunes.

Conrad caught up with me on his cycle. He gets off his bike and starts walking with me. What an interesting person. His family is from Dresden so he's an East German Saxon. He was conceived somewhere in Arizona while his parents worked in Santa Barbara after the wall fell but was born back in Germany. He's lived in Vienna Austria since then.

And he talks. He talked almost the whole day as we walked. It wasn't what I expected from my day but it gave me such insight. Here was a young man who was studying biomedical engineering and clearly is smart. And he's also exuberant, always moving, and dripping with a passion for travel. The last characteristic (well, along with the talking) might show why he reminded me of myself at that age.

He pondered things he discussed with Ivan (the fellow he was chatting with at the infamous vending machine): control, money, time, happiness, relationships.

By the time we pulled over for lunch, I forgot my hat somewhere, losing it in the forest somewhere on the trail, but gained so much more.

He also explained that plant I saw in such abundance produced a roastable nut. I realized these were chestnuts so we collected some for eating at the albergue.

Soon at our lunch at a quirky outdoor cafe, Elias and Jacob and a German middle-aged fellow who was now unemployed (Thomas) joined us. We chatted briefly but Conrad and I pressed on.

My very painful blisters returned so I wasn't walking quickly all day. I couldn't wait to deal with them at the next albergue. The three others actually caught up with us. We got to St Irene and got the last five bunks.

We went to the neighboring bar/restaurant and ate. I've been eating mostly protein for dinner and just touching on the fries, avoiding gluten in the bread, and shying away from liquor. This was the last night on the road so I had a big Galician Estrella beer.

Thomas had a last pint of beer... three times. Then he had a handful more last beers, got a bottle of wine for us all, and we closed the place down around 11pm.

As I slept, I wondered how I had gone from expecting tremendous isolation to interesting passing conversations to now long-term friendship. During dinner, the three Austrians and I decided to walk the last day into Santiago together, to share in this intense event.

And I realized that life can be like this. We often think we are alone or need to be alone when in fact we aren't and shouldn't, and whether we know it or not are insinuated into the lives of others. We are helped by an unseen shepherd to give us insight, strength, and nourishment.

We march together from this point on.

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