We decided to cut the last walk in two since it is one of the longer ones and the last half includes two hill climbs. I am very slow on the uphill grinds. I thought it would be me knees which would give me trouble. (bad knees…..an occupational hazard for clergy you know). However it is my hips which are screaming at me. We all have our slow times. For Mark it is in the morning when he struggles to get going and has a demanding regimen of medications to attend to. Tannis fades in the afternoon, and I slow down to a crawl on hills. We have learned to make allowances for each other and our impatience, (always ready to flare) has been less of a problem.
As we walked we fell in with a group of five young Portuguese men, who had enjoyed high humor over several bottles of wine till just after lights out. They seemed to be young friends attached to some sports team or whatever. Turns out they are indeed friends of long standing but are now all professionals of one sort or another, lawyers and engineers were two I identified, who decided almost on a whim to walk to Santiago. They gave us interesting insights into Portuguese culture and some suggestions about what to do on our days in Opoto. Very interesting people, but faster walkers than us so off they went, full of the joy of youth.
One of the sights on our way today was a Marian Shrine, Santa Maria de Cruces, in Esclevitude. Not open, but an imposing baroque presence. When we got to the Albergue shortly after noon, it was pleasant enough and small, with only one person there, but Mark had a very restless time last night with a whole chorus of heavy snorers, so we decided to push on to a country B&B. Very nice place with a grassed area in the back. It is always a treat to have clean sheets but it is more than we should be spending at this point. What is it with this guilt response all the time!!! The biggest problem is that the only food for miles around is at the restaurant across the road, which is a little pricey, and the breakfast at the house is not until 9:00 so we will be getting a late start.
Part of my guilty feelings, I realize, is an issue which has been dancing just outside my consciousness for a while as we walk. We keep encountering people who are working in fields, on roads, in gardens and wash stands, restaurants and offices. I often wonder what they think of us having the time to indulge ourselves at an apparently unnecessary walk. We are working very hard at a task which I think is beneficial not only to ourselves but also to the world. However, not everyone has the resources to enjoy the travel and experience which is part of thIs effort. So I try to join my work to theirs and ask a blessing on their efforts and their lives.
Question raised about no blog one day and three the next day. Simply a matter of the vagaries of wifi. Sometimes you just can not do what you want to do…..so you wait and send it the next day.
Tomorrow, God willing, and all going well, we will arrive in Santiago. I am not looking forward to the hill up to the cathedral, but hopefully the rest tonight will prepare me. I feel strangely detached from the prospect of the end of the pilgrimage. I really do not know what to expect, so I will have to wait for whatever comes. Perhaps we can discuss this together over supper tonight. My prayer is that we will each know a deeper connection with the Source of all and that whatever healing of heart, mind or body is intended for us will be manifested clearly.