Camino de Santiago: Day 10 (Christina)

Rest day in Granon

I have decided to spend another day at the church in Granon to give my feet a chance to heal. It feels really strange being left behind this morning. I say good-bye to Pauline who has finished her Camino for this year and is off to Madrid to visit a friend. This is Eleanor´s last day of walking and then she returns home. Sinead plans to walk for another week….maybe I´ll see her again. Everyone I have been walking with has gone ahead and will now be at least a day ahead of me. It feels so strange to be left behind. I resist the temptation to ignore my injured feet and follow after them.

After doing my laundry, I go for a little walk around this tiny village. It is deserted at 8:00 in the morning. In fact, most of these villages I pass through are deserted no matter what time I pass through. I think mainly old people are left in these villages; all the young people and young families have moved to the larger cities.

I find a bench in a little square overlooking the countryside and I take some time to think about all that has happened on the Camino so far. A lot of personal issues have arisen, much to my surprise. This is my rest day, so I just sit and enjoy my view: a field of poppies, stripes of farmers fields like ribbons stretched over the hills. The swallows are singing happily and are darting through the trees. I realize how very tired I am, emotionally and physically. I am glad I have this day for quiet reflection and a chance to heal my body and my spirit.

I update the blog on the computer in the bar, a very hungry computer that swallows my euros greedily. I am happy to finally be up to date. Haven´t heard from Chris for a few days now but I hear from others that he is doing fine. Lucky for him to have ¨found¨ his new boots.

I am perplexed about my footwear. I seem to get blisters no matter what I do. I think runners might be the solution. It is funny, I can run 20 or 30 km without ever getting a blister. Now, I don´t do it every day and not with a pack. Maybe that is the difference.

People start arriving at the church later today, early afternoon they start to straggle in. Most speak Italian, no English, Spanish or French so far. A nice Italian man makes a big sandwich and insists I eat part of it….I don´t mind having someone care for me today. In fact I very much appreciate it. After lunch I have a nap for almost two hours, a deep and restorative sleep. When I awake, I find I am in Little Italy, surrounded by mainly older, Italian men in the room. I suspect there will be plenty of snoring tonight.

There are only 30 people in the church today compared to almost 60 yesterday. Somehow the energy is different, more negative today. Not sure if it is me and my filter or if it is the people here. There are only a few English speaking pilgrims and I seek them out but soon regret it. First I talk to a couple of Irish ladies, who turn out to be nurses as well. They are a little older than me and they are bitching and complaining about the miserable, unhappy people in Spain. Nobody greets them in the stores, nobody says hello along the pathways. I am shocked as this has not been my experience at all. When I tell them that everyone I say hello to also says hello back, they make the comment that they shouldn´t have to say hello first, especially in the shops. When they start criticizing the girl in the local shop who I admit is pretty grumpy, I again speak up and say they don´t know this girl´s circumstance, so they really shouldn´t be so harsh. Well, that set them off about us Canadians who are so damn nice and always make excuses for people. I don´t think I won any friends here.

The only supermarket in town.

Window above the choir in the church.

I eat dinner with a Dutch women who is also my mat neighbour. She complains about the dinner which I happened to think is very nice: fresh garden salad and then a main dish with potatoes and beans and sausage. Her observation: humph, potatoes, cheap pilgrim food. She said she was there for the experience, and this was an experience she only needed to do once.

I was feeling pretty uncomfortable with this crowd. The Italians were boisterous and very loud. I really just wanted to get out of there….amazing how different this experience was from the day before. After dinner, I went directly to bed, just to escape. No prayer service tonight.


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