Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Today's photo is a close-up of one of the many peregrino statues across northern Spain. It was in Leon, but it seems to express how I feel today. Very, very tired. I walked all over Sarria and the albergues were full. Even the cheaper hotels were full. I don't know where my friends are, but they probably got in to town before I did. So, I had to make a great sacrifice, and check in to the Alfonso IX, a 3 star hotel. In the last two nights I have had very bad experiences in albergues with snoring and rude people, so I am enjoying this luxury: my very own bathroom and shower with REAL towels and wee bottles of shampoo and fancy soap and my very own bed with REAL sheets and peace and quiet. Ahhh...
Now I am going to tell you the truth here and I am curious if other pilgrims have had this experience at this point. Once I reached O Cebreiro I knew I could make it to Santiago. Somehow the last few days have felt anti-climactic--just a real "slog". I am so tired of many things. I am tired of thoughtless people in albergues; I am tired of washing clothes in ice cold water; I am tired of bars with dirty restrooms where there is never any toilet paper or paper towels; I am tired of having to be aggressive in bars to get waited on instead of waiting in an orderly line; I am tired of speaking only pidgin English because there are hardly any native English speakers; I am tired of sour-faced Spaniards who are probably tired of peregrinos; I am tired of motorists who seem to be trying to see how close they can get to me without hitting me; I am tired of peregrinos who talk loudly and incessantly on the camino on a beautiful fresh morning when I'd rather hear the birds sing.
OK, since I am a good and grateful pilgrim, I will now tell you what I am NOT tired of: I am not tired of getting up with the sun and stepping out into a new day; I am not tired of seeing the mist on the mountains and the hills spread out like an emerald drapery below me; I am not tired of watching the snails and slugs slowing inch their way across my path; I am not tired of marveling at the creative color schemes of the wildflowers in the fields, or of hearing the tinkling bells on the sheep and cows as the shepherds and farmers drive them along the country roads; I am not tired of walking in the shade of massive Spanish chestnut trees or of eating the cherries that are just in season now; I am not tired of being outside six or more hours a day soaking up the beauty of God's green earth.
So what's wrong? Well, a tune came to mind as I was walking today that I think sums it up. It is the song of the Scottish soldier who is serving in a foreign land far from home. He sings, "because those green hills are not highland hills, oh the island hills--they're not my land's hills. And fair as these green foreign hills may be, they are not the hills of home."
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  1. I remember having a temper tantrum the day after Sarria - I ranted about all the food that I was missing: broccoli, squash, my own granola, whole grain bread, and greens!! I yelled that I never wanted to eat another meusli bar, or see tuna ever again! But I got over it, and now all the memories are happy ones, even the memory of the silly woman who did that rant.
    Enjoy every moment of this once in a lifetime experience.

  2. Once again you say it perfectly and Darlene is 100% on the mark, “Enjoy every moment of this once in a lifetime experience”. Keep in mind fresh fruit and berries with your own special yogurt are waiting for you. Also, all the loud aggressive, snoring and rude people (mostly just me) have learned to keep quiet and capture the moment of snails moving to their own destiny.

  3. You are entitled to every positive and negative feeling. Isn't that life! How wonderful to feel the freedom to express it all...to yourself AND the world. Once again, you are giving us a slice of your life. We can feel you and the feelings inside our own selves. Every moment won't be filled with enjoyment, but the next moment is awaiting for the enjoyment to come. Acknowledging the momentary miseries allows you to appreciate the beauty of what is all around you. What a powerful journey of life you are on. I'm with you.
    Scott is arriving today and we are excited to see him. Know that you look forward to seeing you children and grandchildren when you arrive back to Kentucky. The next chapter...
    Love, Leslie

  4. Darlene, thanks! I needed that. I just wish you hadn't reminded me of broccoli and squash!
    Rog, sauteed veggies and rare steak on the barbie will be in order, too.
    Leslie, I did want to be honest. It is not all wine and roses out here. Great that Scott is coming! I have told about his experience with wonderful hospitality in Turkey to Dilek. She talks all the time about her Turkish grandmother.

  5. You kind of describe life with it ups and downs but most of us experience it without a long walk. Glad you got a soft pillow for the night.

    Your goal is to get to the church on time.


  6. Hi Bev, don't we go away from home, so that we can appreciate home again. Woody and I enjoyed touring KY together because it reminded us of our childhood homes. We spend our whole lives trying to go home. Love you and God be with you, Linda

  7. Mom, I appreciate your honest thoughts. Sounds like the last leg of the camino is a lot like the last month of pregnancy--the magic of creating and carrying life has largely worn off and you just want the baby OUT! Everything has its ebbs and flows, right? Hope the tiny shampoos and private bathroom gave your spirits the boost you need to enjoy your last days there. When do you expect to reach Santiago?

  8. I had to laugh...your things you are tired of remind me of everyday in New York City. Getting on a (cattle car) train and putting up with loud, rude people...arriving at Grand Central to hordes of people moving in sixteen million different directions and then getting on the subway (worst than a cattle car). And then your list of things you are not tired of remind me of why I'd love to live in Montana. Beautiful God's country where things are just a little slower. When I was in Montana hunting last fall I kept hearing a strange sound and I finally figured out what it was. It was the sound of the birds wings flapping high overhead. I smiled at the quiet that allowed me to hear that.

    Anyway, I understand what your saying.

    Hang in there and focus the rest of your trip on taking in the great views, sounds and smells that you will remember the rest of your life!

  9. Bev,
    Sorry to be absent. I've been busy with my own camino. But regarding your comments...we have all learned, we can not know the good if we do not know the bad, we can not taste the sweet without tasting the bitter and we can not know joy without knowing sadness. Everything has its opposite. But perhaps these experiences scan teach us about ourselves. Do we want to be the bitter in another' life or the sweet? Do we bring joy or sorrow to others? Who we are and how we act does not have to be dictated by the crowd or even a situation. There is a true story told about a great man, who one day was in an airport where a flights had been cancelled. A pregnant woman traveling with a young child was struggling trying to find another flight among the chaos of so many clamoring people. The child was crying and she was obviously weary herself. This man settled the woman in a comfortable chair, got the child something to eat and then went to work to get her a flight home. When all was taken care of, he then went about finding a flight for himself. All of this for a stranger. His example stirred many hearts that day as they watched his kindness. Our lives, our actions affect many, often unbeknownst to us or at least without knowing how deeply we have affected someone. Bev, let your heart soar to the skies in the morning light and be filled with joy that you may draw to yourself much good.