Camino: Day 29-31

Day 29 – San Martín Del Camino to Astorga

24km by bus. Every day that seems normal I am grateful for these days. Decided to take it easy today and rest the kidney. I hopped on a bus to Astorga after asking in broken Spanish where the bus stop was. Let me tell you: there’s no way you would know it’s a bus stop. Hop skip and a jump to Astorga. What took some people 6 hours, I was there in 20 mins. I visited the tourist info booth and got my bearings of the town. Super cute and not many people around. I headed to the albergue of choice, dropped my bag and set off for the chocolate factory. It was a little anticlimactic. Then to the palace of Gaudi. Gaudi seems to be a pretty regular name around these parts. An architect before his time that was taken out by a street car?! Seems so unfair. Did the slang term “gawdy” come from “Gaudi”? I wonder. Anyway, I took the side road back along the fortress wall. So quiet and peaceful and it ended up in a little park beside my albergue. I sat there for a couple of hours, eating, sorting out the next few days, watching Stephen Colbert (sometimes you just need a good laugh). I went back to the albergue and my kidney started aching again. Then I met up with Monica from Germany for dinner. We drank and ate and had a great conversation. I walked back and saw Pedro from yesterday in the park with Oscar. We had a wonderful conversation about the things we think we’ve learned along the way. I have a feeling I’ll be running into these guys again all the way to the end. Tomorrow I send my pack forward (first time) and I walk 19km. I am making sure I don’t do too much too quickly after passing the stone. Feeling good to be on my way to the finish line. I still amaze myself when I successfully navigate getting from place to place #thatswhatlucisfor Tomorrow Rabanal. #

Day 30 – Astorga to Rabanal

22 km. We packed up and took off around 7:30. Still dark. Guess who tripped and fell over a small raise in the sidewalk? Yep. Me. Landed on knees and hands and mouth. What hurts the most now is my lip. It’s puffy and turning a nice shade of purple. Sigh… I was thinking about SmashMouth earlier and the song “I get knocked down but I get up again, you’re never going to keep me down…” definitely my theme song. just one more thing to add to the book I’m going to write. Luckily I sent my bag forward otherwise I’m sure with that weight I would have broken my nose. It was a nice walk today. Mostly flat. We passed a cowboy bar which was pretty neat. I’m seeing the same people over and over again. Got a new extended Camino family these days. I walked for a lot of the day with Monica and Jörg. We ended up in Rabanal. My kidney is aching still. Double sigh. I will send my pack forward again tomorrow and walk 20km to Riego de Ambros. 3 sleeps until I see Luc. I’m so excited! I’m done doing this alone and ready for some partnership and help. #

Day 31 – Rabal to Riego De Ambros

22km. Wow 30 days I’ve been out here doing this! Seems appropriate to visit the iron cross today. As you can see from the last photo it was an up and then down down down. Probably the worst down I’ve done. I walked with Monica and Jörg for a bit but then I left them at the iron cross and they are one town back. At the iron cross you leave a stone behind-it’s meant to represent whatever burden you want to release from carrying. I think I read somewhere to please only bring one rock. My rock was thrown out with the backpack so I got a new one to leave behind. I thought about if I wanted to share the burdens I released and I think I do. I’m not journaling anywhere else and I’m practicing vulnerability so I will. I sat in the sun and closed my eyes and held the rock. What came up for me was this: “I release the burden of suffering. I release the burden of shame. I release the burden of judgement both being judged and judging others. I release the burden of having to get it right. I release the burden of not being good enough. I release the burden of fear. I release the burden of the kidney stone. I release the burden of losing my backpack. I release the burden of my past.” As I walked down the hill, I felt an incredible peace and freedom come over me. I felt lighter and that I will remember this day as today was a day of peace and love and inner joy. Contentment. Today was a great day.

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Cheese, wine, Switzerland

It’s good to be back in Switzerland, even if it was just for 3 days.

The idea was for us to come back here, rearrange our stuff, celebrate the 1st of August (Swiss national holiday) and spend some time with friends and family. Exactly what we accomplished.

We arrived by train at the train station where Guy, my father-in-law picked us up. I’ll spare you the broken record: it was hot, morning, day and night.

We dropped our bags, had a wonderful dinner with Luc’s parents, and then Luc, Vivi and Guy headed to the fireworks and I retired to my bed – I thought I was fighting a cold.

The next day was the 1st. We hunted for a box we left in the attic 6 years ago when we lived there for 6 months. After some brou ha ha, Guy found it tucked in a far reaching corner of the attic. It held so many treasures that I had forgotten about: towels, tampons, Christmas cookie cutters, Christmas wrapping, a pair of shoes, a curling iron, books, slippers… it was like a time capsule we got to reopen.

A neighbour to Guy and Camille invited us over to their pool for a swim. This neighbour has a daughter about Vivi’s age who we hope will become great friends with her. Unfortunately she was on holidays still but the pool was incredible to cool off.

Later that night we headed to Jouxtens for sausages, wine, bread, lentils, wine, and lots of friends and connecting – it was the 1st of August and the Swiss national holiday. Vivi made a friend on the play ground. It rained like crazy and thunder and lightening. So cool.

After that, we headed down to the field where there was a MASSIVE bonfire and fireworks. I’ve never been one to really dig fireworks and I find it interesting that it seems like the Swiss (and now I’ve witnessed the French – more on that later) really do enjoy watching the night time spectacle. They light up the sky for what seems like a half an hour. All I can think is “wow this must be so expensive”.

The next day was the 2nd. Time to look at everything we brought: store winter stuff, pack for the Cote D’azure for 3 weeks and the Camino for 40 days. Try not to forget anything. We downsized to a backpack each and one big backpack. Not too bad. Much fighting and arguing ensued for Luc and me.

After that, we headed to a friend’s house for a wonderful lunch. Let me paint the picture: first the lunch was about 4 hours (and I left early to catch up with a friend, my mom, and my daughter). We had some aperitifs under the tree in their backyard: baby tomatoes, crackers, wine. So lovely. Then we moved to the table in their yard where we had a pasta salad and tomatoes with mozzarella and basil as a starter. Then sausages  and green beans – more wine. So delicious and so spoiled. It was beautiful. We moved back to the table under the tree to have bread and 2 different kinds of cheese. I think more wine. Then we had a Turkish drink called Raki that tastes like Ouzo. Then a little tiny delicious coffee. I was a little drunk by the end of that meal to be sure.

It was such a wonderful time catching up with our friends and getting to connect with Luc’s longtime friend’s wife who speaks English. She’s a new friend of mine but I’m so happy to meet her and her two wonderful children.

Since Luc and I have been fighting like cats and dogs, I suggested that we take the opportunity, while we have babysitters, to go out that night on a date and try to reconnect. I wanted to go to Vevey where we lived for 6 months, 6 years ago.

We grabbed his parents car and headed out around 8:30pm taking the lakeside route from Jouxtens to Vevey. Just like how I remembered it.

We got to Vevey as the sun was setting over the lake. I immediately felt like I was home. There is something so special about Vevey for me. I had only been there for about 10 mins when I told Luc I could absolutely move back here in a heart beat.

We ate at our old stomping ground, Pizza Taxi over looking the lake. It was pristine. I couldn’t have asked to be in a better place at that time. It filled up my heart and spirit to soak it all in.

We slowly walked back to the car, I remembered the times we spent here, the different seasons, the snow, the Uno competition, the walks beside the lake pushing Violette in the pousette, visiting the town when it was Christmas, watching the leaves change as I walked Jaedyn to school…it was heaven.

The next morning we woke up and headed to the airport to take off for Antibes. It was weird thinking I wouldn’t be back in Switzerland until October. I’ll come back and the leaves will have started to change, it will be cooler (hopefully), Vivi will have been in school for over a month and things will be different again.


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