Day 24, 2017 - Bercianos del Real Camino to Mansilla de la Mulas

INSTINCTS

Trusting what I know

about my health or people

helps to protect me.

Departed at 6:30am; 41° 

I was up early with a bad sore throat. This could not be good. 

Perhaps it was because of lack of sleep, or the sore throat, or because this was a 27k day or just because I missed home, but today was the first day I didn't want to walk. I just wanted to throw the covers over my head and sleep. Plus, I realized I was out of magic, Spanish Ibuprofen (my pain reliever of choice available over the counter in 600mg). I knew I had to remedy this as quickly as possible so it was best I be on my way.

It was dark so I had a somewhat hard time finding the way out of town. But I knew all I had to do was walk away from the rising sun. When I consulted the oracle (the weather app on my phone), I saw the temperature was going to get up to the sizzling 70's. Right now, though it felt cold. I needed gloves but didn't want to take off my pack to get them. So, my laziness made me suffer...a conclusion applicable in other situations, I'm certain.

A crow cawed in the distance. Birds chirped as the morning lightened. Pinks and purples marked the horizon. Large pivots spanned the recently tilled fields. Sycamore trees lined the path. The air smelled fresh and clean.

As the sun rose and shone across the fields, it seemed to glow...an orange-brown color marred with shadow.  

I caught up with a fellow walker, Ray from Cambridge which made the first 8 km go rather quickly. He was a chef and was cooking for others on his journey.  We talked about the increase of pilgrims walking and how the Camino was changing with the use of technology. I wondered what the differences might be in only 5 years. How many more pilgrims would be walking? How would technology make the journey different?

Before we parted ways, Ray told me a saying that goes like this, "trust God, but tie your horse".  It made me ponder my faith and responsibility for my own well-being. It was typical to ebb and flow with other pilgrims and "buen camino" was both a hello and a goodbye. Ray and I parted when I needed my first café con leche and he did not.. I supposed I wouldn't see him again though I sensed he would be a welcome companion and there would be no need to tie my horse. I found a farmacia and restocked my ibuprofen.

I relaxed for 20 minutes or so; then walked on, solo. I felt a blister forming so I stopped to put a precautionary bandage on the outer edge of my left foot. I knew the benefit of tending to any "hot spots"...the first rule of the Camino again came into my head...MIND YOUR FEET. 

Just at the edge of town where I ended the day in Mansilla de la Mulas, I met Mick from Cincinnati. We chatted for a while, but something told me to steer clear of him...he was confident and boastful. Later, when talking to several other pilgrims, I learned that his reputation preceded him. My intuition had been right. I began to consider what contributes to first impressions and to second impressions. What part does trusting one's instincts and the opinion of others play in forming and altering perception? This would be an ongoing focus, one that I hoped would be resolved by the time I reached Santiago.

I found my hostel quickly and showered. It was heaven to have access to a hairdryer and a double bed with clean, white sheets. Sometimes, the simplest pleasures are the best! I later joined friends in the garden behind an Albergue where many other pilgrims had stopped. We steered clear of Mick as we quenched our thirst with a cerveza and revisited the day's events.

The day ended but not before dinner and a walk about town. Unlike earlier when I'd chosen not to wear my gloves, I tended to my other aches and pains. A change from boots to sandals soothed my feet, a throat lozenge soothed my throat and my magic, Spanish ibuprofen relieved any bodily pain. Sleep came easy.