Day 10: Camino del Norte

Mileage: 24.8
Total distance: 180.8

All day as I was walking I was questioning myself on my decision to continue on without Tyler and Naomi. I went back and forth and back and forth wondering if I made the best decision for myself. On the one hand if I stayed with them I would have endless fun and great, soul building conversations, but on the other hand if I continue on alone I will have more opportunity to be alone and grow in the ways I set out to. After a few hours of walking I came to the conclusion that my time with them was very significant in a healing and nurturing sort of way, but I didn’t want to rely on them and turn it into a crutch. I feel as if I was given a chance to settle down and have my head put back on straight and now I can move forward with clear direction and not destroy myself physically in my desire to control and lose my initial intent to become the person I need to be for people I love deeply. So I am once again on my own. 

I woke up with a splitting headache after last nights shenanigans and had the worst allergy attack I’ve have in months. My nose was a faucet and I just could not stop sneezing. It took me a long time to get ready to leave because of this, but after breakfast with my friends I said my hard goodbyes and headed out to Santander. Within thirty minutes Ernesto, the man who owns the hostel, came roaring down the street after me in his van with a translator and Tyler in the back seat. He was intent on finding my wallet so I got in the car and decided to go to the blueberry farm where the men worked who gave us the ride. We got there and they were closed so I was given a phone number to call Monday and Ernesto said he would do whatever he could by then to help find my wallet. His concern and care made me feel shame in a strange way like I didn’t deserve his ferocious care of my situation, but I accepted his help and again said bye to Tyler before I left. 

I took a long way around the trail today to get some ocean time looking over the spiny cliffs that steeped down into foggy, choppy water. The trail I walked was fairly smooth and flat with little incline up the slow sloping hills and cutting through endless fields of grass swaying from the constant whisper of wind under a thick blanket of cotton clouds. The world appeared grey, but evoked a sense of fervor as I walked the edge of a continent. 

Around noon I got into Soma and rode a ferry across the river into Santander. This was the third largest city I had been in since the start of the Camino and I had no intention to stick around until I heard the sounds of an orchestra playing nearby. I followed the sound and found an outdoor concert being put on by a full orchestra while people sat on white plastic chairs neatly spaced in rows in front of the stage. I sat and listened for a while and watched people come and go; couples holding hands, parents carrying children on shoulders, older people nodding their heads along with the melody and anticipatig the next movement. There is something very special to me about grey days. They always seem to make ideas and feelings accessible in a way that I can watch pass through my mind and heart allowing me to catch enough pieces to put together more of the puzzle and understand more fully all of the various parts that create my reality. 

After a while of listening, I left Santander to begin a long, long, sluggish walk down a street littered with papers and plastics and cigarette butts. The concrete buildings were covered in scraggly graffiti tags and adds for concerts and raves that happened months ago. This lasted for almost ten miles with the amount of civilization expanding and contracting like resting lungs when I got to the train station to cross another river. As I was about to board the train Tyler and Naomi hopped off. With seconds to comprehend the random yet perfectly understandable fact that we had crossed paths again, I laughed and said a disappointed hello and goodbye while I boarded the train. They decided to splurge and get a hotel and just so happened to be there the same time I was leaving. 

Convincing myself again of the need to be independent and strong in my move forward I pressed on down another long concrete road paralleling two massive, metal tubes that reminded me of my time on the aqueduct in the desert on the PCT. to my left was a stream of rusty apartment complexes and on my right a marsh with thousands of birds singing and flying around. I walked feeling very peaceful and mostly healthy besides a small, but continuous issue with my sinuses. 

Around 7 I decided to call it a day and pulled into a small town with an Albergue. After getting myself signed in I headed into the Albergue and sitting down on a chair reading a thin and worn book was Benta. 

Benta and I sat together for a while sharing stories of our day and reflecting on the beautiful sections of ocean views and tall cliffs. Randomly dropping into the same Albergue, hostel, as Benta brought a huge amount of peace in my decision to continue on alone. 

After sitting with her for a while I got my pad and stretched then took a shower and now am laying down on the top bunk above two young French boys who are yapping it up; seemingly without any concern for the people sleeping in the room. I have no plan tomorrow or even until my flight to Corsica on the 7th. Tomorrow I will wake up when my body feels it is time and continue on down this impressively powerful and enchanting trail. My phone is still charging. 💜

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