Day 9: Camino del Norte

Mileage: 15
Total distance: 156

I’m not entirely sure what I was originally hoping to get out of the Camino, but after these past ten days I am slowly seeing this trail form a personality around me and lead me to a healthy view of myself and the rest of the world. I am learning lesson after lesson and due to stubbornness they seem to be hitting me pretty hard. 

I woke up this morning feeling refreshed and excited to try on a new headspace while hiking. Tyler, Naomi and I had some coffee and these amazing, sweet and free breakfast cakes before heading off. Trail again was 99% road, but it enabled us to walk together and talk most of the way. 

Half way through we found a small shop in San Miguel and had lunch. We planned on going to one of the most famous hostels on the trail in Guemes and wonderfully only had five more miles to go before we got there. When we did we were greeted by two people asking us if we spoke English and offered us water. We sat down and signed in to the hostel and found a grassy area to sit and relax before the communal dinner at 8. 

We got the idea to go into town and grab a few beers, but the bars were too expensive and there wasn’t a market so we decided to hitch into another town for better luck. One of the first cars that past us stopped and took us all the way into a town called Soma. Two men from Africa spoke in English and Spanish to us and offered incredible blueberries they got from the farm they work at. 

We got out of the car in Soma and went into the store. At the check out I reached for my wallet and felt the feel of deep panic and despair when I realized I left my wallet in their car and had no way of contacting them. I ran out to tell my friends and look for the car but it was long gone. Just another addition to the lesson of control I suppose. 

We thought maybe I had left it on the bench and never had it in the car so after two hitches we made it back to the bench by the bar. Thanks to Naomi’s Spanish skills, I wasn’t pressured to speak to any driver and was able to figure out what I was going to do without money or ID.

Eventually we got back to the bench and the wallet was gone. I began to cover my bases by telling the people at the bar, the market, the hostel and leaving a note at the bench. It really sucks to have lost my wallet, but it didn’t take long for me to feel peace wash over me when my friends offered to lend me euros and I could venmo them money. It is all going to be ok. Also, my friend is coming to hike with me in the Pyrenees and can bring me a new credit card if mine is not found. Thankfully my passport was not lost. Something seems to be trying to get a hold of me. I feel the need to slow down my thoughts and be alone and spend some time resting in solitude.  Unfortunately this means that tomorrow I will have to say some hard goodbyes and continue on alone. 

When we got back to the hostel it was time for a meeting with the man who owned the hostel. It had been in his family for three generations and is absolutely beautiful. At its max it can hold sixty pilgrims. The meeting was spoke in English and Spanish with a translator and looking around the room I realized there were around ten countries represented and that was validated in the meeting as well. There were people from Sweden and France and Germany and Italy and America and Norway (Benta was there!). 

On the way to dinner Benta came up to me and with her hand on my back asked how I was doing because she had heard about my wallet. Almost ten other people I don’t know asked me too. It seemed everyone was behind me and offering comfort and concern for my situation, which honestly I felt very peaceful about. 

Dinner was amazing; bread and soup appetizer, a Spanish rice dish I forgot the name of and a Plumb for desert. Wine was served in endless bottles and languages of all sorts were heard around the room. This whole hostel is run on donations. They charge nothing but what you will to pay. 

After dinner we went outside to have some beer on the lawn and played some music. A German guy who is hiking from Germany to Santiago without any money to show his hatred of capitalism came to join us and another French couple. The German played harmonica and we sang songs and talked for about an hour before a huge fire was lit in the backyard. We hopped a fence and went to join. 

Whiskey bottles were passed around by the men and women who worked at the hostel and glasses were lifted in cheers and joy. We laughed and talked and formed songs about punks and dogs in abandoned hotels on the coast of Spain. As the fire got smaller there began the traditional fire jump where you must run and clear the embers without falling in our clipping the fire. 

This party lasted for a few hours and finally one by one we headed for our beds. The fire had dwindled and the alcohol had made us sleepy. The day had been longer and full of experiences. My wallet is gone but my heart is at peace. I am surrounded by love and beauty and people from allover the world searching for truth and healing. There is no where I’d rather be than in the arms of the Camino. Maybe one place. 

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