June 10, 2014 - Distance Traveled: 9.4 km -
Today, as we were walking I asked asked Emilie to disciple me on how to walk slowly. It is not that she is slow. In fact, she always seems to arrive 20 to 30 minutes after I do, but she also always seems to move through the day without rushing. It is a rhythm I would do well to learn. So for the first two hours, I walked behind her or beside her. Not only did I think the pace would be good for my heart, I also thought my pace might be what was contributing to knee pain I have been experiencing for the past few days.
The proximity enabled us to enter into long discussions regarding a bunch of topics, things like: How our response determines how difficult circumstances shape us; How to keep from being so focused on the destination that we miss the beauty of the journey and How do we become who we are meant to be. We also talked about the opportunity the Camino gives to live in the present moment and how we can keep that posture when we move home. It made for a rich morning of conversation, and the kilometers ticked by quickly.
Two hours and 9 km later, we came to a cafe/bar that seemed like a good place to take our first break of the day. Within a few minutes, everyone had arrived and we were sitting around a table It was still early and some of us were thinking about moving on and getting closer to Leon. Others were thinking of making it a short day, a quasi rest day, and stopping here. I had determined before I walked the Camino I wanted to be more responsive than directive as I walked, so I listened as each shared what they desired to do, trying to be open to either choice. When the talking was done and our coffee cups were empty, Ki, Junyoung and Franchesca decided to press on. Emilie, Samantha and I chose to stay.
Watching them walk away was easier than I thought. I have been learning over the past few days that just because you part company on the Camino, it doesn't mean you will not see a person again.
Karen's arrival last night was proof of that. Days earlier she had sped off with Jeff to catch a train to Madrid in order to replace his passport, and yet here she was sitting a the table with us. Later in the evening, Todd, who was always telling me he had to keep moving because he had to finish the Camino days before I would, meandered through town hours after I arrived. After catching up, I encouraged him to stay, but once again he assured me he had to keep moving.
I did not realize there were pirates this far from the sea.
The decision to stay in Castrojeriz gave us the time and space to relax and enjoy afternoon. We hiked up to the castle which overlooks the village, caught up on our journaling and wrote postcards to send home.
You can see the path leading into Castrojeriz. Pilgrims look like ants from here.
A quick look into albergue living.
By dinner time, our rest day had the wonderful effect of allowing Sergio to catch up with us. He had been struggling with shin splints, which he was sure were caused by moving too far to quick, and had fallen a day behind.
We also made a new friend. Helen (in all black) is from New Zealand. She is walking with two others; Rachael and Amy. While her friends headed off to explore something which had caught their eye on their way into town, Helen joined us for dinner. We quickly discovered she is an authentic soul who thinks deeply about life and faith. She shared her story and I think the rest of us were able to affirm and encourage her. I had the feeling that our meeting is a Divine appointment. We will see what come of it. We snapped this photo on the way back to the Albergue to commemorate a wonderful evening.