My mind and heart are strong, even if my body doesn't seem to want to heal. (My blisters now have blisters, no joke).
After I nearly fell apart after yesterday's 32km, who would appear but Irish Mary. I ran into her again this morning as we left town and we kept the same pace traveling all the way through today's 22.5km (and 6km of rain) together.
We rolled into town about 4pm and I found the last bed in the monastery since she already had a place reserved elsewhere. I had plenty of time to nap before catching the evening mass and though my feet hurt and my pinky toe blisters are now open flesh, I found myself restless and unable to lay in one place for long. So I got dressed and headed back out into the rain. Santo Domingo has proven to be a lovely rainy evening with busy shops and a unique combination of Spanish tapas and American comfort food (Nuggets pollo!).
I even managed to see a whole host of familiar faces who I thought were days ahead of me. The general topic of conversation seems to be that we're about 25% of the way there, and in a few days it'll be 1/3rd. So the question is: are you doing the Camino the way you wanted? What have the highlights been? What do you want to do differently?
I think it's safe to say that we've all gotten our sea legs now and it now turns to each of us making the Camino our own. This is of course, much easier said than done since I still feel the pressure to "make it in time".
My ever-present traveling companion John (John Brierly, author of the most popular English guide to the Camino-- and yes, I talk about him as if he is actually traveling with me; eg. "Lets see when John says the next water fountain is" and "John says that the story behind this is...")-- well, John keeps an aggressive schedule. So although I've let go the idea of keeping up with the herd, it seems the bigger struggle may be letting go of keeping up with John. :-)
All said, I think I've found my comfort zone (20-24km/ day) but of course now we've added a new dimension: RAIN. I've got a great North Face jacket (Super Venture) and rain pants. Today I went without the pants but its clear that I'll have to start tomorrow with both and hope that the weather eventually lets me shed them.
Some of the towns we go through are just lovely and I'm going to focus more on spending time in the ones I come across and truly enjoy.
So that's the agenda for tomorrow: ditch "John", stay dry, and enjoy it more. Good principles for life too, don't ya think?
PS. I'm keeping a log of what I do manage to walk each day, and it also helps me keep track of the days of the week-- a harder task than you might think.
And yes, the adjoining page is my itinerary for my flights home. It's a line by line that would make the schedulers to a presidential candidate proud. (h/t Vicki and Kelli)