A Day of Gratitude – Viana

Experiencing a trip like this with so many cultural differences and hosted by such a beautiful country made me feel so grateful.  I decided today I would be purposeful and look for things to be grateful about.

For the first time, I jumped out of bed early and got myself out on the road by 6:30 am. I saw locals out walking their dogs and this cute little guy reminded me of a cement lion in front of a mansion.

IMG_4604.JPGIt is so cool that most people (locals and fellow peregrinos) wish you a buen Camino. Even those that are biking the trail roll on by wishing the walkers a buen Camino. It is really lovely. This is a real community. You connect quickly with your Camino family and then meet so many others along the way.

Being alone and inside your head is an interesting experience. At home, I spend a lot of time by myself so this isn’t anything new. What I do find is that I enjoy the solitude with a mix of a little crazy.  Today, I would be alone with my thoughts and wow was it beautiful.

The walk was not as severe as previous days. There were some hills but not as frequent and the weather was perfect. A light wind with beautiful sunshine. I am getting some colour but more of a “farmer tan” variety.

I have a pack full of meat, cheese, bread fruit and water to keep my energy up. The goal is Logroño – 27.2 km. This would be the furthest I have walked in a day.

It is difficult to describe the emotions of today. I don’t know why but I’m thinking a lot about my family.  All beautiful thoughts. I am grateful for my father who has been a true friend and loving support for many years and still going strong of which I thank God every day. My brothers, sister-in-laws and their families that are so different but not really. My children Philip and Joel and their partners who make me so proud to be a mother and my 3 grandchildren who light up my life. Over the years, our family has morphed as people grew older, passed away, happy arrivals, moved away, grew closer and further apart. Interests are shared and some are totally different but the foundation of our family is love…quirks and all. Walking today I said a prayer for all of you and not because I’m very religious but it struck me that my own judgements could prevent me from an even stronger relationship with you all. Nothing rocket science just a thought that passed across my mind as the kilometres grew.

I came across a pine forested area that smelled like northern Ontario. The ground was reddish brown with fallen needles and an entrepreneur set up a stand with fresh fruit and a hammock if you wanted to rest for a donation (donativo).

Continuing down the path, I eat my banana, drink my water and stay present. The occasional peregrino passes by and waves, smiles and marches on. Everyone has an story and it has been fun asking people about theirs.

As I am wandering through vineyards and olive groves the sun is shining on my left side and I can feel its warmth. I wonder if the rain has subsided in Ontario. They are calling for rain tomorrow in Logroño.  I happen across this area where people have left tributes. I cried when I read some of them who lost parents, children and friends and those with declarations of love and faith.  This one made wonder about the person who left this note.

Time for lunch and I find this cool outcrop of rock high in the hills overlooking the vineyards. The next portion is a 10% downhill trek so time to rest the tootsies. I pull out the last of my bread, Iberian jamon and cheese. As I move my pack off to the side my water bottle cap came off and I lost all but a mouthful of water. With over 3 hours plus left this was sort of a worry, but not really.   I could ask a fellow peregrino but you know me and germs, that would be the last resort! lol.

Continuing on my way,  the walk was lovely except for the circling vultures looking for carrion. Would I be their next victim? Of course not! I am still writing, but I was getting thirsty and it was starting to get warm. As I was coming over the hill on my right a pop-up bar appeared. I just smiled and thought to myself, “The camino does provide.” The proprietor set up shop with 2 tables, 8 chairs and cold beer and agua. I had both. I had just finished cracking a San Miguel when Diana appeared and the two of us took refuge in the shade while relishing the cold drink.

We decided that Viana would be our destination today. That is the beauty of this trip. You walk as far as you are able or push on. No reservations and carrying all your belongings on your back gives you flexibility. I sure appreciate my belongings in my pack and realize how much “stuff” I don’t need to be happy.  This is an important lesson on the Camino.

Arriving in Viana around 4:00 pm I found a spot at Albergue Izar for 10 euro plus pilgrim dinner and breakfast 17 euro in total. Compared to Los Arcos, this place was so clean and had a nice vibe. I found my way up 3 flights of stairs to room 6 and opened the door to find a lovely South Korean family with 3 boys who don’t  speak a word of English. The boys are adorable and the father keeps bowing at me. I just smile and go about my business of showering and laundry.

Once all cleaned up, I head downstairs to the main area and chat with some Italians from Milan and wait for dinner. Suddenly a beer is plunked down in front me causing me to jump. It’s Iris, and she says, “Drink!” Okay, then. lol  Happy hour in the albergue. Diana comes down the stairs and joins us and then the Brazilian ladies appear. We are all staying here but in different areas. I smiled broadly as I felt this was my new Camino family together again. A feeling of belonging.

Simone was helping the hospitalera make dinner. As the afternoon progressed the weather took a turn and more people decided to stay in for dinner. The Austrian hair stylist (Andreas), the German (Andrew) and the Irishman (Andy) sat at our table. Last to join was Maria (Italy) and Uma and Vera (Brazil). Pasta, pork, chicken and something mysterious was served with bottles of wine that just never seemed to empty. Of course there was bread and oranges for dessert.

Some decided to keep the party going but this girl headed to her room and fell into her bed by 8:00 pm. I didn’t hear a thing and enjoyed the giggling of the little boys in the background. I felt truly at peace and grateful to be alive.



    • Thanks Andrea, and happy to see you are following the blog. I wouldn’t say brave but it is quite the experience. I am learning a lot about other cultures and myself.’xoxo


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