I woke up this morning to roaring rain about 4 am. It took me a minute to realize it was rain as it was so loud. I hadn’t heard rain so loud in a long time. I rolled over with a groan of sore muscle and hoping the rain would move out of the area before we planned to hit the road.
The alarm went off at 5:30. We all moved rather slowly. I could no longer hear the rain, but Molli peered out the window to discover it was still raining. Fortunately not nearly as hard as 4 am, but a steady rain none the less.
We took our time packing up and discussed the plans for the day. We had planned to hike a 22 mile day. We had the option of hiking a 10 mile day to Najare, a town of about 8500. Or, we could hike 14 miles to the village of Azorfa. Azorfa is very small, so lodging options could be non-existent as other pilgrims may have decided not to hike due to the weather or only hike from Najare to Azorfa.
We opted to hike to Najare and call it an early day. None of us were thrilled about hiking in a steady rain. We hit the trail around 6:15. The rain had let up some but was still coming down. We initially had a difficult time remembering which direction the Camino was from our hotel. We ran into another pilgrim experiencing the same issue. Turns out she was from Los Angeles.
In short order, we found the trail and we were off. It rained pretty steady for the first 3 miles, then stopped. I actually thoroughly enjoyed hiking in the rain this morning. The landscape feels very still when it rains. As if everything takes a pause to enjoy the gift from the sky.
A mile further down the road we came to a very small village. Fortunately the only cafe opened early for pilgrims. Breakfast time. We had just ordered food when the bottomed dropped out. It started pouring. Impeccable timing.
We ate our breakfast and watched as the storm passed. The breakfast and coffee hit the spot, just like every other morning. We have established a routine. Wake up, hike, eat, hike, stop in town, find accommodations, eat. shower, rest, eat, blog, sleep. Repeat.
We are getting used to the trail experience. The day to day routine frees the mind to explore other issues. Contemplate life, think about relationships, set goals and intentions, have a clear focus. It is refreshing to unplug most of the day and just be in the moment. Not think about tomorrow, or yesterday, but be ever present in this moment. It’s a rarity with our busy lives.
My feet felt decent this morning. We walked on mostly dirt roads today. A welcome relief. Toward the very end, my left foot started to get sore again, but it seems to be getting better. Tomorrow we have another 13 mile day, and then we start larger miles. Saturday is a 20 mile day and Sunday will be a 17 mile day. These will be much longer days than we have experienced so far. I think we have started at a slow enough pace that we should have no issues other than fatigue.
We arrived in Najare around 10;30. Very early for a pilgrim. It was a short day and a welcome one. We found a small hotel butting up against a cliff side. The cliff side was inhabited by people hundreds of years ago. It reminds me a lot of the Gila Cliff Dwellings in New Mexico.
After checking in with the hotel we dropped our packs and walked around town a bit. My feet were confused. Weren’t we supposed to be resting now, I imagined them saying. It started to sprinkle as we made our way to a monastery Molli wanted to tour. As we walked in the bottom dropped out of the storm. Again, impeccable timing. This time it poured. I haven’t seen rain like this since the last thunderstorm I experienced in Dallas Texas about 8 years ago.
We toured the monastery. It dates back roughly 750 years and was founded by a king. It was a huge stunning structure. There were many tomes of notable knights from the era. The building has stood the test of time, but what is truly interesting to me is to think people have actively cared for the structure for the last 750 years. Otherwise, the building would be in ruins.
After the monastery we stopped at a cafe and had lunch. Paella again. It was quite good. We headed back to the hotel after a short stop at the local super market. We picked up 3 bags of ice and a small bucket. Ice bath torture time for our weary feet.
The afternoon was fairly routine with one exception. I took a two hour nap. It was amazing.
Tomorrow calls for more rain, but by Saturday we should be hiking under clear skies. Of course that would be the case, the section we are hiking into has no cover or shade. Our next tv show, Cooking on the Camino, how to cook pilgrims medium rare under the intense Spanish sun.
I look forward to a restful nights sleep.
Until tomorrow, Buen Camino.