Days walked: 8
Kilometres walked: 166
Kilometres to Santiago: 615
Life lesson: Everyone has something to teach you
Today was our longest day to date. Three of the five enjoyed the freedom of sending our packs on, while the other two remain inspirational heroes. We said farewell to some friends we'd made as we walked - particularly Jean-Claude, who will return to France. And we made new ones.
As dawn breaks the kitchen comes to life,
Swarms of pilgrims preparing for the day.
Abandoned eggshells litter plates. In the corner packs piled high, as dark coffee is pumped continuously from a silver cylinder.
Frenetic. Energetic. Big plans for the day.
We must soon be on our way.
Last minute debates about the weather. What will the day hold?
Basic things matter. Like sunshine.
Within minutes the swarm has dispersed. Were they ever here?
The only proof of the last 12 hours lies in the tired eyes of the host, as he shuffles the stragglers out to make way for a new tribe.
Icy cold noses lead the way as we trudge along to our own rythyms.
The sun emerges slowly to cheer us on and reveal the true colours of the Navarre.
The terrain shifts, green to rugged yellow.
Hardy shrubs wind around hills, up and down we go.
Many others are here. Together as one, bound by the experience of walking.
Jean-Claude a kind French man converses as though we are fluent.
We answer as if we are, with smiling eyes and extraordinary words plucked from high school recesses as if by magic. Oeuf!
Ivan the Spaniard passes us as we lay five-strong on plump royal green grass in the sunshine.
"You crazy Aussies," he laughs snapping our portrait for his blog.
Even though we depart in a trickle, and walk to a different beat, we all end up together. Eventually. At a coffee stop, pilgrims meet.
Peregrinos each alone, with their own tale, become like family for a brief while.
Each on their own journey.