Last night was sleepless with mosquitos whining persistently around our ears all night. Never mind, we were up & out at the crack of dawn again to beat the blazing afternoon heat.
The route wound through undulating farmland with long flat stretches. It was nowhere near as punishing as yesterday. Under a cloudless sky, I relished picking the last handful of wild cherries I'll see in a long while. It was a fitting finish to a spectacular 750 kms walk.
When we sighted our Camino Le Puy goal, St Jean-Pied-de-Port, at 2:30 pm, we made our way excitedly to the familiar gite from which we had set out 3 years ago for our 1st Camino: the Camino Frances. Our send-off had been memorable and we had wanted to end this Camino in the same gite: the former L'Esprit du Chemin, now changed hands to Beilari Aterpea.
Problems soon ensued, as there was no booking for Geoff, only for me - a clear mistake by the gite owner, as was readily admitted. So, because they were choc-a-bloc, and highly embarrassed, they put us up in their beautiful little apartment, reserved for a gite volunteer. No two beds in the mixed dorm, as expected. We are here for two nights (a rest day tomorrow) so it's special indeed.
Over dinner aperitifs with the 20 of us, we enjoyed the familiar routine of playing the imaginary ball game where you give your name, your country of origin and a few words relating to the Camino. There is great importance given here to being a family for one night. This took at least an hour because, although we all spoke very briefly as instructed, there was impressive attention paid to language comprehension, with everything being interpreted into English, Spanish, French and occasionally Portuguese. This broke the ice and everyone was thoroughly relaxed enough to enjoy the delicious meal to follow.
It has been a privilege to make this pilgrimage. With having had to cancel everything at the last minute last year for health reasons, we haven't taken anything for granted. Each day has felt like a special gift to be honoured and cherished.
Thank you to all who have cheered us along the Way. Our hearts are bursting with gratitude for making it injury-free and in perfect health. Thank you for forgiving us all the typos, spelling mistakes & lack of French accents. The blog has invariably been written and the FB pics uploaded under heavy exhaustion with addled minds.
Now onwards & upwards to the real Camino of ordinary life back home, seeking to take one day at a time, to embrace all that comes our way: the good, the bad, the ugly, the interruptions, the disappointments and the surprises.
A final deep question: how on earth are we going to remember not to eat for a 30 kms walking day?
C'est la Vie
Geoff & Lyn