Shoulds

I may never pass this way again. Perry Como

Day 2, Sunday 6th September. Father’s Day at home. Posted from a tiny little pension in Larrasoana, 27 kilometres and 9 hours from Roncesvalles where we started today.  Admittedly, part of those 9 hours were spent over breakfast, 2 more coffees along the way, a stop for lunch and a chat with a group of Aussies.  More of all that later.

After the sleep of the (almost) dead the alarm woke me at 6am for the start of this long day.  We had already decided to skip breakfast at the hotel and aim to have it at Burguete about 3 klms down the road, so just after 7:30 we stepped out of the lovely Hotel Roncesvalles into the cool morning.

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Funnily enough,  the 27 klms ahead didn’t seem like an overly steep target –  yesterday’s success was a real confidence booster.  So at just after 8am we strolled into Café Fronton in Burguete for a delightful desayuna of tortilla and coffee. I suspect, with the experience of all of two days, that this will become a fairly standard breakfast.

Now Burguete, and indeed the region, has a very interesting past.  Witches.  Hmmm.   In the 16th and 17th centuries “witchcraft” was common in the Nevarra region.  From the church in Burguete “The generic accusations of witchcraft concealed the fears, apprehensions and prejudices of a society which declared itself to be Christian,  granting no scope to religious dissidence”.  Many witches were burnt at the stake in the town square,  which I take to be here in front of the church.
Burnt witches aside, this is a very pretty little village,  the first of a few for the day.  Second breakfast (coffee) took place at Espinal, a further 3.6 klms up the road.  So,  by the time second breakfast was behind us we’d walked about 7 klms.  Incidentally,  third breakfast  (more coffee) was at Café Juan, at Viskarret, a further 5 klms along.

The towns of Burguete and Espinal are lovely places, as the following couple of shots show.  (The second shot is where I think the witches came to their untimely demise. )

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And along the way there was some delightful scenery,  and many giant slugs.

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But to the subject of today’s post, shoulds.  I have, for 10/15 years now,  tried to live my life free of “shoulds”.  By that I mean those instructions,  either self or other generated, which tell me that I “should” do this or “should not” do that.   External things, gathered from parents or society, which can strip away freedom of choice. So wandering along today we chatted for a while with a woman from the Netherlands.   She had started her walked today from Roncesvalles.  She hit me, and then herself, with a couple of shoulds.  The first was that to walk the Camino “properly” one should not spend rest days anywhere (as we plan to do), because otherwise we are just tourists.  My internal reaction to that was strong,  although I chose not to verbalise it.  Then her own was that to walk the Camino properly one should start from St Jean, and “suffer” (my word) that hard first day.   My response to this was that there are no rules which dictate this.  To which she agreed!   So I left the interchange a bit perplexed, not the least of which was my own reaction to the implied criticism of our choices.

And now for the next side of this story.  Last night at Roncesvalles we noted a group of 8 Aussies; 4 couples.  They were enjoying themselves, and we didn’t interact with them.  Then today we chanced upon a couple of the men as we got close to Zubiri, and got talking to one of the “leaders”, a fellow named John Quinn.  They are all from Brisbane.  John is a year older than me,  and was diagnosed with Alzheimers 5 years ago.   He told me a little of his journey, and also gave details of his blog https://iamlivingwellwithdementia.wordpress.com/.  John now has some ambassadorial role in respect to Alzheimers awareness – I’ll find out more over coming weeks, and in the meantime I’m happy to assist with the promotion of his cause here.

But here’s the rub, as I think the bard would have said.  John reminded me of one of my item few “shoulds”, namely that you really should get out and enjoy life while you can, because one day it’ll be too late. We may never pass this way again.

I’ve lived both largely without “shoulds”, and for today because you never know what’s around the corner for years now. Today, unexpectedly, my walk along the Camino reminded me of these.

Water,  or sometimes a shortage of it,  were important features of today’s walk.  The village fountains along the way are a sight for site eyes.

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The last 5 klms after we left Zubiri and John and his mates were fairly tough, especially the final 2 klms.   We got into Larrasoana around 4:30pm, tracked down our pension, for organised and then headed into the main part of town to explore. 

Today’s “how far to go” photo is from Zubiri, just back the road a bit.

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2 thoughts on “Shoulds

  1. Sue Morris

    Hi Peter….Susan Morris from Australian Pilgrims on the Camino Group and Western Australian Pilgrims group here….Lovely to read of your walking days ….I will share to the group. Re John QUinn and his partner, Glenys Petrie, – they are members of our group also …..great to read that you have met up with John and his mates….Glenys is also walking but I think, more slowly than John and his group……Hugs from Western Australia.

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