Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pilgrimage Day 4: Puente de la Reina - Estella

The village of Puente de la Reina is from the early Middle Ages, and this is where all the different pilgrimage routes from France meet. Here, all of streets made of stone and their are just so beautiful. Most of the houses are also built of stone. What a job to build all this. It was still early afternoon when I came to the Puente de la Reina and had time to wander around to see as much as possible. It's good to have a lots of time. There is so much to see. I'm in a foreign country and I am as a pilgrim, by definition, a stranger/foreigner. But somehow I feel at home. If I have lived a previous life, one of those lives must have been here in Spain.
The bridge over the river Arga is from Roman times. It's strange to think about that when I walk over the bridge. It that it was built 2000 years ago. What do we build today, either in Norway or elsewhere in the world, that will be standing 2000 years from now? An incredible number of people have wandered over this bridge. Through war, pestilence, famine, trading, and so forth. I'm impressed. I linger by the bridge and philosophize over time and eternity, of stone and water, over war and peace. 
I found a place to sleep in the local Pilgrim hospist. A large dormitory with beds for 50 people. I got a bunk by a window and had a nice view when I woke up the next morning.


After breakfast, I began today's walk on ancient Roman roads. This is the remains of a road built by the Romans and in daily use to this day. The sun is hot today. I have two bottle of water with me and try to drink a lot. What concerns me most is that my feet have begun to ache. Pain has not subsided. I think that I've only walked for 3 days now, this is my 4th day. I have 30 days left to walk. The pain just something I have to get used to. I turn more attention to my companion: my shadow. I'm walking westward all the time and the sun is therefore in the back. On sunny days like today, I have my shadow in front of me all the time. I am looking over the figure I see, it annoys me a little, I laugh a little of it, and when nobody is around -I talk a little bit to it. It is a strange shadow. It makes me feel ten feet tall, wide at the bottom and very thin at the top. 


The old Roman road leads me past long stretches of vineyards. An unusual sight for a Norwegian. I wander through the beautiful villages of: Maneru, Cirauqui, Lorca and Villetureta. There are many who are out walking this path today. Perhaps day travelers, perhaps because this route has so historical significance, or because it's so beautiful here. I do not know. I meet several monks on the road who are walking with a group of youths. They have a cheerful time together. 
After 6 hours of walking, I arrive in the village of Estella. The trip today was roughly 23 km long and almost all the way on a historical Roman road. Estella is as beautiful as its name. I find myself a place to stay in a pilgrim hostel. This is also a village with stone streets, and where time seems to stand still. 

 I get a bed in a large dormitory, an upper bunk. Beside me is a Danish married couple arond the age of 70. They are very kind, as all Danes are. He is big, reallly big, at least three times larger than his little wife. She is quick on her feet and takes care of everything, while he sits on the edge of the bed and smiles. They have a lots of time and use all the time they need. Their goal is the same as mine: Santiago de Compeostella. But if they use 2 or 3 months on the journey, it meant nothing to them. I hope I can have his good mood when I'm 70. He says it is vital to be cheerful, or else you become sour. It was today's philosophical nugget for me. I go to the bathroom to wash up before supper and see for the first time that I have a huge blister under my foot.

This is something that all pilgrims receive. I take care of it as best I can. Puncture it and get out the liquid and put on a large bandage. This is the first time I look at my feet on the trip. It's my feet that is doing the job here. Why have I not looked at them until now. I have been concerned about the environment and my own thoughts and have forgotten my body. I had some pain yesterday in my ankles, but chose to close that out of my mind. Maybe I need to focus more on my body? If I ask myself: Are you all right? I have to feel a bit how my body is and not let my head dominate all the time. It is not certain that my little head, and my much bigger body agree with each other. I feel my ankles with my hands and one ankle is a bit warmer than the other. It aches a little. This may indicate an inflammation. It is a pilgrims nightmare. Ankle Inflammation can mean the end of the pilgrimage. Even if one wants to go ahead with an ankle inflammation, the body says NO. I will try take better care from now on. Just hope that's not too late. In the evening I go out and buy myself a walking pole to relieve my legs. What I said at the start, that walking sticks are for wimps - Forget it. Walking poles are of great value. My Danish friends in the next bunk have walking poles. He says that walking poles can reduce the load on my legs by 40 percent. He looks at my water blister, laughs loudly and exclaims: "You are welcome in the club for those with sore feet."

No comments:

Post a Comment