“The children machines,” declared the pilgrim sitting on the stone wall partway up the hill deep in wine-making country. It had been a few minutes since the boys had passed him with Ella-Rose running behind trying to catch up after stopping to tie her shoelace. They certainly were all motoring – yes, even running. There is no question about them being capable of walking. Today they knew we were going a shorter distance and they were extra-full of energy. As I say, they were speeding up the hill – although not in a racing kind of way. This isn’t a race, and everyone walks at a pace that suits them. Sometimes you catch up with someone and slow down to chat with them for a while before continuing at your own pace. Other times someone drops in beside you for a chat. And the children are not exempt from this. I love the way other people treat them just like any other pilgrim – they can frequently be seen talking to someone from Japan or Italy or America or Australia or Germany. With a common interest, these adults engage the kids as *people*.
So far we have not met any other children walking. We have heard there is a family with a blind father and the mother pushing two toddlers in a stroller, but they are behind us. We met a Spanish lad of fourteen, who had come to walk one stage with an Australian couple who we keep bumping into (and are sharing an 8 bed dorm with tonight), but despite not having to carry a pack, he evidently complained the whole day!
The lack of peer group has not been a negative when you consider what rich encounters they are having with other adults.
Most days they are asked if they are enjoying the walk. No one would need to ask if they had seen them today. We happened upon a mountain of small pebbles. My guess is that every adult walking the path would stay on the path. Not the kids. They scrambled to the top of the stones and flew down the side. Then they did it again. And again.
“This is so much fun!” they cried.
The children are also being pretty good ambassadors telling people about *why* we are walking. In fact, sometimes they think about it more than we do. As we left Navarrete this morning we saw a statue of a woman collecting water right by the water fountain. Levi pointed out this would be a good thing to put on the blog…..so here ’tis:
Cumulative Distance: 445km
555km to go to 1,000 (further for us to get to Santiago)
Weather: forecast rain stayed away, overcast, nice and cool for walking