Penultimate walking day, reflective mood. We replayed some conversations we’ve had as we’ve walked. A lot of the time there has been companionable silence, no sounds other than the crunching of stones underfoot and cuckoos in the distance or a truck rumbling by. But there have been chats too.
These signs prompted a conversation this morning:
“Only 33 to Santiago, we could so do that today. Why are we taking two days?”
“We were taking our time, remember? Not rushing, being relaxed.”
“But we could be there today!”
“Do you want to push on and do it? Remember that’s 33 on the road, it’s more on the Camino path.”
“Yeah but we’re not on the path.” (True we got lost leaving town – the arrows just petered out to complete nothingness so we headed for the N525 which we knew would take us in the right direction and hoped to pick up the path at some point when it would come close to this road….and indeedy that is exactly what happened. By the way, we were not the only ones who had trouble with the exit from Silleda!)
“I think we should just have our two short days,” Ella-Rose declared. And so it was decided! This was to be a decision regretted by no one when the sun came out and baked us as we tackled the final 4km climb for the day!
I don’t know why we even believed the road sign; road sign distances are not to be trusted. The other day we were told A Gudina was 16km away. About an hour later (so theoretically about 5km farther on) the very next road sign declared we were now 15km away. On that same day one of the towns we passed was supposedly 3km away and just round the corner it was a mere 2km! We should have learnt by now.
We’ve had conversations about food (what would you like to eat? What are we likely to be able to eat tonight? Can we have a Camino cookie stop please? Why did we buy so much food yesterday, it’s heavy to carry today!! – see yesterday’s post. Will today be an ice-cream day? Yes, more than 25km!)
We’ve had conversations about wildlife. Oh, the things we’ve seen…deer (twice), eagles, storks, moles, butterflies, ginormous geckos, snakes, frogs, fish (in rivers and staring up at us from our plates), a fox, kites and numerous other birds we do not know, rabbits…and the farm animals – black pigs, goats, cows, chickens, sheep and horses.
We’ve had conversations about wild flowers. The kids got thoroughly sick of me making sure they hadn’t missed the beauty we were walking through! But they came up with some pretty good descriptors at times: like a Monet watercolour painting…..like a hazy mist of colour…..colours blending together so much that you can’t tell which colours are actually there…..dots of delight….banks of Impressionism…..
We’ve had conversations about politics. To be honest, they didn’t last long!
We’ve had conversations about architecture….ancient Roman roads and bridges, Visigothic churches, the Moorish influences, medieval cathedrals, ugly modern concrete monstrosities, amazing modern bridges, the properties of stone and timber, guttering systems, internal courtyards, effects of climate, personal preferences…..
We’ve had conversations about gender roles. The best prompt for this one was Sunday morning. We were walking along a road (surprise), when who should come towards us but a middle-aged man? He was twiddling a stick in one hand. Trailing behind him by quite a few paces was a woman who we took to be his wife. She was not carrying a stick. Over her shoulder was a tree. A whole tree complete with root ball attached and wrapped in hessian. It was twice as long as she was tall! There is a fine line between not judging how others live and noticing things that may be a bit inequitable; when the boys commented on the ungentlemanliness I encouraged them to hold that thought for the rest of their lives and always be ready to serve (at the same time we talked about how we cannot know the whole story and it’s possible he had a bad back or something we didn’t know about!)
We’ve also had conversations about home ownership and mortgages and rates and derelict buildings and community and aged care and disabilities and rally car driving and urban design and research projects for when we get home (which cars and phones are produced ethically and the effects of sugar – truly no prompting from me, all Micaiah-initiated!!) and future plans and bar design and faith and generosity and travel and refugees and cold showers and consideration of others and freedom and friendship.
And we’ve walked along together, Ella-Rose and I, and I’ve asked her, “What are you thinking?” on numerous occasions and every time she has replied, “Nothing”. But I’m sure something is going on inside that wee head of hers!