Writing from El Acebo – Day 21

Back in the mountains! Apparently the camino will make you cry the books said. For some those tears may be sad tears and they may also be happy tears. These mountains they bring me so much joy, a joy that’s so profoundly deep I feel sad and happy and love, mostly love. And the gift of those feelings – tears.

Days on the Camino – 21

Kms – Today 30 kms.

Starting point today – Santa Catalina, Spain.

End of the day – El Acebo, Spain.

Number of girls in Africa educated – 23

Total funds raised so far – $6995.00. Goal is $10 per km so $7,690.00 just $695 to go!

If you’d like to contribute you can do so here.

Frances Antonia – Do it in a dress.

Thanks for the help Kimmy from the Women Who Hike team.

Today was dedicated to – My brothers. Both of you. I love everything about the childhood we shared, the fun, the fights, the games and the fact that you always trusted me – your big sister. You’ve both grown into bloody good men and I treasure being an aunty to your kids and a sister to your wives, even though I’m crap at birthdays and such things. I’d like to say I’ll get better at that but I’m sure that won’t happen.

Accommodation – No booking today! We chanced it (with Ansett, Aussie joke). Since Leòn there are many more villages and accommodation choices. León is a popular starting point for many with its 311km route into Santiago. We walked straight into a twin room in this mountain town at 1,000 metres altitude. (€22.50 each with breakfast).

Food highlight – Yesterday we didn’t eat enough! That always results in tiredness. So today when there was toast on offer at our albergue we started the day with the mandatory banana plus toast and coffee. I would have preferred a few eggs but the simplicity of toast and jam was still ridiculously satisfying. You can’t always get toast here!

We decided to take the time to have lunch in the first mountain village Foncebadón in this new range we’re climbing. If you’ve ever read any camino books this was the deserted town with wild dogs that everyone feared! It’s no longer scary, it has a cool hippy vibe. There was even yoga at the albergue we had lunch. It would have been a great place to stay I think.

Oh and asparagus is showing up in the dishes instead of peppers so I guess it’s the new regional specialty. It’s quite different to what we’re used to in Aussie. I like these better, they are layered like a leek but quite sweet. And please don’t go there with the arrangement of the salad plate – I know what you’re thinking.

In a word(s) – A lucky sister.

Today we arrived at the iron cross – La Cruz de Ferro. Traditionally this is where pilgrims throw a rock brought from their home to symbolize their journey. I might not be religious but I’m a little superstitious. I brought a tiny rock from my home in Holland and my sister and I had also collected a pine cone along the way to symbolize our family home. In the summer my dad always decorates the open fire place with pine cones from the gazillion pine cones out the front.

My family was on my mind today. Not my little people and my great love, those crackers are fine at home with said great love; their super dad and my super husband. I’ll see them all every day again soon and we’ll be having pjs and all day couch cuddles. No, today the family I grew up in was on my mind.

I presumed if I missed a family I would miss my own but today it was the family on my mind that I missed. I even shed a tiny tear, don’t worry it was a good tear, a happy tear. It shows how much I love them and it reminds me that we’re still very connected and I need them … even with the distance between us.

We had a late start this morning eating breakfast before we started and ‘what’s ap’ing’ our brothers. One brother each. I know they would love this walk. Perhaps this beautiful gift of freedom, of being small in a big beautiful world and the simplicity of this life reminds me of my childhood. That time when you are lost in your head without a care in the world. Where you’re closest to yourself and your siblings are your best mates and your parents are your everything.

Here I am climbing mountains with my sister and today I wanted to feel close to my brothers and my parents. So I did. I thought a lot about them. People are walking this trail for many reasons. Some, like me come without expectations unsure of what the trail will offer them but open to what finds them. This day surprised me.

I’m not sure what the point of this story is. So I’m struggling to conclude it! But I need to sleep so I have to. As this camino continues the things that are surfacing are not things I’ve thought a lot about so the writing is getting harder. Simplicity, slow days, transition, letting go, gratitude I can write about those thoughts till the cows come home – those lessons I’d learnt before the camino, are well practiced in my life and they’re easy for me to spot with analogy’s.

This one is something bigger. I suspect it’s to do with a story I heard on this camino of why a family it walking towards this cross. So I’ve laid it out here briefly and now I will let it sit.

Buen Camino,

Fran xx

2 thoughts on “Writing from El Acebo – Day 21”

  1. Love the graphic from ‘samedog’. How wonderful is that. Very special friends Fran … insta or not!
    And so the mind journey continues. The endings to any story are the hardest. There may not be one. Or it appears months down the track from now. Take it all in.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The mountains… your favourite place to be, , no wonder your thoughts are wider, deeper. I can relate to this… often when away and in quiet time I think of my family too, the childhood, the beauty, the importance. I think of them all and often wish they were there , now with adult nieces and nephews there’s are real sense of wanting them around too. Holly is having a tricky time with a friend.. yesterday Nick said ‘ friends may come and go, family is always there’ so cliche but I guess true in many ways for those of us lucky enough to have good bonds. I find when feeling gratitude my thoughts wander to family.
    Hey , I’ve been recording how much walking I do a day ….. I was curious after reading how far you walk each day and wondering if I was or would ever be fit or strong enough for a Camino or similiar. Over a week it’s been an average of 14.5 km a day but that includes all my steps… my walks with Milo and Benny are about 7 km day( 3-4 in morning same late pm or evening) . I’d love to just wAlk and absorb and then rest and reflect… it’s so awesome you’re able to do this. It really is. Enjoy those mountains and the thoughts coming your way xx

    Liked by 1 person

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