Primer pasos y la paz interior- primeiro dia
Steps walked = 42,857
Miles walked = 16.74
Sanity tested = infinite times
Today started off a bit ominous...woke up late after hitting my snooze button compounded with torrential downpour and forecast of thunderstorms. So of course the logical thing to do is strap on your hiking boots and your pack to set off for a strenuous hike, right? Well, I’m a woman on a mission so nothing will stop me.
The Camino starts at the Cathedral da Sé where I was met by other lost pilgrims (more on that in a bit) apparently all the guidebooks combined couldn’t help any of us. The rain was hitting me in angles that defy laws of physics and it made me question my decision to ever hike the Camino. The doubt kept creeping in as the steep cobblestone streets that I had admired in the enchanting city of Porto turned into slippery death traps. But I persevered knowing that it could only get better...and it totally did.
The second stop along the way was the Igreja da Misericordia and man, was that a treat. I happened upon a morning Mass filled with little old Portuguese women...and of course I was so happy to join them 💁🏻. And let me tell you, the church was beyond impressive with decorative tile lining the walls. It made the splendor of this sanctuary all the more magnificent. I’ve never seen so many tiles outside of a bathroom or kitchen. I typically run away from the sight of tiles because I’ve equated them with scrubbing dirt out of the grout and deep cleaning a bathroom...but Portugal does it right 😉.
The next 7 miles walking out of the city were rough to say the least. The roads are not marked well for pilgrims and I was at the point of chucking the guidebook in the trash. But just as I got to a point of frustration, I would see a happy little yellow arrow...ah, the Camino De Santiago arrow. But in getting lost I was able to find the lovely little Igreja de Cedofeita whose foundation dates to the 6th century...enough said.
The dreary skies let up around 8 miles into the hike...and it was GLORIOUS. It totally made up for my discomfort in my feet as the cobblestones had become my arch nemesis.
Step by step the distance was made so much easier and my initial fears of loneliness gave way to a new found confidence as I made myself understood in any language I could use (English, Spanish, French, primitive Portuguese, and even basic Korean)...it’s so refreshing to be exercising that atrophied part of my brain. And I don’t feel so “alone”...it’s amazing what few miles walking will do for your soul. Loneliness had colored my days back home when I didn’t have Ezekiel. I had become quite ashamed of the solitude as I see how fortunate I am to have so much considering our situation. But in the end, today proves that I don’t need to have any perfect acquisition of a language nor company at all times...going solo is pretty awesome.