When leaving Conques it was the first time I’d spent the day alone and set my own pace through the walk. I found I spent the day listening to music and feeling the rhythm of my body. The pace I set myself was purposely hard, trying to see how far and fast I could go. Thinking through how the Camino worked I really tested this theory. As when you needed water, you’re likely to find this fairly easily. When you’re hungry, you’re likely to find a small shop or restaurant to get some food. And there are a number of Gites where you can find a bed to rest when you’re tired.
This was very freeing, and helped me to think through a lot of things. I’d come on the Camino to come back to myself after my separation from my husband. I’ve found that after spending a couple of days with the Magician and it’s made me question a lot of my life. The corporate environment, how I’d been ignoring my spiritual side, the level of respect I’d had for myself over the years (as I’d compromised myself for my marriage, which is very wrong). One point he’d picked me up on was the fact I say ‘Does that make sense?’ a LOT! He very intuitively realised that I say this because I’m looking for reassurance on what I’ve said, my opinion etc etc. It made me think how this, is just a small example of statements people make (in particular women), as it comes from a place of low self- esteem.
During my day 10 I got bitten by a sheep dog 7k before I reached Cajarc. I just want to say this is extremely unusual for any walker. The fact my dog bite got infected, is also unusual! So please don’t be put off about doing the Camino because of this. I eventually came into Cajarc and managed to meet up again with the English Lady and had a lovely evening with her as usual, although Cajarc itself was a rather unexciting small town that was literally dead at 9pm. Zombie Camino walkers can also be found there in May- September (you have been warned).
The views over these 2 days were beautiful small trees surrounded by old hedges and walls. The villages were few and long between which gave me a lot of solitary time that I needed at this stage in my walk.
It was on Day 11 that something happened I was never expecting. Because of my infected dog bite, I ended up staying in the Cajarc for another day. This is a long and painful story of faffing and trying to find a doctor. On my day 9, I’d purposely said goodbye to the Magician. I’d know when I met him that we both had a long and separate journey that we’d had to reach by ourselves. If not, I’m not certain I would have had the strength to leave his side, as our instant connection had been so intense. I’d never expected to see him again (as I’d had a very aggressive pace and he was suffering with tendinitis). But due to my dog bite, and the fact he’d been trying to catch me, but had been told by another pilgrim to rest in Cajarc so he’d stayed there (if not he would have carried on walking) then its likely we’ll have never met again. But to finish here, we’re currently still together sitting in the French sunshine drinking some wonderful beer (and now I have a beautiful story to write).