In the morning after some valiant efforts we managed to get out of the dorm and ready to start walking at 9am (our normal time had been 10am most days). Most other Camino walkers are striding off down the path at 8am. And for those who know me, I’m normally ready to rock and roll at 6am. So, this was a very strange pattern for me. It was like all those years of stress were slowly seeping away and I was starting to listen to the pace that my body wanted to move too.
In the morning, we met a local man, and the Magician worked his magic and got him to open up. It turned out they had a lot in common. They talked fervently about energies and magnetism. I watched the Magician picking up details on personal illness instantly, which would be impossible to guess. It was then the man completely threw me. He turned to me, and said that I was very strong as well. I didn’t know how to feel about this. I’d never heard of this until a few weeks earlier when I’d met the Magician. But I’d shut myself down spiritually since I was a teenager. Its not cool to be spiritual. And this only got worse when I was with my ex, who has the spiritual intuition and desire of a plastic spoon. The conversation only got more intriguing where he told us to meet someone in the next town. Someone who may, if we were lucky, tell us our walk had ended.
We eventually bounded excitedly on. We walked together all morning wondering who this person could be. On the walk to Condom, there is a slight diversion you can take to the UNESCO village of La Romieu. This village is half way between Santiago and Rome, and takes its name from Romieux (which translates to Pilgrim). The Magician’s ankle, although holding strong, didn’t need to be tested with an extra 8K to the village. I had a strange feeling that I needed to see the town though, so we separated. Agreeing to meet again in Condom (the safest place in the world).
The walk to La Romieu took me past vast grape fields. Eventually breaking out to view the small village nestled in the hills, overlooking a small lake. In La Romieu, there is a beautiful cathedral, again made out of a sandstone. The streets are lined with very old houses down narrow lanes. I quickly picked up there were a huge number of stone cats all over the village. And right near the centre, is a bust hanging out of a wall, with the sign of ‘Angeline. The legend of the cats’.
Angeline was a little girl in 1338. Unfortunately, her parents died when she was very young, but she was adopted by a kind couple that lived nearby. She developed a strong love for cats that was reciprocated. During this time, bad weather caused a famine, and unfortunately Cats became a source of food for the starved towns people. Angeline, terribly upset by this begged her adoptive parents to let her hide 2 cats. They agreed to this, not wanting to put Angeline through more heart ache.
Finally the weather improved and they were able to grow their crops again. However, without any cats to hunt, rats soon over ran the town, decimating the crops. At a town meeting to try and find a solution, Angeline told the town that she had 20 cats that could help with the problem. Angeline’s cats saved the town and life went back to normal. Although it is said that Angeline was always surrounded by cats, and eventually took on the appearance of one.
With more people on the Camino asking if we were going out or not, I was getting more and more confused. So in the afternoon I’d decided that it was time for me to put my feelings on the line. To tell the Magician that I wanted to be with him. That I wanted to have a relationship with him. I made a voice recording on this, nerves racking through me. Would I have the guts to show it to him? The last time I’d done this to try and save my marriage, my ex husband had systematically destroyed me. He gave a list of negatives on me so extensive it was closer aligned to someone who hated me, rather than someone who a few days earlier professed to love me.
I raced to meet the Magician in Condom, trying to make up the extra distance. Worried that I could end up lost in Condom, trying desperately to find him and the Gite he’d booked us into. As I got closer though, I had a weird feeling I’d find him at the entrance to the city. And there he was. Casually standing talking to some locals asking for directions to our Gite. I tried several times to get the Magician to listen to the recording I’d made. But with the thought about meeting a person who would supposedly give us the meaning of life, he wasn’t in the right frame of mind to hear it. Both conflicting priorities frustrating us with unrealistic expectations. We then spent too long trying to get some sleep, eager for the morning to come.