Leaving the farm early in the morning, more of the walk was now next to a main road. Although there was a hedge separating us from the road, we could still hear the cars zooming back and forth. This was pretty horrid though to be honest, but we had views of the Pyrenees inching us forward in every step. The question that occupied us and all the other walkers at the moment though, was would we be able to make the Napoleon route or not?
Now there are two routes across the Pyrenees. One is the Napoleon route, this route started when (you guessed it), Napoleon took his troops across it into Spain. The other route is the easier pilgrim route. When the weather is hard, the Napoleon route is shut, and people have been known to get lost when the Pyrenees gets covered in mist here and die. As we were in mid- October, we were watching the weather forecasts constantly, as I had my heart set on walking across the Napoleon route. We’d purposely started to time our stops so that we would cross the Pyrenees on Friday, which was the only day that week where the weather seemed to be good. And we could then cross the Napoleon route safely.
During the walk we past one of the last signed from the Alchemist of words (the Donativo owner from Navarreux). It said ‘Create your future now’. This felt very poetic to me, as this would be the night I signed my final divorce paperwork.
There’s a small town called Ostabat- Asme (Izura) which was just before our final stop for the day. This is a small village now. But in pilgrim times this was an important gathering point for pilgrims. In the middle ages, the hospitals and inns could accommodate up to 5,000 pilgrims, but there is only one Gite open there now.
When we got to our Hotel for the night, I was sat next to a beautiful woman from Taiwan. I’d seen her a number of times on my walk-through France, but never taken the time to talk to her. It wasn’t till we started talking that I realised she was one of the legends on the Camino. When you’re walking on the Camino people talk about how they met such and such. This was how the Magician became know as a healer/ Magnetist on our walk, and we were known as Les Amours. She was known as the woman who survived Cancer from walking the Camino. Her story amazed me, and I won’t go into huge detail here (but I will in my book). But I’ll give you the main learning she gave me. I am grateful everyday for my cancer. Because without it, I never would have walked that Camino. I never would have changed my life and lived this journey. If you aren’t a spiritual person, I would dare you to not be moved whilst in the presence of someone with terminal cancer, who has not only accepted this is the end of her journey, but done with such grace and humility that she also thanks God for it every day. It blew me away, and I felt the grace of what is so much bigger than me here. And I thank the Universe for letting me hear her story that night. As through the evening the Magician helped me organise my divorce paperwork, and then held me gently as I said a final goodbye to my 13 year relationship with a man who’d gone from being my closet confident, to a complete stranger in a heartbeat 10 months earlier.