Today we set off with my Brother and the Magician again. They spent a lot of the morning walking ahead of me. The Camino this morning was along dusty roads next to a high way across Spain. I paused once by a chicken wire fence which was filled with pieces of wood set out in crosses. This was one of the first clear signs of the Catholic church and this being a walk of devotion that I’d come across. A sign which was based from Camino walkers collectively together putting signs of their faith on the walk. I felt conflicted in this moment. When I’d reached Pamplona, I’d seen clearly how the church was using fear to create devotion. This had made me start to see that, although, till that point I’d classified myself as Christian. I no longer was. Being here, it just felt creepy to be honest. I started to see that when I saw signs of Christianity, I felt a strong level of judgement. Kind of ironic when you think the path I was walking on is a Christian one based on devotion and pilgrimage.
The roads were dusty all day with red dry soil. It would flick up round my trainers all the time, swirling round my ankles giving them a fine later of red dust. Through all these days we’d be continually washing our clothes, to get rid of the dirt. Only to have the layers return the next day. During the majority of the day there were virtually no other walkers that we met. In the afternoon though I met a young German guy. I’d seen him previously on the walk and had been amazed at the 40k distances he was walking through. He was taking it easy on his knees as they’d begun to hurt, so we spent the afternoon walking together. Whilst the Magician walked alone.
Walking with the German, we talked about our reasons for coming on the Camino. He talked about the woman he’d been in a long-term relationship recently. The expectations he’d had, how he’d wanted her to fit into his life, and his close relationship with his family. But over the course of being together, he’d understood this expectation was completely wrong. That actually he thought it was unreasonably to expect someone he’s in a relationship with to accept that he had a close relationship with his family, and to be able to ‘get along with them’. This upset me a lot. I’d slipped into my ex husband’s close-knit family. Without thinking about my needs, I then neglected my relationship with my own family. The consequence of that? When he left me? My family was there for me. They dropped everything to stand by my side. Late night calls, walking out in Spain together, helping me to move my things out of my apartment in Dublin. I became aware I didn’t want to put my relationships with them down as of secondary importance again. I came as a package. With my friends and family. The German was thinking this was unreasonable though. I hoped that at the end of the afternoon that it was far from that though.
Through the afternoon, the German and I kept walking together. The Magician eventually caught up with us for our stop in Sotes. This is just up the road from San Martín and in between two of the main normal stops on the Camino. In the Albergue there was only 3 of us, so we shared a meal together before the German went to bed early. The Magician and I had a rare treat to snuggle up together in front of a movie together. I fell asleep on his lap with a warm feeling throughout my body, Thinking this was what our life together would be.