Before we leave Oloron-Sainte-Marie, we decide to mail the stuff we are sending home plus some heavier electronics that we still need, ahead to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in order to make our packs as light as possible for the next few days.
While Eric goes to the post office to ship our box, I sit across the street at a cafe, drinking café au laits. I really don’t want to go. I don’t feel like I have the motivation to do this. That moment I had yesterday, where I thought I might actually be able to do this, was fleeting. Right there, in that moment, sitting outside, people watching, drinking my coffee, everything just felt heavy.
But Eric returns and informs me it’s time to go. I begrudgingly put my pack back on and we start walking through the park that leads us out of town. I’m really not looking forward to the day since we have to make up two missed days of hiking from our recovery stay. Even though we had already decided to do a mix of hitchhiking and hiking, I’m really wishing Eric would just suggest we hop in a cab. (I want to say, screw the rules, let’s just make this easy.)
I think Eric can read my mind because he keeps telling me that he believes the journey provides for pilgrims, which results in me rolling my eyes at him. It’s not that I don’t believe that the journey provides you with what you need, it’s just that it’s been a rough few days and I’m in a bad mood. (Or as Eric calls it, feeling “Shan-gry”. That would be Shannon either angry, hungry, or both.)
I’ve always liked the idea of synchronicity and how different seemingly unrelated events carry immense meaning in our lives. But today, I’m in the mood for resisting everything. So when we walk a few kilometers out of town, and all our attempts at hitchhiking are fail, I want to say to Eric, “See, I told you so. Let’s just call a cab.”
Then, just as I sit down on the side of the road, my inner drama queen itching to come out and pitch a fit, Pepito rides by on a bike. Yes, Pepito, the guy who picked us up and drove us to our gite when we limped into town a few days ago. Now, maybe this doesn’t seem like a weird coincidence but Oloron-Sainte-Marie is not a small rural town, and we are several kilometers outside the city.
After Eric talks with Pepito for a bit, we decide to go a bit further down the road to see if there is a better place to try and hitch a ride. We find a nice shaded spot, where passing cars have plenty of room to pull over.
After about 45 minutes (where two cabs actually did pass us), I’m ready to beg Eric to just give in and say “screw the rules”!
Before the words can come out of my mouth, a woman pulls over – she tells us she can take us one town down the road because it’s on her way home! I climb into the back of her van, while Eric get in the passenger seat. Since Eric speaks Spanish (and so do a lot of the French people in this region), I let him do all the talking. After talking to the woman for about 10 minutes, Eric has charmed her so much that she says she can drive us out of her way and can take us as far as Mauléon.
When we get to Mauléon, we confirm with a shop owner the direction of Musculdy and start walking up the road until we find a good place to hitchhike. Not much time passes at all, and another WOMAN stops and she says she can take us all the way to Musculdy (I love that both of the people who picked us up are women.)
The drive is beautiful. Looking out the window across the mountains, I think, “This has actually been a good day.” I remind myself that I need to trust in this journey a bit more. If I want things to flow and feel easy, I need to let things unfold as they unfold. I don’t always have to be in control.
The woman driving us isn’t sure of the exact place we are staying, but she drops us off at the first bar/hotel in town. (Which is also the only place in sight.) We go in, and the bartender informs us the place we are looking for is, “just right down the hill.”
Well, “right down the hill”, ends up being a hike down this windy, curvy mountain road, for about 2 kilometers.
But the walk was beautiful and we were rewarded with making it to this cute little inn in the middle nowhere rural, France.
With the all the synchronistic events, beautiful weather, gorgeous views, and all the nice people that helped us out today at the forefront of my mind, I feel a great sense of calmness and peacefulness wash over me.
That evening, Eric and I laugh over a delicious meal and some good wine, before we drift off into an amazing night of sleep with fresh, French country air wafting through our open window.
The heaviness I felt this morning has shifted into lightness. Even though I’m still feeling like I don’t have it in me to do this, I fall asleep a little bit more willing to try.
Distance: Forgot to charge my band so I have no clue!
Location: Musculdy, France
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