May 15th, 2014: Today was Day 14… A Day of Rest, a Day of Reckoning…

By Eric

Today we have had an amazing day of rest in Musculdy, France. It is a picturesque, rural village in the rolling foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains. It’s known for artisan cheeses and wines.

And hills. Many, many hills.

We are enjoying a hotel with the first bathtub we have had in quite some time. Our budget-minded travels outside of the United States have afforded us few luxuries, and bathtubs have grown to the top of the list of oft wished for but oft denied amenities.

Our bathtub was a beast, fully engulfing me in its comforting, hot cauldron of relaxation.

Our bathtub was a beast, fully engulfing me in its comforting, hot cauldron of relaxation.

And we treated ourselves to a very nice dinner with a view worth a million Euros.

And we treated ourselves to a very nice dinner with a view worth a million Euros.

Although my view was more beautiful than Shannon’s…

Although my view was more beautiful than Shannon’s…

 

But, today has been a day of reckoning. We are grappling with the fact, that we are literally taking more rests days than hiking days. At this rate, we will never realistically reach Santiago de Compostela.

EVER.

So today, we have had some serious conversations about what this experience means to both of us, and what we are each willing to do in order to fulfill this pilgrimage aspiration. So, it’s been a somber, difficult day, but I think a much needed one.

As promised, I have made a video in order to further tell our magical mystery tale of Pepito, our guardian angel. Pepito was our savior on Day 10, as we were nearly crippled from a tortuous day of hiking almost ten hours. And two days later, yesterday, he ran- actually biked- into us as we were hiking out of Oloron-Sainte-Marie.

Call it magic, or God’s angel, or synchronicity…

But Pepito showed up out of the blue, and once again, in his extremely excitable way, wished us on and gave us the strength to dig deep within ourselves and push through the day’s hike. And Shannon discovered the sumptuous smells of the Lindt Chocolate Factory, which for her was enough to dig deep within and find her source of strength!

And because we stayed not one, but TWO additional days in Oloron-Sainte-Marie, in order to rest, we ended up having over 40 kilometers to travel to Musculdy. We had reservations for today in Musculdy, that we could not cancel or change, so an additional day of rest quickly added challenges for us on the opposite end.

So we decided, after waiting for the Post Office (Le Poste) to open in Oloron-Sainte-Marie at 1pm, and mail to the United States the rest of the items we needed to get rid of, in order to finally lighten our loads to a manageable hiking weight, that we would arrive in Musculdy with a healthy mix of hiking and hitch-hiking.

On our last hitch-hiking experience, we needed to find three separate rides to go a destination of 18 kilometers. We shuddered to think how many times we would have to stick our thumbs up in order to arrive near enough to Musculdy. As fate would have it, after attempting to hitch for about half an hour, a wonderful woman (driving by herself) felt pity on us and pulled over. She quickly informed us, that she could only take us about four kilometers, and we were of course grateful. But after just 3 minutes of conversation, and me sharing with her Shannon and my story about my Mom, and why we decided to hike El Camino de Santiago, our patron driver began to cry and instantly declared she was driving us just 12 kilometers to Musculdy- 58 kilometers out of her way, once she drove there and returned!

So yesterday was a difficult day, logistically and otherwise, but it was made much easier with several angels on the road. And today is our day of reckoning.

And we continue to reckon with our reality:

El Camino de Santiago.

Distance: 944 Steps/ .53 Miles/ .85 Kilometers
Location: Musculdy, France

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