May 9th, 2014: Today is day 8…it was eye opening.

By Shannon

I don’t want to leave the comfort of our hotel (and wifi) but I know we need to go to the gite. Not only for the sake of our budget, but also for the experience. A lot of pilgrims only stay in gite/alberges but since I need guaranteed wifi and private places to be able to skype with my clients 2-3 times a week, we are not your average pilgrims.

I’m such a creature of comforts and habits. I don’t like change and I like my comforts. I’m often telling Eric I want to just stay in a place “one more day”, but truthfully one more day is never enough. I’ll always feel like I need “just one more day.”

So instead of trying to talk Eric into why we need to stay in the hotel tonight, I pack my bag and follow him to the gite, which is just around the corner from our hotel.

When we ring the bell of the gite, a priest opens the door. We discover that it’s vicory.


The Vicory.


The priest, Father Pierre, speaks fluent Spanish as well as portuguese. So of course he and Eric hit it off right away, talking in Spanish like they’ve known one another forever.

I feel apprehensive about staying in a the priest’s home. Like maybe I shouldn’t be there. Similar feelings like the one’s I felt in Lourdes, start to creep in. But Pierre is warm and welcoming and I start to feel a bit more at ease. He takes us upstairs to our room, which is actually a huge private room with two beds. (Eric and I have gotten used to sleeping in separate beds on this trip.)

I look at Eric and I think he knows I’m relieved that we have a private room. He tells us dinner isn’t until after 7pm, he shows us where the key is if we want to go anywhere, and gives us instructions of what to do if other pilgrims show up while he’s is not there.

We decided to leave for a bit to find some food, which ends up with us just going to a bakery and me stuffing my face full of chocolate croissants.

When we return to the gite, we decide to write until dinner. It’s perfect because there’s no wifi to distract us.

Dinner is served just as Father Pierre’s communion class is ending so the dining area is full of tweens as well as a few other pilgrims. The tweens offer us some of their Pringles and excitedly ask us questions in French that we cannot respond to. Father Pierre tries to translate between them and Eric by jumping back and forth between French and Spanish.

Our first traditional pilgrim dinner.

Our first traditional pilgrim dinner.

Dinner is salad, rice, very stinky cheese, wine, fried eggs, and some sort of meat that I’m not even sure I want to know what it is. The tweens tell us it’s something from the pig and when we ask, “like bacon?’, they say “yes”. I try to eat as much as a I can stomach because I’m worried about seeming rude. But it’s too salty and the texture freaks me out, so when I think no one else is looking I sneak the rest onto Eric’s plate. I know he will finish it no matter what.

At dinner we learn we are the only pilgrims here that night that haven’t hiked El Camino at least once! Father Pierre has hiked every single route from France and into Spain. I still can’t wrap my mind around doing this hike once, even though we’ve started, let alone multiple times.

The map showing all the routes Father Pierre has hiked.

The map showing all the routes Father Pierre has hiked.

I’m the only one at the table that doesn’t speak French or Spanish. No one else besides Eric speaks English. So I sit there in silence, trying to figure out what is being said. It’s exhausting. I should have paid more attention in French class.

At about 9pm we all head to bed. Even though we didn’t hike today, or yesterday, I feel worn out.

Distance: 4,508 steps (2 miles )
Location:Arudy, France

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3 Responses to May 9th, 2014: Today is day 8…it was eye opening.

  1. Susy says:

    I understand how you feel. Floyd speaks only English and so did Stephen and it was difficult for them. I remember being little and my great grandmother speaking french to her daughters and my parents speaking in english when did not want me to find out stuff. In 2nd grade everyone spoke english but me. Yet a smile or a nod or a hug always speak a thousand words when words fail.I always tell my friends my husband doesn’t speak much but when he looks at me we can communicate honestly and freely. Its not the words you speak but your actions that say thanks or I love you. Buen camino mi prima.

  2. kathleen courvie says:

    Oh my goodness! You and Eric are making me wonder if I am going to kill my friend that is going to walk with me. She is more physically fit than I but has never left the country and doesnt speak Spanish. I am so proud that you have made it this far and you are inspiring me to get off my butt and walk now.. So far my longest walk has only been 7 miles but my longest day is going to be a grueling 18! Buen Camino!

  3. Cris says:

    I love you! You guys are doing such a great job! Remember, sometimes silence drowned out by foreign tongue can be relaxing……find peace!

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