|The first arrow of the day.|
I cannot overstate my joy to begin walking this morning. I was the first one to breakfast in the hostel, and then hit the trail just as the sun would have been rising had there been a sun to rise. I've noticed that if you walk for long enough at times you'll go into a sort of trance. When you're in this trance you're either thinking hard about something very trivial (like whether or not you're going to get a banana or an orange at the next grocery store), talking to yourself, or humming a song by REM. When in this trance whole kilometers can go by without you noticing them. This usually happens when the path is monotonous and when you've been walking for awhile. It doesn't happen when there's lots of stimulation, like when you're walking through the downtown of a big city, red-in-the-face because you're wearing what look to be like black tights under your shorts.
As far as the actual walk itself, there were a few kilometers of pavement after leaving San Sebastian but then after that a beautiful trail through woods and pastureland, all with a view of the whitecaps of the Bay of Biscayne. Far, far, far from the nearest highway. The town of Orio was quaint but meant more pavement, ditto for Zarautz, and then I took the "new" route from Zarautz to Getaria, mostly because the golden arrows were bigger and also because it was flat (albeit paved) and had a view of the ocean. Tomorrow I have no idea where I'd like to make it. I don't have a map and I'm not letting myself research it on the internet. This way I'm more likely to talk to people. If three nights from now I'm in Bilbao I'll be happy. I think I'll be more or less right on schedule.
And finally, the body. My body. My hips feel tight. Extremely tight. I noticed after eating a snack in Zarautz and cinching the waist strap tight that I was limping a little bit because of my left hip. I walked part of the way to Getaria using just the shoulder straps and once I got going loosened up a bit. I do stretch! Usually an hour or two into the day I stretch for a little bit. Do I stretch at the end of the day? No. I flop down into a bed. My friend Skyla would say this is terrible, but it feels right. And also: I don't mean to claim I'm super-human but I don't have a single blister. Yet. On descents a few times I felt the ball of my right food threatening but all I do is zigzag and it seems to fix the problem. My left knee didn't really click today, either, which was a bonus.
I didn't have any mystical realizations about myself or the world or my place in the world today. Thank God. Kidding. Sort of. I know this walk is in part about getting in touch with your spiritual side and "finding yourself". But I don't want to find a whole new Mark because I'm pretty happy with the Mark I already have. I just want to bring all the good parts out, and banish all the bad parts to the bottom of the Bay of Biscayne or a forgotten part of the Gipuzkoa countryside. People do this walk for all sorts of reasons. I don't really know what mine are. Because it's fun. Because it's challenging. Because at the end of the day you can eat a whole pizza to yourself and not feel bad about it. Maybe I'll figure out my real reasons further down the road. Maybe I'll come to realizations that are life-changing and earth shattering.
But more importantly: maybe I'll get to wear my poncho.
A lonely boat plies the blustery Basque waters.
Favorite arrow of the day. I felt like I was in a medieval movie walking through this hollow.
Deer in headlights. Wearing hood made from brothers in background.
First on-trail peregrino encounter! His name was Carlos and he was from Barcelona. I let him go on ahead.
The coolest diving board in the world.....into 4ft. of water.
Home sweet Getaria.