Today was stunning! It was all that the Camino was meant to be. Had I been walking it for the first time I would have been blown away. Instead, I take much of this for granted, but it’s still great.

When I awoke, I couldn’t stand and put any pressure on my feet. I took three ibuprofen and went back to sleep for an hour. I was afraid that I might not be able to walk at all today, but ended up walking 19 miles. The Camino constantly surprises a pilgrim and draws from us what we didn’t know that we had to offer.

The highlight of my day was meeting Stefan, a wonderful Frenchman and speaking in French for an hour. He has hiked the Camino Le Puy in France to Santiago, which is over 1,000 kilometers and over 750 miles. I hope to hike part of the Le Puy Route in the future It’s said to be stunning! Stefan said that I was the first American that he has meant who spoke French and thanked me profusely. Little does he realize how much joy it brings me to speak different languages. My French has come back nicely. My Italian is dead and needs resurrecting.

Stefan is walking on and off with Stephan from Wales, Rene from Holland, and Eileen from Germany. I stopped to join them for something to drink along the way and then later for a late lunch. They are fun companions and typical of the wonderful people and banter that one encounters upon The Way, which is what the Camino means.

The pointed mountain at the end of my walk is in Spain. It lies just across the River Minho from Portugal. There’s an ancient Celtic village atop the mountain, which is over 3,000 years old and was discovered only in 1913. I came upon it several years ago when I had rented a car and drove through Galicia Tonight, I can see Spain. Tomorrow, I shall arrive by ferry boat in the morning and rejoice as I call Spain “my happy place.” I love almost everything about it – the food, history, language, people, culture, art, architecture, sports and the beauty of the pueblos, cities and geography.

I arrived at my albergue at 7:57 pm. Reception closes at 8 pm. The GPS map that I was following was supposed to take me into Caminho, where I am staying but stopped 30 minutes before entering the town and 45 minutes shy of my albergue. I checked in, showered, discovered that all the restaurants are closed because it’s Monday, but found a bar willing to serve me some cold beer and food. I fell asleep exhausted but happy.

With love and prayers from Portugal and soon to be Spain,

Marek