Such a tough day. I can’t believe how much I wanted to quit. Hills and hills and hills. Most of which are covered in stones, some the size of baseballs. I can’t explain what kept my legs going. I was ready to drop after climbing the last big hill to my destination Estella. I thought I’d look for the less popular hostel on the outside of town, only to realize I missed it. Another 3.4 km to the next destination only to find their are no hostels. Another 2km up and down hills to the next town to find they only have an expensive hotel. I was breaking physically and mentally. I walked the whole day by myself and I think some loneliness was setting in. I hadn’t seen another backpacker in at least an hour now.
During the middle of another 3.1km to the next village. I came across a fellow traveler sitting under a tree, having some fruit and drinking water. He offered both and I gladly accepted. I ran out of water long ago so i was very grateful. Anton was German but is pretty good at English, so this was a relief. I’ve only heard French and Italian the last few days. Only a little bit I Spanish. After some polite conversation I told him to feel free to keep on, as I couldn’t possibly keep up with him. He started out from farther than me, yet he looked like he could go another 50km. He said, “for a new friend I walk slow and enjoy the leisurely stroll.” I laughed and we kept on. We began to get to know each other a little, then we arrived at our destination. Again, I was ready to drop. Then came the host. “Sorry no beds.” It would be another 2km up a mountain to VillaMayor. I think i was crying on the inside, but at least I had a friend now. On the way up he told me to pace myself better. Slow but steady. Go my own pace. He said while hiking on mountains in Austria, he found the locals move like snails. When they reach the top they are not even tired. Amazed at how conversation helps the time go by, we reached our home for the night just in time. There were 2 beds available. It felt like a miracle! After a dinner of beans, sardines, and wine, I managed the strength to shower and go to bed.
When all is said and done, I did 32 tough kilometers. I meant to do about 18km.
I’ve been trained to believe that God shows up when you need him to, but have never experienced it like this. On the verge of physical and emotional breakdown, it is as if an angel appeared. When I woke up, Anton had already set out for the day. I guess on one of his leisurely strolls.