I am taking my life for a walk

Caceres Travel Blog

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Leaving Merida - Roman viaduct (reminds me of my tears)

So Merida . . . .things got a little interesting after my last blog and the town will forever more be known as ´Mierda´ to me!

A pilgrimage is not just a difficult physical walk day after day through the countryside. It is also a walk with your soul, a time to get to see into yourself at a very deep level because of the stillness and the possibility to be so much in the ´present moment´. I have spent a lot of the past few days walking alone and it has allowed me to have some very deep expereiences. Most of these will be for my private diary but I would like to share an abridged version here.

A small piece of information before I begin with my story. There will be a reference to ´the third window´. This is part of the ´Johari Window´ one way of looking at your life.

Approach to the dam - and meeting Julio
It explains how you portray yourself to others and how they see you. The first 2 panes are how you present yourself to the world in general and then to your closest people. The third window contains those characteristics you have that others see in you but you do not see in yourself. When they are revealed, it is often very confronting and time to take an honest look at who you are being.

So a comment was made to me in Merida that really threw me for six! Although not the truth, it revealed some of my third window to me. I needed to take a deep look into myself and ask some important questions. I retreated into my cave alone and tried to work out the lesson. When no answers were forthcoming, I departed Merida very early in the morning and stopped on the way out of town to have a chat with a very beautiful statue of the Virgen, asking for a little guidance.

My little haven in Aljucen
I was maybe a little colloquial but I am sure she got the point.

I continued on my way, still very upset and crying like a Chica. Two hours later I came upon the Embalse de Proserpina, a Roman reservoir still in use and a relaxing oasis for nearby residents in the weekends. Here I saw a man alone, fishing on the edge of the reservoir. He was all set up with a huge umbrella, deck chair, esky, 3 fishing rods and some quiet music.

For some reason, something made me walk over to him to have a conversation. As soon as I did so he beamed a huge smile at me and spoke slowly and softly so I could understand. We talked about fishing, art, family, Spain, Australia and then music. He asked me if I liked Opera and then pulled a CD out of his kit bag and gave it to me. He is a well known Spanish Opera singer Julio Morinigo. He talked to me about our meeting being special and coming from the soul. It was like I had found an old friend after a long absence and the conection was mutual.

At that point I burst into tears again and tried to explain my upset to Julio. He took my hands in his, gave me a fatherly hug and then told me something about myself that gave me the answer I had been seeking. It was truly one of those ´Camino moments´ that are not often experienced outside a pilgrimage. From that moment on, I have been at peace and understand a little more about myself.

I continued on to the next pueblo, my home for the night, and totally enjoyed the lovely walk. It was first along a country road where I was offered a lift to save my legs but declined as I intend to walk every step to Santiago!. The camino then meandered through farms of olive trees and encimas. The tiny village of Aljucen was an oasis and I had a joyous afternoon alone in the Albergue before the boys arrived at 8pm. The Albergue was a converted house with a lovely back patio. I wrote my diary surrounded by honeysuckle, happy birds and a pregnant cat. It was heaven to have the time to process everything and feel the joy of my meeting with Julio. Now I just have to find a CD player to hear him sing!

The next day was a huge walk of 38 km. It was a walk from Aljucen to Aldea del Canos. I walked the first 20km alone in the morning and met Ramon at lunchtime in Alcuescar. There was a fabulous local market so I was able to successfully do my own shopping and stock up my pack with various fruits, more Queso de Oveja (sheep cheese) and of course my favourite Chorizo Rojo (red Chorizo sausage).

I had a great morning passing many animals on the track. At first light I came across an enormous stork nest taking up the entire top of a tree. It was standing with the sun behind it making a kind of ´stork eclipse´. You cannot imagine the privilege I feel to be experiencing these sights. I also had to walk through the middle of a herd of grazing cows. They are enormous and all have horns! I was hoping there was not a toro among them as I had on a pink top and red hat.

Birdlife is just fantastic. I do not know enough to give names but there is every shape, size and colour. Yesterday I spent several minutes mesmerised with some hawks (or eagles) playing around in the thermals. The landscape is so open and the clouds are like little puffs in a clear blue sky.

Ramon and I stayed in a really lovely Albergue last night with a German couple who live on Mallorca. They were really nice to talk to (English at last!). Ramon cooked me a special tortilla as a goodbye meal because he will continue on the Camino tomorrow and I will stay in Caceres for a rest day. It is a beautiful city (one of the biggest on the Camino)  and has a city centre that is completety Roman in origen, It is stunning to wander around the tiny streets. I will do a lot of that tomorrow and hopefully allow some of the aches and pains to subside before continuing.

I have purposely not talked about my physical condition for a while - it could take up an entire blog.

Well, adios again and a small request to all my family and friends to send me emails to my hotmail. I would really love to hear from you all. xoxo Gracia the Brave

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Leaving Merida - Roman viaduct (re…
Leaving Merida - Roman viaduct (r…
Approach to the dam - and meeting …
Approach to the dam - and meeting…
My little haven in Aljucen
My little haven in Aljucen
photo by: zefusa