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Day 3: To walk a mile in another man’s shoes….or a kilometer in his pack….

Realizations after walking downhill with 50 pounds (Candace)

Ermita Del Calvario to Monestario De Zenarruza

Distance: 16.1 miles

Total Ascent: 915 meters

Difficulty Level: 5

Calories Burned: 5,110

Today started as any other. Except that it was Day 3 on the Camino del Norte.

We decided to tent camp last night and got to see the most magical sunset, in harmony with the cacophony of cows and cowbells, late into the night.  It was the coolest thing we’ve ever heard.  It was like the cows were speaking to one another from farm to farm, cowbells in tow.  And when I woke up to use the restroom at 3am, I must have stirred them and the symphony began again.

Then, at 7am, we woke up to begin our 26 kilometer trek.  Andrew set our intention today, which was to listen to our bodies, sit when we need to sit, and listen to ourselves and one another.

We got into a small argument about this blog (Andrew thinks I am bugging him to tell his stories.  I am.  But we all want to hear his experience too!), and I suggested that we hike alone for a few hours.  My body was telling me that I needed to let off some steam.

And in those following few hours, when I did walk silently and listen, I heard the most beautiful sound.  I was accompanied by bees.  All day.  We moved inland today, so we were no longer walking along the coast, and as we did so, the bees and birds and bugs came alive.  It was magical.

I had time to think about my old job and how Andrew and I will raise our children, what I would do to make money when we return from our honeymoon, and ovulation planning.  I sincerely loved the time alone.  And just as I began missing my wonderful husband, I walked right into a heart made from dirt with a bouquet of flowers that Andrew had picked.  Instantly, I was happy that we had the time away, but was missing telling him about the morning and wanted to be with him again.

We spent the afternoon with quite a bit of downhill hiking, which played havoc on Andrew’s knees. Even with a brace and trekking poles (thank you, Kim!), the 50-pound pack was just too hard on his body, so I offered to carry the heavy pack for the downhill segments.

I was so proud of myself for offering to take the big pack.  I felt very strong and capable, and was happy to “serve” Andrew.  Until suddenly I realized that I hadn’t been serving him.  He’s been carrying this pack, alone, for the past three days.  And as I began to crumble under the weight of the pack, I was so humbled by his service in silence, and so honored by it.

We ended the day with a 1 mile climb up a rock-laden road to arrive at a monastery that is known for its beer (so strange). Here we had good conversation and cabbage soup with our newfound Pilgrim Family (Barbara, who I’ve mentioned before, Joslin, Roland, Nicole from Canada and Eva from Holland), and made love in our very comfy private room (it actually had 9 beds, but we were lucky enough to have the place to ourselves).

I’m falling asleep tonight feeling so grateful for my husband and partner in crime.  His service continues to astound me.