• Women on the GrOw

Camino De Santiago Day 3: Call of the Sirens

May 7: Zubiri to Zabaldika:

12.4 km/7.8 miles

Bridge outside Zabaldika on the Camino de Santiago

I awoke at dawn, and found the Korean contingent already filling their plates at the self-service breakfast table. One was gracefully doing Tai Chi in the backyard. I poured a cup of coffee and watched his physical poetry unravel. I dawdled per usual.

Village home front on Camino de Santiago

The acceptance: the "Fab Four" part ways

Our "Core Four" group had different destinations today. The Chilean had already booked her bed for the night. Rumors started to spread that beds may be difficult to get. Hostels were filling up fast.

Should I be concerned with my tardy starts and coffee breaks?…Nah!

The sky was overcast. I started the day walking solo on the road. Passing people and being passed. Conversations came and went as did the light rain.

A group of French lingered ahead unseen, as my head was bent low due to the wet weather. This gathering transpired at the crossroads of the first real opcion (alternate route) thus far on the Camino.

Far above there was a convent, while straight onward the river path continued.

Camino De Santiago winding road

The determinant: uphill or straightforward

I looked up several times. The distance seemed quite far to my feet. I sat down and pondered.

I pulled out my book and read the description of the uphill diversion to Zabaldika. Was this the first time I actually pulled out my book? I had been relying on the Eagle Scout for many quick questions en route.

I could only liken this as a soundless siren call beckoning, like Odysseus had heard, to follow the seemingly long, arduous uphill path.

The resolve: take the road less traveled

A guidebook-less European man inquired. I shared what information I could dig up. The words of Robert Frost hung in my head as I stood there.

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

…and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

Robert Frost

My feet, protested loudly as I turned up the hill, followed by the European. The majority of Peregrino feet would stay on the flat, straightforward river path.

Church bell tower on Camino de Santiago

The confirmation: a choice well made

Rare has there been woeful consequences when having chosen the lesser-traveled way, and this path was no different. The night ended up being one of community and shared dinner, followed by a prayer service lead by the resident convent nuns.

When talking with others, it appeared that several of us got called up to the convent that night. This further cemented the mystery and possibilities of the Camino. Goose bump moment experienced.

I chatted for a few minutes with a Polish woman before drifting off to sleep. Journaling was once again postponed.