Pasal de Rei to Azrúa. 29 km / 18 miles.
(Guy pointed out that I was wearing pouty pants yesterday and wanted to be sure I let you know that he ordered me to take them off. And so I did. But I think they were skinny jeans, so it was a bit of a struggle.)
Today we rebounded. It was a beautiful morning, and our hiking legs and rhythm are back. The miles flew by, and we found ourselves fighting over who got to carry Sully and reworking the logistics to go 18 miles instead of the 16 we had planned. Minor difference, but I’ll get to that.
What really helped bring the day around is that we found part of our bubble! At first coffee, we found the Colombians! (We had hiked that mountain morning together the other week.) Our conversations are limited to Guy’s Spanish, but these are two warm, happy souls. They are also dang fast!
And then at second coffee, we found Carlos! We first met Carlos on our second day – and hiked together for a bit. Carlos is from Brazil, and his son’s birthday is the same as Guy’s. We saw him again on the birthday day, and Carlos took a video of us all to send to his son. Carlos was also one of the few brave souls who was game to share a table with the three of us during pilgrims’ meals (keep in mind a hour is short for a pilgrim’s dinner, and Sully, nearly two, usually falls apart multiple times during the course of an evening. Every meal is a near-miss.)
And Carlos is what I would consider a “heart friend.” Some friends you are connected to by conversation, some by a shared spirituality, some by similar passions, some by groundedness, and some, like Carlos, you are unexplainably connected to at the heart.
After that first week, we pulled ahead and hadn’t seen Carlos. But yesterday, Guy swore he spotted him twice, but each time he disappeared just ahead of us. We were beyond thrilled to catch up with him today. Our spirits soared.
Top that with another whirling visit from the Brazilian – who calls us “the Americanos!” and greets us with hugs and kisses and rapid fire Portuguese and then is off – and you have the makings of a pretty good hiking day.
And so, not long after all of these run-ins, we started talking about tomorrow. Along the lines of: If we go 18 today instead of 16, then we only have 24 to go. I feel good. Do you feel good? Can we hike 24 miles? Or do you want to do 14 and 12? We can do 24, can’t we? Can we NOT do 24??
And that where we’ve left it. We are packing light tonight and setting the alarm for 4:30 AM. Santiago tomorrow?! We shall see!