crossing the pyrenees: route de napoleon
out of st jean, one may choose between route de napoleon and valcarlos valley to get to roncesvalles, crossing to navarra, spain. the route de napoleon has been favoured by both napoleon and medieval pilgrims due to its open nature, though it is a fairly stipp clime, the highest point being col de lepoeder, 1450m above the sea (st. jean is only 170m above the sea). with length of 25km with the stiff ascend, it is an arduous journey. we began with much fog and hidden sun, but as the day went on, the sun came out and it truly became the most beautiful day i had in the camino.
fueled with hope, i ran through the mountains- i arrived at roncesvalles, the common first stop just after noon. and unfortunately, this is where i made the big mistake. without taking the consideration for the long journey ahead, this excited monkey decided to pass through roncesvalles, continuing to zubiri. what i realized well into the afternoon was that most of way from roncesvalles to zubiri, another 20km, is mostly stiff downhill- wearing the light barefoot-style running shoes, i decided to run through the downhills. i arrived at zubiri well into the early evening, 5pm, exhausted and sweaty.
next day was another long one, from zubiri to pamplona, well-over 25 km, once again, much of it on downhill. so like a proper impatient monkey, i sped through the path.
it was on the third day morning, i realized something- i wasnt alright.
my left ankle swelled quite a bit and it was quite painful- of course, the night before, i was tired and thought such pains were only natural, however, the ankle was warm and angry- ah. the downfall of being too eager.
this was the first time in my life that i have experienced such thing- of course, i have broken my arm couple times and dislocated things and such, but to actually do damage to myself for two straight days to the point my body said no...
crossing from pamplona to cizur menor
ive been doing things faster than average all my life. in fact, i never doubted in many things- things always felt in such way and ive been lucky enough to navigate things through my own pace. and now, i had to take a break. the day was full of rain (this was the flood that hit navarra, roads were buried and things were underwater), and looking into next day's journey, which involves another stiff clime to mountain perdon (790m), i had no choice but to stop.
i dragged myself through rain, mud and tears for 5km. on way, i sat in a cafe and called minnow and seriously considered dropping the trail and come home. the price of one's own failure was real and young and eager me did not know how to take it.
i took refuge in a small albergue in cizur menor that day. checked in before noon. went to the local mass. and tried to find some inner peace- but did not find it. it was perhaps the saddest day in my trail. facing the fact that one have failed- of course, an injury is an injury, but the fact i was not listening to self was quite disappointing.
mass at local church of cizur menor, full of kids and families!
but no pilgrims, ha...
however, i now wonder if it was a necessity- to fly over the mountains. i have not felt that free in a long time. while many took their breaks and sweated, i, not knowing what may be the price of it, flew through the hills. the glorious sun and beautiful valleys- perhaps i am still glad that i did the dumb thing and ran. as there are nothing like gliding with little wings out, with wind and hope under it. dear cost but what an exhilaration!
these three days were the most memorable in my mind. the launch. flight. crash. i promise to not to bore you with all the little details of this trip. but eventually this ankle injury brings me to the point of acceptance in burgos- to go home. to stop a journey. however, in retrospect, it is also a beautiful thing, to soar over, even it results in a small crash.
and you, the lovely people, i carried you guys in my heart during these three days. bursting with love for my friends, family, i was free, happy, beautiful. yes, i felt beautiful. in great nature, with freedom of thoughts and surrounded with love, i was beautiful. and for that, i thank you all- for transforming a mere silly monkey, even just for the short days. the true riches of one's life is so much easier to see when the background has been taken off. then one may find a new perspective- of how one's constructed.
i am constructed with love.
more camino thoughts coming soon! :)