Stage 10, Sep 13, Zaraquiequi to Puente la Reina, 14.6 km, total time 4:51 hrs

A very relaxing stage, cut short due to bad weather during the first part, and the need of some rest and shopping of necessities in a relative bigger village. The key features if the day were the crossing of the Alto del Perdon (Forgiveness Heights) with its famous sculpture dedicated to pilgrims of all times and all ages.

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Another significant key note was the visit to the Templar Knights’ little church of St.Maria de Eunate,

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and to meet a French couple in pilgrimage with their own donkey “Beb√®”.

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Deborah and I have developed a very well tuned walking relationship. She is a very determined walker keeping more or less my same pace, and we both know how to keep each other company almost in total silence for kilometers. While I engage almost every other pilgrim we find on our way and do most of the talking, she is more reserved and but takes most of the decisions particularly on which auberge to spend the following nights. We both still have sore legs and weak knees at the end of the day so we have to plan carefully the stops to minimize the risk of serious tendinitis.

It is a pleasant moment when we meet other fellow pilgrims that we have lost traces of, maybe in the village pub around a cerveza and chorizo. The talks are almost the same: where did you sleep last night? How much weight ate you carrying? Where do you come from? What were you doing in life before the Camino, and will you do after?

The largest majority is in a life transition moment: in between jobs, about to or already retired, divorced or widower, most open to new encounters, many not yet in peace with themselves. The large majority of “foreigners”, I.e. not Spanish nor French¬† are middle-aged women often travelling in pairs or small groups. Many men travel alone and cover very long distances, like if they have no one waiting for them at home.

The variety of mankind that can be found on the Camino is incredible, and for each there is a human story behind. I like to listen when anyone wants to share their stories, and I feel enriched and glad to belong here.

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