We were too exhausted to explore Villafranca last night. 9 1/2 hours of travel took its toll on us physically as well as mentally. We got to walk through the the beautiful town today & it is BEAUTIFUL! Far less Graffiti than Ponferrada. We started the morning walking through the streets that took us back 100 years with cobblestone roads and stone buildings that opened up into a bridge over a meandering river surrounded by lovely gardened houses. Today, we planned to take a detour. (On purpose this time.) A small one that would have gone up a mountain. As we were walking through Villafranca we started up a hill to our path as two older gentlemen were out for their morning walks, on walkers (I’m serious). When we stared up the harder path, the man in front started shaking his finger. “No, no, no! No Buen Camino” He continued in Spanish I cannot understand. When he figured out we don’t speak Spanish well he said, “Mal Camino, no buen Camino.”
So, we took the road more traveled. It was a beautiful walk gently uphill through the mountains beside a highway. It was, however, A LOT of highway and A LOT of blacktop, which makes for sore feet. It was also an opportunity. I could choose to look at the mountains and the beauty in the distance, or I could look at the cars & the road that looked like any road, except, thankfully, there was a 3′ high concrete barrier between me & the highway. To pay too much attention to the immediate surroundings, the road, the brush, the graffiti would cause one to think this was an ugly mistake. To look solely at the mountains might cause you to trip and fall or miss a very important yellow arrow. Life is like that. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and where you are, but to keep all your focus there can make you unhappy & task focused. The balance is that looking only at what is in the distance can allow you to be broadsided by a truck. The road also made me appreciate even more the beautiful travel through vineyards and farm country yesterday, a little more appreciation for our previous struggle.
VILLAGES The villages we traveled through today were a nice escape from the highway. I’m so intrigued by their gardens and irrigation. Some did feel a bit like a tourist trap, like we only walked through them to buy a Coke, but they were cute & clean. Kristin compared them to a gift shop at the end of an amusement park ride. We stopped in one to soak our feet in the stream flowing by. That was the best decision we made all day. A few minutes of rest and ice cold water on our tired feet was just the energizing we needed to finish the day. Anna, a lovely girl from Sweden joined us. She is delightful and walking alone for nine days.
Herrías We’ve only just gotten here. We are staying at Paraiso del Biertho, which is a charming hotel on the left as you enter with a view of a valley with the prettiest stream flowing through the middle. This is the view out my bedroom window.
As we were walking today, we were discussing children and motherhood and the fact that Kristin and I don’t feel as old as we are. I stated that I don’t understand women who are able to embrace motherhood so completely. This is a struggle for me. Kristin, however, feels she has no other identity. “I’m Mama Mitchell , in many continents.” She has traveled to Africa, Haiti, and India working with orphans as well as raising her own 6 children and many foster children over the years. It got me thinking about this thought: I would give my life for my children. I would kill for my children. But, do I live for my children? I don’t know that I should, but it has me thinking it is something very different to live for someone or something than it is to die or kill for someone or something. I want to live for God! Lord, help me to live for you!