This was my mom’s favorite story I told her about the Camino so you get to hear it, too….
At the end of June this year, I was wrapping up my five days on the Camino de Santiago and after having survived a couple of meltdowns and contemplating cutting my feet off at the ankles, I had finally settled into the walk and was quite enjoying myself. This, the fourth day, found me and my friend Katie walking separately from Bruma to Siguero. It would be around 28km and the terrain would change quite a bit…less mountains and more farmland. Sadly, the fabulous water fountains we had been accustomed to also mysteriously disappeared. As did any villages or small towns in which to buy food. Somehow I wasn’t all that upset by this development and pretty much bounced along the trails and dirt roads with a grumbling tummy and parched lips, but happy the weather was nice and simply relieved my flip flops had restored my feet.
About 8 hours into this 9 hour walk, I spotted a figure way up in the distance. It was Katie Ford!! I couldn’t believe I had caught up to her as I was certain my lazyass pilgrim’s leisurely breakfast had likely put me way behind. But Katie had taken a wrong turn that morning and was also feeling some pain and so was taking the day’s walk gingerly. But the one thing I knew Katie did have going for her was a camelback. Yes! At this point I had not had a sip of water in almost five hours!
But alas, Katie Ford was also out of water. And food.
We walked together for a while but she really wanted to go slow and I really wanted to sprint to town before I died of thirst. I forged ahead and after another hour I finally made it into Siguero. As I approached the city, it kept feeling like there should be a convenience store or gas station around every turn. But, nada. Then the Camino took me through a pretty little city park and I’m thinking, “perfect…for sure there will be a water fountain or at least a bathroom with a sink.” Psych! Seriously, I was walking through there very audibly saying, “REALLY? REALLY?? NO WATER????”
But then, and this wasn’t the first time that something so unexpected would happen on the Camino, I rounded a corner and BAM! Huge public swimming pool with kids doing cannonballs and parents lounging around on a blanket of green grass. I marched my dirty pilgrim butt up to the counter, paid my 2 Euro, changed into my swimsuit and sprawled out on the grass with a giant pink popsicle. I’m hard-pressed to think of another time I’ve felt so overjoyed with such a simple pleasure.