P1010492leaving Gigon

WALKING ALONE – The decision is made that my partner needs to rest up for a couple of days to see if the antibiotics and a short break can cure the problem caused by his infection. He will get a bus to Soto de Luina and I will meet him there in two days to re-assess what we are to do.

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Unsurprisingly my night’s sleep has been fitful and I am still fairly weary as I set off out of Gigon after the usual breakfast. Fortified by a couple of strong coffees, the walk out of Gigon is not particularly attractive but soon I am hiking up a hill and then down into a pretty valley.

I meet a couple of walkers for lunch at a little church on the approach to Avilles and it is a pleasure to share lunch with them.

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I want to walk alone however and I let them leave before me so that I don’t have to share my thoughts with them.

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This is the first time the thought strikes me that this Camino is very much a personal discovery. I am worried by my partner’s predicament and my feeling is that he should go home immediately and see his doctor but I understand his desire to carry on if he can. The pull of the walking, the counting down of the steps and the sense of anticipation are irresistible by the third week of walking. I find myself lost in a storm of internal emotions and I don’t want to share them at this stage. I feel torn by a sense of guilt that I feel a kind of relief to be walking on my own. Today I don’t need to think about anyone else on the track. I can walk at my own pace, stop when I need to. I have no plans beyond getting to Avilles.

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I meet an elderly French lady in her seventies. This is her fourth time of walking the Camino and her first on the Norte. I fall into conversation in French for a while and we stop to share each others’ food for a while by a river before she decides to skip on at a great lick, leaving me in her dust. She has described the addictive lure of the walking and the great joy she experiences with each adventure and every new connection she makes with another ‘pilgrim’.

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The approach to Avilles is on a busy and dusty road and seems interminable. If a bus comes along I will consider catching it. But eventually I arrive at the hostel in Avilles where the folk I had seen earlier had already settled in. The auberge is very basic even by my standards and I feel the need to carry on walking.

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For some reason I don’t want to spend time socialising as my mind is still too tied up with thoughts I don’t want to share with strangers. I walk on over a hill a further 8 kms until I reach the sea at Piedras Blancas. I find a basic room in a small private hostel and walk into town to eat at a popular little bar that is showing the Barcelona v Real Madrid football match. Passions are high among the many locals and I enjoy a delicious octopus supper before walking to the sea front to enjoy a glass of wine and where I arrange to come for breakfast in the morning.

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It has been a long day of walking but the noises in my head mean I have  hardly noticed the miles.

Tomorrow we will know more about how we are to continue. Tonight, soothed by the sea and a large glass of red wine, I sleep well in my private little room.

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