The Way, Day 7

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[Pamplona]

After a dinner of what can only be described as Spanish bar food, I woke up at 11:30 today and could have slept longer.  Afraid that I wouldn’t be able to sleep later tonight, I forced myself into an upright position, drank some water and polished off one of my New Yorkers.  E woke up about an hour and a half later and we went to the pharmacy to pick up some stuff for my feet and then went to lunch at a nearby restaurant known for its regional cuisine.  We ate lunch in true Spanish style – i.e. with a bottle of wine and over the course of 2.5 hours.  After lunch we visited the citadel and meandered around downtown.  On our way back to the hotel, we stopped for a cup of tea and coffee at a cute cafe in the middle of a park and then bought some groceries for dinner and some supplies for tomorrow.  Since then we’ve been Wikipedia-ing answers to our various questions:  What exactly does bullfighting entail? (sad face). What is the history/language/culture of Basque country? (lots of interesting info, but nothing really satisfying). Are you supposed to tip in Spain? (it’s complicated).

It was always our plan to spend an extra day in Pamplona, but I can’t help but feel a little defeated.  E and I always said that we would see where this trip took us, that it would be okay if we didn’t make it to the end.  But of course the intention was always there to finish, and to finish in the time allotted to us.  And I always imagined that if we didn’t finish it would be because we had gotten sidetracked on some other adventure and not because I would be physically unable to keep going.  As we documented our various aches and pains yesterday, I learned that I was sore/hurting in more places than E, which of course only added to my frustration.  I whined to him about it over lunch today (maybe that’s why it took 2.5h).  How is it that I work out more than he does, eat and take care of my body better than he does, and am by no means lacking in mental toughness (if I ever get around to having kids, I have now touched the place where women go to grab the courage and strength required to give birth), and yet I’m falling apart just three days into our journey?  Is his baseline just better than my best?  It often feels that way. 

Pilgrimages were designed to be periods of self-reflection and transformation.  Any time we undertake a particularly difficult task, we find out what we are made of and the task unmercifully exploits our weaknesses and insecurities.  I have not been blind to the metaphors already piling up on this trip, but admit that I am surprised by how quickly they have been unearthed.  I suppose it’s only natural – we’ve stripped ourselves down to the bare minimum for this journey, left behind all the things that define and distract us – and now we are only left with each other and more terrifyingly, ourselves. 

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