Awoke at dawn, and found the Korean contingent already filling their plates at the self-service breakfast table. One was gracefully doing Tai Chi in the backyard. I poured a cup of coffee and watched his physical poetry unravel. I dawdled per usual.
Our Core Four group had different destinations today. The Chilean had already booked her bed for the night. Rumors started to spread that beds may be difficult to get. Hostels were filling up fast. Should I be concerned with my tardy starts and coffee breaks……Nah!
The sky was overcast. I started the day walking solo on the road. Passing people and being passed. Conversations came and went as did the light rain.
A group of French lingered ahead unseen, as my head was bent low due to the wet weather. This gathering transpired at the crossroads of the first real opcion (alternate route) thus far, on the Camino. Far above there was a convent, while straight onward the river path continued. I looked up several times. The distance seemed quite far to my feet. I sat down and pondered. I pulled out my book and read the description of the uphill diversion to Zabaldika. Was this the first time I actually pulled out my book? I had been relying on the Eagle Scout for many quick questions en route.
I could only liken this as a soundless Siren-call beckoning, like Odysseus had heard, to follow the long, arduous uphill path. A guidebook-less European man inquired. I shared what information I could dig up. The words of Robert Frost hung in my head as I stood there.
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
My feet, protested loudly as I turned up the hill, followed by the European. The majority of Peregrino feet would stay on the flat, straightforward river path.
Rare has there been woeful consequences when having chosen the lesser-travelled way, and this path was no different. The night ended up being one of community and shared dinner, followed by a prayer service lead by the resident convent nuns.
When talking with others, it appeared that several of us got called up to the convent that night. This further cemented the mystery and possibilities of the Camino. Goose-bump moment experienced. I chatted for a few minutes with a Polish woman before drifting off to sleep. Journaling was once again postponed.