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DAY 3 & 4: Rediscovering Rejuvenation

I woke to find my bones limp and jiggly, the pressure of yesterday’s arduous walk breaking the barrier of dawn and manifesting into the blistering hot day. ‘It was no secret anymore’ I thought. None of us had been prepared for the un-breaking and unbending powerful will of The Camino de Santiago. And yet, we don’t own a car and usually we walk everywhere. Everywhere! Including the stores and Saturday market from where we have to carry home kilos and kilos of supplies over a long course of kilometres. But nothing could really prepare us for this harsh truth.

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Yesterday had undoubtedly been the hardest day of walking so far. The heat mixed with the all around realisation that we were still only on Day 3 had given us a jolt of questioning. “So, just to ask… Why are we doing this walk anyway?” This has been the question Dad had posed yesterday when we had stopped on a small roadside bench to rest our weary feet and aching backs. For one horrid moment, nobody had said anything at all, but then the answers flooded like torrents. “This is a huge accomplishment to finish,” Lalika had started; “The resilience and strength you will get from this experience is priceless,” Mum had continued. Dad and I had ended any ideas of doubt. “That’s enough of a reason for me!” said Dad. “We will follow through and even if our feet fall off, we will not ever quit!” I added. Inspiring each other, we picked up our packs and continued onwards through the brazen heat to the end of the day, feeling secure in the fact that there was nothing that could convince us to go back on our statements. Back in the present day, looking down at the scratches, bug bites, blisters and bruises, I admit to not being so sure.

 

 

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 Unzipping our tents we had slept in at the Itxaspe Camping grounds just outside of the small city of Deba, a wave of intense heat hit me. I couldn’t even begin to fathom how we were going to manage to walk the long distance of 29 kilometres in front of us today. I was not alone in my thoughts thankfully as it seemed everyone else in my family couldn’t either. So instead, we journeyed the short 5 km distance down into Deba, stopping every 5 minutes for a lukewarm drink keeping hydrated as we fought the bramble bushes and spiky plants that blocked our path like a dragon guarding a chest of gold. We managed to slay the trail because we descended down into a true treasure when we spotted the beautifully inviting beach that Deba had to offer.

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Our tired limbs forgotten, we picked up the pace to make it down into the valley and stood like dogs panting for water as we stood on the banks of the soft sand, surveying the incredibly inviting waves. We raced to change into swimsuits at our accommodation Albergue (Pilgrims only Hostel) before devouring two whole foil wrappings of greasy yet fluffy Patatas Fritas (chips/french fries) Then without anything else standing in our way, we kicked off our sandals and raced through the burning sand into the sun warmed Bay of Biscay of the Atlantic Ocean.

I dove under the rumbling white waves, my imaginary wings spreading and taking flight. I felt the crystal cold water wash over me, the tingling lash of the powerful currents passing over my head and then I came up to breath that stinging salty air. My joy was uncontainable, the spray of the sea stretching as far as the smile on my face. I felt at peace. This was my element and the seagulls’ hungry cries resonated with my own hunger for a better taste of this long missed memory. It had been too long, far too long to wait for the rediscovery of rejuvenation by re-immersing oneself in the environment they loved and now as I splashed in the familiar abode of the sea, I knew I was finally home.

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