Small steps

18.7 miles today, plus 17.8 yesterday, made the longest two-day total of my life. Today’s cooler overcast weather made the miles easier, but a slightly sore left foot and right knee, worn down by yesterday’s grind, started to slow me down with 8 or 9 miles left to go. I felt a bit discouraged. But then I met an extraordinary pair of hikers, and their company lifted my spirit. My body felt fresh again and the miles to Najera flew by. Their sudden appearance felt like such a gift. God provides.

Mathieu Sabourin and Julia Gaubert are walking across Europe. This French couple began in Estonia in May, 2013, headed south for the Balkans, crossed the Alps from Italy to France in December, and in two more months will complete their journey in Portugal. Having entered professions in law and finance related to the European Union , they both felt a desire to know the people and places of that union more intimately before they went any further in their careers. So they started walking, shooting a documentary as they go (as we walked and talked, I realized that Julia was taping bits of our conversation).

Their time on the Camino is unlike the rest of their journey in one respect. Elsewhere, two people walking with packs has elicited a great curiosity, often resulting in rich conversations and offers of hospitality. On the Camino, however, pilgrims are such a common sight that we are barely noticed, except for the occasional wish of “Buen Camino!” Another difference is Mathieu and Julia’s more leisurely pace. They have already taken two layover days this week, while the rest of us have slogged on without a break. But see how far they have come! There may be a lesson here.

Their website is http://europedespetitspas.com/
It means “Europe in small steps.”

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