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The rain in Spain

by Dee Andrews

makes for very sticky mud when walking across the plains.

camino frances in rain

Our high-tech, highly efficient children's umbrellas.

One year ago, it was Day 13 on our Camino de Santiago journey. We walked 32km (19 miles) that day, from Burgos to Hontanas, almost all of it in the rain. The rain itself wasn’t so bad, a nice change of pace, and we had planned ahead the day before in Burgos and bought highly functional kid’s umbrellas from the Chinese tienda (think American Dollar Store.) They conveniently had a see-through plastic dome, could handle the wind, and, costing 3 Euros each, were expendable. My husband’s favorite part was the bright, ridiculous cartoon characters with which they were decorated… comic relief and trail entertainment.

The thing about the rain, on this first stretch of the plains across Spain, is it made for the stickiest mud we’ve ever walked through. Every step along the dirt roads through the fields layered another thick slab of heavy mud on our shoes, adding considerable weight and frustration to the miles. I traded my umbrella for a hiking pole, trying to stab the mud off my shoes. When that failed, I took to tip-toeing across the young crops, trying not to damage them too much, silently apologizing to the farmer. We splurged for the one-star Hostal Fuenta Estrella instead of the alburgue, the hot shower and wool blankets making it worth every Euro.

A year later, it’s interesting to reflect back on our 500-mile walk across Spain. It’s funny what the brain chooses to forget and remember. Was that mud really so bad? It makes for a great memory now, a year later, when I’m warm and dry and the sun is shining. I do remember being so thankful to find newspapers at the hostal to stuff into my wet shoes and soak out the water, that the spaghetti on the pilgrim’s menu that night was warmed in the microwave but it tasted good anyway, that I was listening to the Friday Night Knitting Club on my iPod, thinking I was like the main character in many ways and had something to learn from the story.

I do remember that I came to appreciate the rain, the stillness and solitude it brought to the trail, the comfort and clarity and nothing at all sticky.

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