Today has been the hardest day I've done on any Camino. It was climbing and descending, but mostly climbing all day. The descent into Markina on a narrow, rocky, steep, uneven path was murderous on my knees which were feeling a little sensitive this afternoon but had settled down by this evening. It wasn't a hot day, but I did notice that the temperature was still 27 degrees at 5 o'clock. Things were made worse because my right leg was giving me heaps. I've learned techniques, like having 30 second rests, which is enough time to relax the sensitive spot. I've been having these micro-stops since I was in France. Initially they were a challenge to my ego where I wanted to walk through the pain or simply reach a spot on the road before I took a break, but this is no longer an issue.

What also has been of tremendous assistance is the fact that each day I dedicate all my suffering on this journey to the alleviation of suffering of all the people in the world. I mentioned some time ago in a post about practicing compassion this way. So I might be suffering but the suffering is not wasted. This is such a comfrorting thought.

Walking these difficult paths constantly involves subtle changes of direction from left to right or right to left to make sure I avoid obstacles and so that my feet land on
the most even surface ahead of me. Shortening or lengthening my step for the same reasons is also part of what I do. It's constant vigilance lest I lose my footing. The two walking poles have been a godsend. I'm sure I would have come to grief many times had I not had them.

Today wasn't one where I did a lot of looking around to gather in the views, but when I did some of the panoramas were to behold. A lot of the path took us through wooded or forested areas, and on two occasions through stands of eucalypt trees
which provided a familiar smell to accompany me for a little while.

Now I'm looking forward to getting to Bilbao in two days time where I'm going to
unload my camping and other gear. I'm expecting to get rid of about 7kg. By getting rid of I mean sending it to the post office at Santiago where they will keep pilgrim packages for up to one month. I should make it by a month after July 4. What a blessing it will be to have my pack that much lighter. I look at the packs of
other pilgrims with a little envy. 10kg seems to be the limit for most of them.

This afternoon I couldn't wait for dinner so I went to the supermarket and bought myself some king prawns and a multigrain bread roll which I ate in the park opposite the albergue. Camino's are not all about suffering. Earlier I had a wander around town. Some pilgrims head for their beds to rest. I tried this for about five minutes but had to get up and move around. I did have the pilgrim's meal tonight at a local restaurant. Again they were generous servings. The creamed rice for sweets reminded me of a dish my late mother made on Sunday's. Sweet memories.

As you can see from the important link screenshot below, the photos are of a white front plate, lcd screen and metal casing put together