It was a great feeling to swing the pack onto my back after being at the post office. It felt remarkably light after sending off about 13kg to Santiago. I've listened to debate over the past five days amongst other pilgrims about the ideal weight to carry. The general consensus is no more than 10kg, and to think I've been carrying two and a half times that since Rome. I should now be down to around 12kg, about the same I've carried on my last three Caminos. As I walked out of the post office I had this feeling of elation like a great burden, both literal and metaphorical, had been lifted from my shoulders. I wanted to celebrate. I expressed my elation by going to the supermarket, buying some fresh food and finding a seat to sit and to eat it. (At the end of my walk I will say something about the meaning I've ascribed to the weight I've been carrying.)

It's been a short walk today, just 10km. As was the case today, on no day can you escape a steep climb or descent. Bilbao is located in a deep valley. Coming into this city, with a population of around 350,000, from so high up affords panoramic views from north to south. After enter from the east I stopped at one of the churches, which I think has cathedral status, to find a service going on. I didn't stay long but long enough to marvel at the giant sandstone columns and the amount of gold adorning the altar area. Spanish churches often reflect the past wealth of the district in which they are located by the adornments within the churches. The use of gold
has been the most favoured way to express that wealth.

After the church it was a descent of about 200 steps to get to the floor of the valley and reach the old section of the city. My first intention was to find the albergue and then a post office, but along the way to the albergue I enquired of a postman and he gave me excellent directions to the post office. Excellent directions means I had no trouble finding it, which isn't always the case when I'm looking for something. Post offices are usually in out of the way locations. It transpired that the albergue is on the outskirts of the city, but on the path I have to take tomorrow.

All albergues have lights out, be silent, and lock the doors rules. Ten pm is usual. If you're not back inside by the nominated time you get locked out. I haven't heard of anyone being locked out. Everyone is too tired to be out late. They just want to shower, eat and get to sleep.

I've worked out a schedule for the balance of my walk. I should be in Santiago on the 7 August. On some days between now and then I don't walk far but I've taken into account the type of country I have to cross, the fact that my body is getting tired after three months on the road, and that I've walked in excess of 1,800km. It's important to me that I acknowledge and accept my limitations on this journey. The ego must always take a back seat, or not get a seat at all.
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