Today had some learning. It was also experiential. Most days provide some learning but there are those days when we realise what we've learned.

The Camino del Norte is different to the Camino Frances in a significant way: the coastal way is not as well signposted as the Camino Frances. On the French Way you are spoon fed. It leaves you in no doubt as to what direction you should take. The markers are bountiful. Not so up north where there are nowhere near as many signposts. For me, the absence of signs has constantly caused self-doubt. That is, until I began to really take notice of what the signs were telling me. A sign at a corner pointing down a road that turnout to be an extraordinarily long one does not
need another sign unles you are required to change direction. If there are
'reassuring' signs along the way, well and good, but they a not necessary.

I've found myself repeatedly doubting if I'm on the correct path, when, if I briefly considered where a sign was placed and where it was telling me to go, I expect a lot of my self-doubt would be eliminated. I should point out that this has only been the case since I've been in Spain for it is only when I arrived here that I felt I was on my Camino. Like most things that happen to me on the Camino's I've walked previously, and this one, I look for meaning. It's not simply a case of John thinking he may be lost. It's obviously a metaphor, but how I go about applying it to my life might be
the tricky bit. There is one issue coming up to which I'll have to give a lot more thought and that is a treatment associated with the hyperthermia for my prostate cancer I plan to have in Germany in October. Low grade chemotherapy is commonly used in conjunction with hyperthermia. My choice will be to either have the chemotherapy or not have it. So today's thinking about considering the path I need to take has been most pertinent.

The other significant topic of thought today was about my death. It wasn't like I said to myself, “Let's think about death”. I'd had difficult morning climbing and
descending some high and rugged hills and finally made the town of Balotta, some
8km from tonight's stop. I was a couple of kilometres out of Balotta when a scene came to mind without any advance notice. I was lying in bed, near death, feeling very peaceful. I had my three children by my side. My eyes were closed. I heard one of my children say, “Dad”. I opened my eyes and said, “You thought I was gone, but it won't be long. I was just seeing some beautiful things.”. My daughter Marlena said, “We don't want you to go.”. I pulled her close to me and said, “Marls, life's impermanent”. When I said these words I began to cry uncontrollably as I walked along. I continued to walk and the crying settled but as I replayed in my mind what I have just described when I got to the part about life being impermanent the crying began again.

The Camino gets us to think about things we might not ordinarily desire to think about. The Camino is like that. It's been easy for me to record this part in my notes but I grappled for a short time with whether I should share it with the readers of this blog. The decision I made is obvious. Maybe we could all give some thought to the impermanence of life and the impact it might have on how we conduct our lives.

I'm in Cadavedo tonight in an albergue with just 10 beds, but it has room for three mattresses on the floor. It's a full house of 13. Around 3.00pm I had a massive lunch for just a��10. As of 9.00pm I still wasn't hungry. I was toying with the idea of doing a 30km walk tomorrow or split it into two and still stay in an albergue at the 15km mark. I think the 15km walk will win out because of the state of my leg. With any walk, for me it is important to start out knowing the distance I will cover. The mindset is crucial.

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