Day 4, Oct 2: Obanos to Monjardin, 20mi

Today I walked most of the Way with my little group of French friends – Florence and I had walked together before, and then she added a gal named Melanie, an older gentleman named Pascal (newly retired), and a younger man named Anrique (Ahn-reek).  All spoke a little English and wanted to practice (as I want to practice my Spanish when the opportunity presents itself).  It’s a nice break for me to speak English and be patient with others as they try, instead of the other way around when I am using my Spanish.  Patience and acceptance are great barrier-breakers, even amongst a very big barrier of not speaking the same language.  Amazing how we are all so very similar, in spite of language, though.

This group was fun, kept the pace going (though we did stop a few times for breaks, food, and to explore two churches), and made the day more interesting.  They all loved to pick fruit along the way.  Every few minutes someone was knocking an apple off a tree, or picking up a bunch of grapes that had fallen from a vine – then would pass it around or offer it to anyone in our group.  I was thinking these people were just always hungry, but then Florence told me it’s a real treat and fun for them to find ripe fruit seemingly everywhere here, because at least where she is from in France, the weather is not very conducive to growing fruits.  So, I benefitted from a lovely ripe apple, I tried grapes off the vine for the first time (they were careful to not pick from private vineyards), and I tried a fresh fig for the first time.  I have only ever had dried figs (which I love).  I’m not a huge fruit-person, but this was fun!

Rain hit us around 11:15am.  It was pretty hard, and we pulled out all our rain gear, then ducked inside a cafe instead.  We stayed, drinking cafes and looking at our maps, for about an hour, then they decided to head on.  I needed to re-pack my bag after pulling out my rain gear, and while doing so I pulled the head off my Camelback valve, so water began pouring out!  I kind of freaked out and grabbed the nozzle to hold it closed.  Fortunately I saw the valve head on the floor, and was able to re-attach it with no problem.   The group left, and I said I’d probably be able to catch up with them later.  I really kind of liked that they told me they were going, but didnt feel the need to wait on me while I was wrestling with my gear.  My gear, my time, not their time.  It was all very genuine and honest and matter-of-fact.  And I did end up catching up with them about an hour later, when they stopped for a rest.  We all had muddy shoes, and were a little damp from the rain, but very fortunate it didn’t rain hard on us for long.

I left them at a cafe after we all had sandwiches around 3pm. I walked a few hours more, arriving in a lovely small town called Monjardin at the top of a pretty big climb, so it had great views of the vineyards which surrounded it.  There was a small, cozy albergue there, privatetly run by a Christian group of women (unsure of which group).  An American volunteer who was working there for 2 weeks showed me to my room, and was excited that I was from Boulder because she (from Texas) used to vacation there a lot.

I missed the group dinner (it was starting just about when I arrived), so I ate at a local cafe which also provided the standard 3-course Pilgrim’s meal, and met another woman from France.  She didn’t speak any English, nor me any French, as you know, but it amazed me how we communicated and connected over dinner – we drew some pictures on the placemats, and used hand gestures and facial expressions, while speaking in our own native languages that  neither of us understood the words, but again, it wasn’t such a barrier.

I had a top bunk tonight!  Not ideal, but then again…there is no one above you to toss and turn.  There are always people snoring, though….zzzzzz I have been sleeping pretty good, fortunately, because Im so tired at night!

Thanks for reading!

Backpacks, shoes, and poles in the Obanos albergue entrance, waiting for their owners to finish breakfast

Backpacks, shoes, and poles in the Obanos albergue entrance, waiting for their owners to finish breakfast

Muddy shoes and poles - not too bad considering how much sticky mud there is when it rains. So far we are very fortunate with the temperate weather.
Muddy shoes and poles – not too bad considering how much sticky mud there is when it rains. So far we are very fortunate with the temperate weather.

Who put that there?  It was a sign to take some moments to think about and pray for my husband.  And smile because - really, all the way out here there is his name right by a way-mark?!  :)

Who put that there? It was a sign to take some moments to think about and pray for my husband. And smile because – really, all the way out here there is his name right by a way-mark?! :)

This "wine fountain" was put here many years ago (it probably looked different then!) to sustain thirsty Pilgrims.  Bodegas Irache is a winery and they have this wine dispenser in place, with a few "rules" but it's pretty much on the honor system. They provide up to 100 liters of wine per day.  ..Yes, I tried it!

This “wine fountain” was put here many years ago (it probably looked different then!) to sustain thirsty Pilgrims. Bodegas Irache is a winery and they have this wine dispenser in place, with a few “rules” but it’s pretty much on the honor system. They provide up to 100 liters of wine per day. ..Yes, I tried it!

French Group!  Melanie (L), Florence (Middle), Anrique (R).  None of them knew each other before the Camino, either.

French Group! Melanie (L), Florence (Middle), Anrique (R). None of them knew each other before the Camino, either.

 

One Response to “Day 4, Oct 2: Obanos to Monjardin, 20mi”

  1. Molly Briggs says:

    Yay Whit! I figured out how to comment. Missing you but you are great at sending us updates!
    Say a prayer for Al LeBlang and Pat. Patty died on Friday morning which was Al’s birthday — but partly a blessing because his brother was here and he had just said some lovely things at our birthday party the day before about Pat, and she was there. And she just quietly slipped away.
    Love to you!!
    -Molly

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