November 3, 2022. At Valencia, Spain.
Dear Christine. The end is in sight… and so is the beginning.
In many ways this has been a very unique and complex journey for me. Actually, I have been on a number of separate journeys that are tightly woven together. There was my time in Lisbon and Porto. There was the Camino that I walked with Kris, and the Camino without her. There was meeting attorney and mediator Ken and his wife Bambi. I hope that they are well.
There was my time with Lynn who plans to move from New Mexico to Portugal. I continue to wear as an earring the little silver Camino shell that she gave me. There was also my time with Tina who forced me to speak German and to discover that I could.
There were the days in Santiago trying to figure out what to do next: continue to the coast and endure the monsoons, or choose not to be a prisoner to a plan. The example set by a German woman prevailed. There was the down day that I saw myself as alone and invisible. The wisdom of a Belgian woman taught me, “…it’s the adjusting to the feeling which is the most uncomfortable, not the feeling itself.” She was right, and my discomfort was short-lived.
Of course I can’t forget the evening in Santiago with Tom’s friends and their Camino friends.
Throughout it all you and I maintained daily contact, however even that came with a twist. Most of those days found us separated not only by distance, but by time.
Of course, there was “The Decision”. Today I told you of another decision, that I will return for another Camino. When, where, with or without you, children, or grandchildren, all to be decided, fate willing.
My time in Leon, Burgos, Madrid, Toledo, and now Valencia has been another phase to this journey. It ends in two days and another journey begins in Barcelona, shared with you, Wendy, and our Norwegian daughter Hege. Then comes sailing 22 days across the Atlantic.
I freely admit that I do beginnings much better than I do endings. Yesterday, today, and (likely) tomorrow are examples. I am weary of the present “tour”. I could not force myself to visit any museums, churches, or tourist sites. Instead I walked and just enjoyed being. However it appears that for a few coins one can climb to the top of the cathedral tower. That calls to me.
I engaged in some risky behavior today. I saw a barbershop and on an impulse walked in for a haircut.
I pantomimed my instructions to the barber who nodded his understanding, but his eyes said otherwise. Fortunately, his considerable skills prevailed and I walked out with a great haircut that only cost €13.
We and his partner shared a picture and smiles.
Paul the barber (R.I.P.) from Smith Center, Kansas would not have called it risky. I still remember him saying in 2010, “Don’t worry, if I make a mistake, it’ll grow back.“
How could there not be pictures for me to share?…
Not only is my hotel room incredible, but it is located in the heart of the old city within two blocks of the cathedral and main square. It’s a wonderful area.
The old city of Valencia was once surrounded by fortress walls and huge towers that protected the city gates. At least 2 of the towers remain standing.
It’s a tower, there are stairs, and so I climbed it.
Even in November the beach front is beautiful and inviting. I imagine it must be crowded with tanned bodies in the summer.
The temperature hit 76 today and some heartier souls shed most of their clothes to play in the water and on the sand.
Also, this is a cruise destination.
One vendor near the main square has created an interesting twist on ice cream waffle cones. Strange that his customers were only young females.
Sleep well… two nights to go! Love, from Me to You.
PS. Remember I commented that you can no longer tell Americans from Europeans by their shoes and clothing? The same goes for verbal exclamations. It’s common to hear, “Oh my God!“, “Wow!”, or the like, immediately followed by the local language. I’ve done more than a few double takes on hearing such expressions.