A lovely short day today. The route continued along the canal and the beautiful gentle countryside. The song birds were out again, cookoos, wrens woodpeckers. I could hear frogs too and other delicious creatures.
I started as usual without breakfast, because I like to walk first in the early hours as much as I can and have some coffee around 9 am. After about an hours walking a bumped into Gretta, a diminutive delightful lady from Bulgaria travelling on her own. Her English was pigeon but we still managed to communicate. She was an engineer working in the main observatory in Bulgaria near her home town in the centre of the country. We spoke about the delights of her country and how she felt it had gone downhill since joining the euro, but according to her not as down hill as Greece! Her son lived in London as a telecoms engineer with his partner and young children. Her face lit up as she told me how much she was looking forward to seeing them in July. I felt a slight pang as I remembered my children and how they had made no contact in 2 weeks. We spent about an hour together then we parted company because I decided to explore a cafe about 100 m off track, in the hope I would be able to get a coffee there. The cafe was part of an albergue on a farm with wigwams dotted around and absolutely no one inside or out. I ventured inside to find a large table laid with hot coffee, bread butter, jam and a little donation box on the side. Well I thought it would be a waste not to have any. I did feel a bit like goldilocks and was waiting for the three bears to make an entrance, but they didn't. I deposited my donation and left for the trail.
My right foot blister was playing up a bit, so I was slow and solo. In the distance I recognised a pair of yellow orange trainers and walking poles. As I suspected it was Jose from Argentina who was at the pelegrino dinner 2 nights before. He recognised me and we began to chat. He could speak virtually no English, but he understood Italian. He mentioned that he had two adult children and had been working in Barcelona for the last 23 years, but had spent most of his youth in Argentina in Buenos Aries. His grandfather had emigrated to Argentina from Italy in 1939 along with many other Italians who fled Italy during the second world war. He spoke mainly Catalan Spanish, which as it turned out has close links with French. So we invented a kind of Franco Italiano Spagniolo lingo. We walked to the end of the stage together for which I was really grateful as it helped to keep my mind off my burning blisters.
The albergue was right next door to Saint Clara church. It was an oasis of calm when we arrived at 11am, but the place soon filled up as I suspected it would. This time it didn't seem to matter though, the courtyard was still a tranquil haven and after I said a prayer in the church, this is where I spent most Of my time.
At long last I feel like I am beginning to really relax, almost as if the Camino has taken over my psyche. I can't believe it's taken me two weeks to get there, but at last I have. I am going to leave the race mentality behind, it's just not that important anymore.