Day 17, 18, 19: The Meseta

Alright, I'll admit it: I have cried now on the Camino de Santiago. They say that the Meseta, like its landscape, lays everything bare. Guess I can say I've had the authentic Meseta experience. The Meseta traditionally starts in Fromista. The land is flat, almost treeless, and very, very hot. I think the heat gets to people even more because there isn't much to visually distract you from how you feel. Yes, fields with lone small trees have a striking beauty. But when that's what you're walking across all day, it can get monotonous.

You see other pilgrims break down in ways you don't see on other parts of the Camino. Bugs bites become an issue. One Irish pilgrim had such a bad reaction to Spanish mosquito bites that her arms swelled up in giant welts. She had to go to a doctor and go home. A Finnish pilgrim got stung by something on her face. Her Camino ended as we'll.

It's humbling when the hazards of life become things you can't control.

As we continued across the Meseta, I noticed how Spain's economic problems were "laid bare" her as well, with no romanticism for it to hide behind. In one town, the only patch of green was the grass in the albergue courtyard. The rest of the town could have been a ghost town.

On the way to Terrafillos de Los Templarios, I started to feel sick. The next day, on the way to Bercianos, I thought my stomach would explode. Something was wrong, but I wanted so badly to muscle through. I thought that if I rested and drank enough Gatorade that night, I'd walk again the next day.

But I am not Supergirl.

You remember French Yoda, right? The albergue owner in St. Jean-Pied-De-Port? He had looked at me and good me that I am not Supergirl. I had smiled, nodded. Guess that simple statement feels more real now.

A Dutch couple was cutting their Camino short because the wife hurt her ankle. They were taking a taxi to Leon, the nearest city, where they would fly back to Holland. I could meet Gabriela in Leon and get medicine. Even though it broke my heart, I got in the taxi.

So I cried. I hate to admit it, but I feel like it's important.

Rest and medicine have done me good. Lauren and Ron will arrive in Leon today, and I will continue with them.

The past 24 hours have been hard. I felt like I was weak or stupid, even though I had no control over what happened. I can't say I feel 100% better yet. I can't tie this ending up with a pretty bow and slap a meaning onto it. But I will keep trying to look past myself, and I will keep walking