This day has been the most challenging day so far. Both in the sense of the emotional side as well as physical.
We had to trek over 8 km of ascent to get the Iron Cross. I spent about an hour there, doing a lot of remembering, a lot of prayers to honor those who have left us.
I wanted to pick a special, less likely to be found area amongst the hundreds of thousands of rocks, tockens and other items left by other pilgrims.
It was very interesting to walk around and see all the things that people had left. From baby booties, to photos, from candles to personal items. Most of the immense mound is made of rocks… Rocks that were left from a variety of locations. Some had names, some had dates, some even had painted scenes or pictures; true art pieces.
Less than one kilometer past the Cruz, spelled in rocks was a strong message ¨Leave it behind¨. Interesting as to the location of that message because it was about then that the old ¨water tap¨came on strong…
The physical side of the day was hard enough climbing up to the cross, but oh – – the walk down was so difficult. Mostly very unyielding road with loads of rocks and a difficult incline. Match that with a cold wind and drizzle, it just was truly challenging.
I thanked my boots many times when I knew that if it wasn´t for the stability my boots offered, my ankles would be a lot worse for wear. My knees feel like they are on fire, and my glutes are not far behind (not pun intended).
I wonder if the placement of the cross wasn´t purposely chosen to make pilgrims truly feel not only emotional but physical challenges!
But all is well… I have time to rest tonight, WIFI at the albergue so I don´t have to go anywhere… I can´t download any of my camera pics, so those will have to wait, but all in all, the most difficult day but I am still happier than ever to be on this journey.