Baby Cows Suck

Tuesday, October 6 – Day 28

Since I only had about 18k to go today, I had lazy breakfast and was out the door by 8:45. It was a beautiful morning. The forecast said it wouldn’t rain until 3, so if that was true I would be fine.

I did have a bit of a disheartening moment, though, when the forecast said it was supposed to rain on my days over the Pyrenees. That could change, though, it’s still a week away. If I hadn’t stopped for a day and kept up with Claire, it would have been sunny for sure. But, I can’t dwell on “what ifs” because my camino is going exactly how it’s supposed to go.

Right after town, there was this lovely bench and overlook. I stopped for a few minutes, because how often do you get a chance to sit and look at the Pyrenees? It’s really too bad they don’t show up very well in the pictures, because even at this distance they’re pretty amazing.

I have absolutely no regrets of only going 18k today. Unless my feet somehow get better, I think I will use every single extra day I have. Maybe not so many total rest days, but definitely some shorter days. I really think I might have stress fracture at least in my right foot. I keep thinking back to the first few weeks from Le Puy to Conques, and how good I felt and how invulnerable my feet were. That was lifetimes ago, and it’s just not the same.

Today took me up out of the corn and into the rolling hills. I don’t know if they’re foothills yet, but pre-foothills? Anyway, it was definitely more hills than I’ve had lately, and even though the downhills were fairly gentle, I felt every step. I’m not looking forward to going down the Pyrenees. Thankfully the uphill is longer than the downhill.

It was a beautiful day, and very windy. The kind of wind that definitely promised to bring rain. I took it probably slower than I should have, but it was a very nice day.

These days that I’ve had by myself have let me do a lot of thinking. I still don’t know what I want to do. There are so many things that I could do, and I think I could be happy doing them. I just want to do the right thing, whatever that is. Maybe it doesn’t matter? It would be nice if something grabbed me and said, “YES this is what you want to do,” and feel super passionate about it. But maybe it’s just not in me to feel passionate about a profession. I do want my life to have meaning, but that doesn’t have to come through the job path I choose. I don’t know. It would also be nice if I could pick something where I could move forward with the schooling I have and not have to redo a lot. The past few days I’ve been thinking about Law School, but do I really want to be a lawyer? I don’t know. Maybe there’s a type of law out there I would enjoy. Maybe studying for the L-Sat would be fun! Or not.

Before coming on the Camino, I watched the documentary “Six Ways to Santiago,” probably 3-4 times. It follows 6 different people going from St. Jean to Santiago. They all go through a period in the middle where they’re in pain and have all kinds of problems and wonder if they’ll make it all the way. I think that’s where I am now. 1000 miles sounds like a good idea, but then reality starts catching up with you and you think, “500 miles is really far. I still have more than that to go.” The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. The feet especially. It’s really not super bad yet, but I do hope I can make it the whole way. I really want to. I hope my body cooperates.

I’m pretty sure I hit a milestone today. 1,000,000,000 steps. I think by the end it’s supposed to be around 2.4 million.

The nice thing about today is that I got to see lots of little churches.

I got into Larreule right before 2. I went a little out of my way to see the 12th century abby church. I don’t know if the abbey is still around, but it was cool to see the church. So small, but it has the vesper’s chairs, up in the balcony.

I hobbled into my gîte, which is also a pilgrim rest stop. My heart almost stopped when I saw (snoring woman) sitting at the table. I was so glad when she said she had a reservation elsewhere. She is a very nice woman, and it’s not her fault she snores! The hostess told me I was in the dortoir tout seul!! All by myself. I had been worried about reserving in a 12 bed dormitory, but I guess it worked out.

Not the gîte, but I liked the gables on this house.
Not the gîte, but I liked the gables on this house.

The hostess is Patricia. I was sitting at the table when she started shelling 10 lbs of beans, so I helped her.

Then the cat came to help, and I can’t even begin to try spelling her name. Chateauia? She’s very pretty.

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Patricia gave me some hot chocolate, with milk from their cows, and asked if I wanted to go see the farm with her at 5:30.

It was raining, but I went anyway. I changed into my pants and rolled them up to the knee. Farms and rain = mud. They have 80 cows.

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We went to go feed the ducks. They looked kind of nasty. Then herded the ducks into the shelter.

Then we went to feed the pigs, and the horses came to say hi, too.

Then we went to see the baby cows!! One of the farm hands was bottle feeding a baby. Then Patricia grabbed my hand and stuck it in a baby cow’s mouth. Holy cow, it was the awesomest thing ever. She was sucking on my hand like crazy. I felt horribly guilty for not having any milk come out of my fingers. If you have never had a baby cow suck on your hand, I highly recommend it. Then my hand was covered in baby cow saliva.

Then we went to see the automated milking machine. Holy cow, that thing is amazing, too! I was talking to Alain at dinner about how it works. It’s totally automated. The cow walks in to the stall and gets a tasty cake. The milker reads the code on the collar and if the cow hasn’t been milked recently then it milks it. The sensors find the nipples and attach the hoses. One cow can be milked every 8 hours. He said it’s very expensive, but the machine works all day and on weekends, and a boy only works 5 days a week.

Then we had dinner. It was just me and the family. I wish I’d taken a picture. We had soup, the mutton and the beans we shelled earlier. Then we also had cheese and a little cake, but I didn’t get a picture of that.

After dinner, before the two kids could go play on the computer, they had to ask me questions in English and I had to ask them questions in English. The 12 year old girl was hilarious, telling her mom, “shut up I am speaking very excellent English now.” She asked how many brothers and sisters I had, and the brother asked what their names were. I asked favorite colors and favorite subjects in school, to which the responses were, “red,” and, “I hate school.”

It was hilarious. Then they ran out the door to have their computer time.

My feet might hurt, but I’m sure having some cool experiences.

This map actually had Dayton on it, so the dot is covering it.  Today I am from Dayton.

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9 Comments

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  1. What an awesome day! The family you stayed with sounds really nice!

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  2. What a nice day you had and what a wonderful evening on the farm. I kept wondering about the baby cows, but it was worth waiting for. Wow, what a cool experience—and those kids asking and answering questions in “very excellent English.” How very fun.

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  3. So fun! I wonder if Dad ever had a baby cow suck on his hand.
    I laughed at the “I hate school.”

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  4. Perhaps instead of the ONE BEST THING you can do, you need a range of a few things, like 3 or 4, which are equally possible and enjoyable.
    I wouldn’t recommend law school at the moment–too many graduates (most of whom couldn’t figure what they wanted to do, so they went to law school) and not enough jobs to go around.
    Maybe you should open a bed and breakfast somewhere.
    Keep those feet healthy!

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  5. I wonder if Patricia frequently sticks guests’ hands in baby cows’ mouths.

    Maybe you could do something else in the wildlife/conservation area. That seems most like a Betsey sort of thing to me. 🙂

    I hope you have some good viewing weather going over the Pyrenees!

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  6. So jealous! I love baby cows.

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  7. Oh, Betsey! You do have great experiences! Sorry about your foot pain though. That sucks about as hard as a baby cow!
    I have been listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, called Big Magic. She suggests that instead of stressing ourselves out trying to conjure up a big passion to pursue, try just asking, “What interests me? What do I want to learn more about?” Follow your curiosity and see where it leads you. (It’s sure worked for her!)

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  8. It’s so hard to know what to do with our lives sometimes! I felt led to Accounting but definitely yearn for a profession that I’m more passionate about. Psychology maybe. But I didn’t realize how much I liked psychology until I was an accountant…go figure! In the meantime, my Accounting degree allows me to support us comfortably until Cody gets through school. There’s a time and season AND reason for all our life phases. Sometimes it doesn’t make much sense till later. Hoping you find more clarity as time passes!

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