Day 27: a cold morning

As always, it took me a lot of time in the morning to prepare my bag and start walking.

I’m not the fastest man during the earliest hours of the day, but I usually make up for it once the walk actually begins.

Breakfast was very good and filling, and I was a bit sad to leave the excellent ryokan where I stayed last night. Alas, the walk must go on.

The Sun slowly pushed away the low clouds.

The day was cold. For the first time, I had to use my long-sleeve shirt and long pants. At the beginning, I could have even used some gloves.

After one hour, however, the Sun rushed in and started to warm up the air. It was a welcome change, indeed.

My legs were feeling pretty “heavy” though. I took one extra break and ate some chocolate in order to muster all my energy for the upcoming climb.

This time the choice was easy. Either take the tunnel (25′) or climb the hill (60′). Screw the tunnels, a pilgrim belongs to the woods.

Quite surprisingly, the uphill path reawakened my muscles. Abandoning the asphalt road and walking in the forest cheered me up and I started to feel better, both physically and mentally.

When I started to go down, I began to sing some scout songs. When I finished those, I picked up some “extra” songs from my repertoire. Mainly old stuff, songs I still remember by heart like Lili Marleen.

It really helped my pace and morale.

These stores are so important that they are open from 10:00 to 25:00. You can always find an extra hour in your day for a good “cultural” DVD, I guess.

Before reaching Ōzu, today’s goal, I met Lieve on the way and had a somewhat disappointing meal. It was bound to happen at some point, as I continue to pick random items on the menu.

Tomorrow I will head inland for another 25 Km and get ready to reach the 44th temple on the next day. The weather looks good, but I still don’t know if I should go “winter mode” or not.

It’s been 26 days since I started my o-henro. The same amount of time it took me to finish the Camino, three years ago. I have walked much less than that, this time around, and today I finally came to the conclusion that the more comparisons I draw between the two walks, the less I will enjoy this pilgrimage.

So I will force myself to stop doing that, and focus only on the road ahead. One step at a time.