Bluntly, two weeks walking on the Camino de Santiago seemed like forever. Blisters, tears, feelings, injuries, cramps, queso. But in the end, too much beauty. And I only completed about one-fourth of the trek on the Camino Francés – the popular route of the Camino de Santiago. From Wikipedia: “…It runs from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles on the Spanish side and then another 780km on to Santiago de Compostela through the major cities of Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos and León. A typical walk on the Camino Francés takes at least four weeks, allowing for one or two rest days on the way.” Almost 500 miles total, walking, slowly w-a-l-k-i-n-g.
I was invited to join four other yeasties (inside joke (what, this is my journal!)) to walk the part from Pamplona to Burgos. JP, Tio Andy, Lori and Frenchie. I thought we might complete the entire walk to Santiago de Compostela, I thought it would be just a little challenging, I thought my perfect feet would get at least one little blister. I was wrong three times.
This was a typical day:
- Wake up at 7:30AM because Frenchie had to get started drinking the first of her ten daily café solos. That is not a joke.
- Drink café, buy a loaf of pan, queso, jamón and chorizo for a snack later but eat some of it for breakfast.
- Walk to the next town, stop for café, pan, queso, jamón, chorizo (you see where this is going?) From now on I will call this CPQJC.
- After CPQJC lunch, find a baño, keep walking in awe of the beautiful sites.
- Arrive to the destination for the day, after walking 12 to 18 miles, find that all of your 60+ year old friends have showered, washed their clothes, painted a portrait of their grand children and are exclaiming (with red wine in hand): “I thought you all left before us?!” They were all going to complete the entire walk in one trip. Respect.
- Decide where to walk to the next day, call ahead for a hotel.
- CPQJC dinner, get your sello on your credencial (passport stamped) and sleep.
- Repeat and be sure to follow the yellow arrows!
The best part about the Camino is that everyone has a different version/plan/experience. There are really no rules or set agendas. Well, other than what Spanish law dictates. The best, best part was the people. This really changed my perspective on traveling alone. I do like traveling alone but I think I like traveling with people more. As long as you travel with the right people. We really had a lot of fun, almost non-stop laughing.
The big take away was for me to understand patience vs indifference. Some things need to wait; they need to be saved for another day. Also, some things need to come to an end. Other things need to be decisively confronted. The best, best, best part, is that I am going to finish the Camino someday, so I will be back to France and Spain at least two more times in my life! Hopefully with people as lovely as this crew! Maybe JP will get a smaller, less saggy bag next time, baaaaahahaha!
Of course I took 1,000 pictures, check out a few more of my Camino Snaps.