Camino de Santiago – Excerpt: Pamplona to Burgos
I have found the solution for spending a month in Spain eating jamón bocadillos and pinchos (tapas) every other day: hike the Camino de Santiago.
If you happen to be in a reflective mood, transition phase of your life, perhaps sans job, this might also be a good place for you. Spain in general would actually; the pace of life is slower with siestas everyday from 2-5pm. I love this country.
Ten days of hiking provides many hours of thinking and fits in well with my current hobo lifestyle. Walking 12 to 18 miles a day will take a toll on you, and sometimes your knee gives out and you have to take a taxi to the next town (eek!). This hike is something that I will complete in my lifetime over multiple trips to Spain, a great excuse to return! This “excerpt” was about 25% of the total distance – 500 miles (cue The Proclaimers)!
I met many individuals and couples who were hiking the Camino in one trip, and they were trying to finish in Compostela de Santiago in less than 40 days. Remarkable! There were also so many pilgrims who were walking alone. As outlined in my previous post on solitude, this would never work for me. Thankfully, I had many laughs with my family and friends (Tio Andy, Lori/Mammacita, Antonio, & Dominique/Frenchie) on the journey with me along with people from all over the world who we met along the way – one of my favorite aspects of hiking the Camino. Eating dinner and drinking lots of red wine with strangers sometimes makes for a slow morning the following day!
Following the yellow arrows and shells from tiny village to village to big city is an incredible way to see Spain. I started the trek from Pamplona, but most peregrinos (pilgrims) begin the Camino Frances route at the bottom of the French Pyrenees in St. Jean, France. You hike up and down the mountains to Pamplona in 4-5 days. This is where I will begin again next time!
A few themes from my trek across northern Spain
- Less Is Mas: I thought I conveniently consolidated down my life/wardrobe/bathroom into one large pack and small pack for my Sabbatical. That was wrong! For the Camino, I took one small pack with two changes of clothes, toothpaste, and camera. Alternative theme name here is ‘that long sleeve blue shirt & green hoodie’! Can I burn them yet?
- Un Café Solo: Pre-SFL, I looked forward to Fridays, long weekends, and seeing my nieces. During-Camino, I looked forward to the next village for an espresso. It’s all about perspective. What you think you need now, give it a day or a mile, and maybe you’ll realize it was just a want.
- One More Step: A good friend of mine put it in my head that we all have the ability to take one more step – on a hike and in life. Despite the physical pain…or mental pain…or emotional pain…that no doubt comes up on the hike, taking one more little step will eventually get you there. And it doesn’t matter how big they are or how slow the cadence or what everyone else around you is doing, it matters what you do and how you do it.
- God Is Good: Everyone has their own path in life that brings them to the Camino. Sharing pieces of my story with those walking and hearing others’ stories brought both tears and healing. There was no shortage of laughter and love, too. Grace is evident when you are all alone under the biggest, bluest skies surrounded by fields of yellow flowers for miles yet near other pilgrims taking their own one more step.