Reflections – What the Camino Taught me
Today is the start of the last week of our Camino. We leave the town of O’Cebreiro with 7 walking days until Santiago. In two days we reach Sarria, the last town in which you can start the Way to earn your Compostela. Once there it is said to get busier and the mood of the Camino changes once you reach there.
My First Camino Reflection
So my plan is to review this post and reflect again in a week.
A month ago I would never have believed I could sleep in a room with 80 other people. I’ve stayed in a private Albergue nicer than some hotel rooms. And some hotel room I would have run screaming from in the past (I’ve stayed in some sketchy places).
We have walked all kinds of paths and surfaces. From simple dusty dirt paths, city sidewalks, slippery shale mountainsides, to potato stone and chunky rocks paths that are ankle eaters. There are gentle country roads and along the sides of super hi-ways. I can say they all have their pro’s and con’s but the ankle eaters are the worst.
There is a little bit of a “hobo” culture by being a pilgrim. We have to be out each morning between 8 & 10 am each morning and on the move to the next town. Some people are up and out around 5 am. We usually get up with the plan to be walking between 7 & 7:30. Unless you have doctors note you can’t stay in an Albergue more than one night. Some people are good about trying to stay quiet and some are just bulls in a china shop.
There are people who do it on the cheap, pay for as little as possible including not leaving a donation in the places where that is the only cost. I have heard some skip out on bills or eat whats left on other peoples plates. There are those who only sleep in hotels and book them days in advance. Most of the rest of us just do what we can to find a place to stay and pay what is required. Only once so far have we reached a town and been turned away because they were full. That night was a hotel which is always alright with me.
So far I’ve only had neutral or better experiences with people and most have been very positive. We have had a few locals drop everything and help us find where or who we were looking for. I have had a few who are a bit cold when first met but warm up when I make an attempt to speak the language. I’m sure I have been given a dirty look or two from other pilgrims but I choose not to remember those.
The landscape has been pretty much everything we could encounter, except desert and beachside (but not a lot of marshes either). The Meseta was surprisingly the hardest. Even being flat the beating sun, the flat boring farmland and pounding on our feet made me ache every day. I have liked the last few days the best so far. The mountains have been hard but more interesting. But, I’m sure I could not have done it without the conditioning of the previous weeks.
Wifi has sometimes been hard to find the last few days or I’m just too tired to think. Today I carried this as an open notepad and typed when I had a rest. Somedays those have been far and few between as well.
Until next time, Buen Camino!