Last week I finished the first section of my Camino pilgrimage. 12 days, 272km (I had to take a cab the last few km in order to catch my bus), Saint Jean Pier de Port France to just shy of Burgos Spain.
The Camino de Santiago is known as the Way of St. James. While there are many routes, the most traveled is through Northwest Spain to the city of Santiago where tradition has it the remains of Saint James lie. The pilgrimage was very popular during the middle ages and while less so for several centuries is now growing again.
Here are some of my highlights and memories from this trip. I didn’t have time to make it all the way to Santiago, but have plans to return in a few years.
*Starting my pilgrimage with my mother and friend. Being reminded where I get my stubborn determination.
*Crossing the Pyrenees (1420 meters)
*Daily stops for a delicious needed snack in a small village bar.
*While I didn’t make any new lifelong friends or talk to anyone person for very long, I really enjoyed the sense of community. It walk into a hostal or bar after a long stretch and see people I “know”.
*And the conversations with those I did talk to for a while… Angelica from Hamburg. Gunter from Heidelberg. The new priest from Canada. The Croat who lives in Belgium and recently sold his company for millions but is very unhappy. Bernie from Australia who has been to base camp and biked across the US.
*Visiting dozens of beautiful churches but seeing God in a field of poppies.
*Hours of walking by fields of wildflowers, wine vineyards, and wheat fields. Understanding the phrase “Amber waves of grain” as it looks like the ocean in the breeze
*A glass of local wine in the afternoon sitting in the main town square with a book after a long day.
*Being wished Buen Camino by a local. Having them see you, recognize your journey and to wish you well.
*The simplicity of my days…get up, eat, walk, rest/eat, walk, stop, rest, shower, eat (maybe), sleep.
*The kindness of strangers. And what a little gesture can mean to your day.
*Pilgrims dinner with 3 Italians, 2 French women, 2 Germans, and a Spanish woman who has lived in Germany all her life.
*Watching a Spanish airshow practice in Logrono.
Buen Camino! I hope to finish up in 2020.