The Prolonged Camino

Tuesday, October 27 – Day 47

There is only so much one can sleep in a night, even on the camino. I think I slept for 10.5 hours.

I got everything ready and went downstairs a little after 7:30. It was raining outside, and the weather app said it would rain until 11. I wasn’t exactly in a hurry, but I was planning on doing close to another 30k today so I wanted to leave kind of early so I could get in at a good time.

I had some colacao, tortilla, and a pan con chocolate. I ate breakfast with Nat and Barry, and said goodbye to Claire. I headed out at 8:30, and by this time it had stopped raining. I wasn’t sure if it would rain more, so I put my poncho on. It didn’t rain, but it was very cold, and walking into a headwind didn’t make things warmer.

I put the hood of my poncho down, but then the wind whistled right by my ears (and I wasn’t wearing my buff for some reason) and it made my head very cold. When I put the hood up, it acted like a funnel and directed all of the wind into my poncho and down my back. But, it pulled the front and sides of the hood tightly around my head, so it actually made my ears warmer. It felt like slow going, picking my way through the mud and fighting the wind.

The walk led along the floor of the valley. I don’t know what it’s really called. This area reminds me a lot of Wyoming. It’s flat, until it’s not, and then it goes down in canyon type things. You’ve all seen them outside of airplanes, if you can figure out what I’m trying to explain. Finger canyons? I haven’t flown over this area, but I imagine that’s what it looks like from above.

I came to the ruins of an old abbey/hospital, and the road goes right through the front of it. Outside in a van, a man was selling a stamp. He wasn’t really selling a stamp, but he offered a stamp, and was selling some wood carvings on strings for 1.50 E. Of course if you get the stamp, you feel guilty for not buying something. They were really, really pretty bad. Quite awful. But because they were so awful I decided it was rather charming, and this man was obviously trying to make a living. I bought a badly carved shell. It will make a wonderful Christmas ornament with great meaning.

Right after the van, I met Terri, in a bright green poncho. She is from Seattle. We talked a bit about the Camino, and then I saw Claire walk by!

I tried to hurry to catch up, but did not, until we got into the next town. There is an amazing looking castle ruin on top of the hill, and a very old looking Cathedral/church on the way into town. It wasn’t open, but I’m sure it was amazing on the inside.

I spent the rest of the day with Claire, and we had some wonderful conversations and sharing of insights and lessons.

Something I’ve been thinking about since the first time I met Claire again on the way into Burgos, is that the Camino must be so different for those people who only do it in stages. I know that the Camino is different from everyone, and everyone’s camino is different, but the experience of a prolonged camino is not really something that can be explained.

I had said that the Camino is like different lifetimes, and it really is. The Camino itself is like its own mini life journey, but condensed and squeezed into a much shorter timeframe. You have a lot of the same ups and downs, but it’s much more intense. It’s like a little microcosm. It breaks you down and builds you back up, and you learn things that you wouldn’t through any other experience. At this point, having walked for 47 days already, and having 20+ more to go, if I had only walked the Camino Frances, I would not have had the day that I had today. It is demanding, and difficult, and yet it is such a gift. Every day is a gift, and there is so much to learn. I know that people who walk in stages will learn different things, but I can’t imagine doing this any other way. It is truly a unique learning experience, unlike any other, and I can only imagine what else remains. I don’t even know if some of the lessons can be put into words. But I do know that this is exactly where I am supposed to be and I am so blessed to be here. I think it’s like the pain of life. You have to experience pain in order to better appreciate the blessings. I can’t imagine that anyone at the end of their life would want to give up the painful things that shaped them into the person they became. I was naive at the beginning, not realizing how difficult it would be to walk 1000 miles, or what it would be like to carry 20 lbs on my back day after day, or what it would do to my body. But because it is difficult, it will be so much more rewarding.

My badly carved shell will remind me that I’m still a work in progress, and my journey is not over. I still have a lot of rough edges that need work.

We climbed up a very steep hill. A very steep and long hill. I stopped to turn around and take pictures only because I wanted to, and not because I had to. How very blessed I am to be able to do that. 7 years ago I was so sick I never would have dreamed I could do anything like this.

The top of the hill rewarded us with the most beautiful view. One of the most beautiful sights of my whole Camino. People have said the Meseta is flat, dull, and boring, and maybe that’s later, because the only Meseta I have seen is absolutely gorgeous.

There was a small picnic area that we stopped in and had lunch. I had an apple and cookies, and Claire shared some bread and cheese, and more cookies and chocolate. It was a delicious lunch.

Nat and Barry had caught up and had lunch at another table. They are quite entertaining.

Claire has also been having a hard time. The Camino is not a gentle teacher. She is tired and worn out and is at the point where she has to make some decisions in her Camino and what is best for her. When we were at Marinette’s, and I just checked, it was October 2, Claire had mentioned she was getting tired and looking for a place to rest for a day. Here it is 25 days later, which on the Camino is many lifetimes, she has still not taken a rest day. I convinced her to get a room to herself and spend two days in the next town. I looked in my MMDD and found a place that had single rooms for only 12 E. Two nights for 24 E is incredible.

I also decided to stay. It was after 2 pm, and the next town was 8k away. I could have gone on, but staying sounded better. It was a tiring day, and I’ve let myself get behind on my blog again, and it really is hard to pass up my own room for 12 E.

We got some cookies and other food from the supermercado, and decided to make our own dinner of rice and lentils and bread, cream cheese, and peppers.

There are 4 Germans also staying here.  They cooked their own dinner and offered to share with us.

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6 Comments

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  1. A lot more introspection in this one! And you’re right, that was a beautiful view.

    Like

  2. I almost don’t know what to say. This is so beautifully written and heartfelt.

    I too am very glad you are having that wonderful opportunity.

    Like

  3. That was really beautiful. It wouldn’t be the same experience without the hard parts.

    Lovely lighting!

    Like

  4. I love this post. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

    Like

  5. I am glad you have a Claire on your Camino!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Loved your description of the Camino being a microcosm of life. Life truly is a gift and the hard times are so important too, just like you said. And I think the Meseta is beautiful too! Reminds me of the West!

    Like

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