After seven days of walking el Camino, my perspective has changed a lot. I have admired picturesque views more majestic than my imagination could conjure. I’ve met people from many backgrounds, each with a compelling story and an offer of personal truth. I’ve learnt about the logistics of the Camino – how to find a bed, when to change my socks, how to order coffee, where to put my shoes at night. But I’ve also started to realise the power of this road. After only seven days of walking, I find myself invested, committed, and almost addicted to the steady crunch of the path underfoot.
As I ‘ve stepped past cereal fields and vineyards, along paths of sand, mud and stone, my mind has begun to expand into the wide open spaces around me. Sometimes the space is daunting, like a too-big balloon about to be popped. Sometimes the calm and quiet is comforting. And sometimes, the space forces me to go to places in my mind that I’d rather avoid. So naturally, with all this time to think, to walk, to just keep on stepping forward, I’ve had a few little realisations to humble my ego and confront my urge to stay in control.
At first the Camino was like a walk in a very pretty park. Day one offered wind turbines, yellow canola fields, fresh farmland, a ‘Buen Camino’ every five minutes and a jug of sangria in the afternoon sun. But, as the days ticked over and the kilometres fell behind, my daily existence became streamlined (walk, water, food, sleep) and the white noise faded, leaving little distraction from my inner monologue.
First I realised that the challenge of the way would be in the repetition; each day I must rise early and walk, regardless of mood or weather. Then I was reminded that the world is made of all types, all valid and necessary (and many of whom are represented in a 40 bed peregrino dormitory). Then sad news from home haunted my walk, making me feel very far away from my past life, my family, my blood. And during the past two days, with Dave’s knee refusing to play nice, I was reminded that the Camino leads the way, not me, and my journey cannot be planned, only followed with an open heart and mind.
Now, after two days of not walking, after a bus from Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Burgos, and after a confusing but productive adventure to a Spanish hospital, I am preparing for the next stage of my Camino – the solo road. Disappointingly, Dave’s knee remains sprained and in need of bed rest, so I will be taking on the next four days on my own, before joining him via bus to Leon. Sad as I am to leave him holed up in a hotel room (even a nice one with hot water and no bunk beds), I am excited to be going out on my own again (my default travel mode) and exploring the Camino from the perspective of solo female pilgrim.
I have no doubt the way will offer me plenty more insights as I adjust to being alone again (after five months of partnered travel) and walk about 70km across the Spanish Meseta.
To read more about my Camino journey, check out my recent posts about starting el Camino, my first two days and a photo walk.
To keep an eye on my daily journey, be sure to follow me at www.facebook.com/NicFreemanTravel and on Twitter.
13 thoughts on “7 Days walking el Camino de Santiago, Spain”
I have been planning to walk the Camino for years now, but the time has just never been right, so I am very much enjoying your posts. It’s giving me motivation to get myself in gear and make it happen sooner than later. Be well in your journey!
Awesome! Love the photos. I watched the movie “The Way” with Martin Sheen about walking the road, and my friend and I have plans to organize a trip. Thanks for posting this, and I will be watching your progress 🙂
Hey MissJJ, Thanks for reading. The Camino is a pretty amazing journey. A Spanish man the other day described it as ‘walking through the book of life’. It offers much more than you bargained for, mentally, emotionally, physically, but it well worth it.
I’ve just checked into Leon after walking 80kms through the stunning Meseta. Stay tuned for my stories – it was an interesting few days.
Sorry about the difficulties of various sorts. I loving following along with your accounts and photos here. Can’t wait to read about how your 4 days of solo walking go.
Hi Nic, Hope you are doing good. Well, it’s a dilemma, sometimes I wonder, your landscapes pics are better, or the portrait, which you sketch with your words. Looking forward to both…:-) Take care.
Hiya Nic, I’m finally catching up on reading your lovely blog! As always I am very jealous about your adventures this year. I hope Dave is resting up well, and that you are enjoying slow, solo travels through Spain. Please drink some sangria for me! Ruth x
Hey Ruth, Thanks for checking in 🙂 I can’t wait to hear about your recent adventures too! Dave is resting up but not improving as quickly as hoped. I’m also a little battered after my solo 80kms in the Meseta… more stories to come soon. Rest assured I will be drinking sangria in the sun for both you and me.
I hope to do this walk next year. It sounds enlightening. I hope you find great companions on your way.
Hey 5GT, thanks for reading / commenting. This is a truly inspiring walk, offering more profound lessons than can be summed up in words. I’ve met some amazing people, for example yesterday, I say for 3 hours talking to a guy from North Carolina US who had walked and cycled around the world, volunteered in the Pacific islands, lived in the Middle East and converted to Buddhism – so great chats about life and lessons to be had with people on the Camino, like him.
Hi Nic. Just thought I’d let you know we were thinking of you today because we too went to see “The Way”. I had to come home and look at all your beautiful photos again. I don’t know how you will come back to reality after all your wonderful travels but I’m sure you’ll be looking forward to some family hugs!! Keep safe and well and hope Dave’s knee recovers soon. Love Kerry
Thanks Kerry. The Way is a world unto its own and I don’t know how I will leave the trail, let alone come back to reality. Thanks for your thoughts, it is always comforting to know well wishes are coming from home. Dave’s knee is slowly improving, but will need a few more days rest at least. Love Nic