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Friday, October 16, 2015

Our Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain

Here is my first attempt at sharing our wonderful trip walking 12 days 189 miles along an ancient pilgrimage route in Northern Spain called "Camino de Santiago" or the Road of Saint James. It was an incredible trip with no injuries to report. Our shoe fitting at REI proved paramount to any success. My wife Patty and I trained for 15 months, with long walks almost every weekend. Since I am not a walker, so initially 3 miles seemed a lot. We gradually built up to 18 miles, although nothing can really prepare you for 16 miles a day, day after day. My wife and I used a travel company called MacAdventures to arrange our hotel stays (always nice) and baggage transfer (so only a day pack). It was incredible to accomplish through exercise something great, have hours to meditate (I spent a day alone thinking of my dad who passed last year), experience a deep rooted Spanish cultural tradition, meet people from all around the world (some who will remain friends), be in nature with incredible diversity of landscape, enjoy great food and wine everywhere even in small villages, and have time away from life, great but forever hectic (and this was a remarkable break from normalcy shared with your fellow pilgrims). What we learned is vast, but one special point rings loud. Everyone has their own Camino which is very special to them. It does not matter if you walk, bike, or even drive the Camino. It does not matter if you use taxis and buses at times. It does not matter if you have a back pack or a day pack. It does not matter if you do it all at once, or in sections (we did Stages I and II of the Camino Frances). It only matters that you experience what the Camino has in store for you and be open to what it teachs. My wife and I each had our own Caminos, yet we have an incredible shared experience. We are eager to finish the remaining 311 miles to Santiago de Compostela or just Santiago, but it may be in a few years due to family circumstances. 

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