Saturday, April 16, 2011

Camino Update

Hola a todos! This update is coming from the inside of the Burgos bus station. I have a couple hours to kill and its in the thirties outside (and its also 8:00 in Spain meaning nothing is open), so here I sit in the station bar with a cafe con leche in hand. I realize updates from me have been scarse lately so I thought I would undertake the tedious task of typing up a blog on my kindle while I wait.

So what am I doing in a bus station anyway? Well I am taking a small break from my denouncement of all means of transportation outside of walking to go visit friends in Cantabria where I lived for a year. Burgos is almost directly under Santandr so it makes for a good time to pop up there.

I will tell you though that I had a hard time deciding to stop walking for the weekend. After almost 250km walking you would think taking a breather would be a nobrainer, but surprisingly it wasnt. One of the biggest hang ups was that I will basically lose all of the people I have been walking with or spending my evenings with. Each day I meet new people but I have been with some people since the beginning. I was surprised how hard it was to say goodbye last night to the retired Sevillian couple I have been with for the last week.

It is easy to get close to people on the Camino de Santiago. On the Camino we are all already somehow connected. It is not everywhere where you can begin a conversation with a stranger over the meaning of life. I also find it strange how what I thought was going to be largely an exercise in solitude has been instead one of the most beautiful expressions of community.

Anyway along the way I had already had a discussion with a Basque woman I met about how the camino is like life in that people come in and out of your path. I call it the catch and release principle. Its a valuable thing to learn, even if on Monday when I put the feet back on the trails I deeply miss some people.

OK but dont get the wrong impression. The Camino is not all meditation on the the deep meanings of life. I've laughed everyday. Ive seen some of the most impressive Cathedrals and monasteries. Ive eaten homeade Sevillian, French Canadian, and (two!) Italian dinners. Ive had coffee with people from five continents at the same time. We have proved that sin vino no hay camino (its good for the muscles!).

Im quite positive its been one of the most beautiful things Ive ever done.

Now to answer some questions (feel free to send me an email or leave a comment and ill try to answer them next time I update):

I try to walk between twenty and twenty five km a day. Some day a little less to rest, some days more because of where the towns fall.

The pilgrim hostels so far have been well above acceptable, some have been excellent. The most expensive one has been ten euros. Five is average and many are donations only. They sleep anywhere from twelve to over a hundred. Only one cold shower so far. No bed bugs yet. Ear plugs and a sleeping mask (thanks Fylenia!) have been invaluable.

I joined the blister club two days ago. I also might have performed impromptu roadside blister surgery Thursday with a saftey pin. Yep. The Camino is not glamerous.

The ankles are shredded. Ive been wearing my brace, got some psydo-icyhot and have started taking some anti-inflamatories. The pain was bad the last two days but I had enough tricks up my sleeve to get myself through...even if I did contemplate sitting in the road and crying at on point. (It also cemented my plan to take a mini break.)

Weather has been varied. The first week was HOT. In the 90s with no shade. Then it rained for two days. And its almost freezing here in Burgos.

My pack weighs about eight and a half kilos with water and food. I barely feel it anymore.

OK, so there is a semi and varied update to tide you all over till next time. Hasta pronto!


Sandy said...

So proud of you! Dad wants to know how early you start out and about what time do you finish for the day.

Sandy said...'ve walked the equivalent of all the way to Abilene