the problem with using my limited Spanish here is that they ANSWER me in Spanish and then I have no idea what they are saying as they think that I know what I am saying. I don’t. Feebly trying.
so a day in the life of a Camino walker?
it starts usually at a time not determined by you. If you are community sleeping, some ambitious person is up rustling about around 5 or 5:30 so that begins to wake everyone up. They is a lot of get up and go in the morning as we have to be out of the alburgues by 8 so that they can clean them for the next round of people. Usually you are out around 7/7:30. Some pilgrims like to walk for a hour or so and get a few kilometers under their belt before stopping for their first cafe con leche. (I still haven’t started drinking coffee but I smell it as often as I can). A priority is the fresh squeezed oj each day. It is like medicine for me. And so we all descend either locally or in the next village on some poor guy in a tiny cafe who looks like he wasn’t anticipating this. Our capitalistic, efficient American culture does not comprende this one. He is one guy making all this stuff for a wave of us. I always wonder why they don’t have more help but hey it’s Spain. So, then I start walking. I need to eat so I try in the town where we are which is not always available. And I never know when the next one is. Or if anything will be open.
so it is chilly and we walk. Sometimes rainy. Stop as often as I can at the cafes and the cathedrals. These places also stamp our pilgrims passports with these unique beautiful stamps of their location to prove where you have been. Within the last 100 miles of Santiago we are required to get two stamps a day in order to get the pilgrim credential at the end. That is the only part that some people do. So the closer we get to Santiago, the more people are joining us. Just learned today that this is a holy year (?) too so numbers are higher. Someone shared that there are currently 800 pilgrims entering Santiago each day right now. Many more by the time I get there. My latest date to get there is June 7th so that I can see Santiago and then get some kind of ride to the ocean at finisterre and muxia to complete this journey. I will stop walking at the cathedral in Santiago. I will make it.
back to the day in the life…so we see a whole lot of country and history and nature and wildlife and people along the way. Snack often. Arrive by 2 usually in the town that we stay overnight in and then people like to shower, figure out the wifi, nap, check out the town, have a beer, start drinking the Rioja wine. I usually get on my bed and put my feet up the wall. Haven’t napped yet. The hiking boots/shoes are left at the door of the place and the one other pair of shoes that you brought are worn. For some it is flip flops, crocs, etc. It is funny walking around the town. It is quite obvious who the pilgrims are. All you have to do is look at their feet as they are wearing socks with flip flops or whatever. It is the give away.
at some point we all emerge from our various abodes to socialize in the bars and then dinner doesn’t open until seven thirty here as the siesta thing happens and shops close in the afternoon. Spain keeps late hours. Pilgrims do not. The alburgues close their doors and it is lights out for us by 10. We all have to do it together.
ear plugs come out, sleeping pills, eye masks, and then there are those lucky tired snoring pilgrims who need nothing and just sleep! I am making it now with just the ear plugs and eye mask.
And so it then begins again…
i feel empowered carrying all that I need on my back. It is not even that heavy now. I LABORED over the decisions about what goes in this backpack (with lots of help) and I am rather pleased with how I did. I did send a few things home last week and I hope that they arrive as the postal system here I was told is questionable. Hmmm. Anyway, I don’t mind carrying it now. I am bonded with my backpack and my walking poles. It is always a challenge trying not to forget the poles at each stop! It happens.
so I am including a pic of this sweet Australian gal who has walked in her moms second pair of shoes/the evening ones for a week now due to her blisters from boots. And the black pantyhose are to hold on her bandages. I told her that Birkenstock needs to know her story…they would be proud of their product.
i made the right shoe decision. No boots. Trail hiking/running shoes. The blisters that people have are from boots. That was another decision I labored over. I went through four pairs of shoes trying to decide. I am so please that I did though. One either laboratory BEFORE the Camino or they labor DURING the Camino. I see people laboring over the shoe thing in each town at these tiny sporting good stores that they sometimes have for us. I am so glad I am not shopping.
also each day I carry one of you with me. If you are reading this, you likely will have a day where I think of you during the day. Thank you for your support, encouragement, and love.
buen Camino! (That is the greeting that is offered to us all day and we offer each other, it means good journey)