Life is simple on the Camino. It’s all about the walk. We usually walk for 8 hours each day. We get out of bed early to walk before the sun gets hot. We eat a breakfast after an hour on the trail, and then we eat a second breakfast around ten. An empty belly, we have found, gives the legs and feet more room for complaint and allows the mind to become too preoccupied with the distance left to go.
We walk. We talk. We find new people who will walk and talk with us. There are always a couple of people who are walking the same distance as us each day. Yesterday, as we passed a Olympic-sized swimming pool, we noticed two men swimming alone. They waved frantically. “Join us,” they yelled. We waved and moved on. Later they caught up. We found out they were Spaniards. Carlos is a school teacher; Marcos, the other, is a technology manager. They talked at length about the Camino. They had learned about it as kids, and were surprised that it was so well known across the globe. Marcos explained how the Camino traveled through what was once the last Christian kingdom to resist the Moors during the middle ages.
Marcos loved America. He said that, “unlike most Spaniards, I believe we are living in an era of ‘Pax America.’ He said he is grateful to America for fighting the wars in the middle east.
We meet people to talk with us as we walk. We met this family from Modesto, California. Lisa, the mom, started out with the kids from Saint Jean, in France. They are now over 400 miles into the journey, and the kids are still going strong. She wanted to give her children the gift of this experience. She is a teacher, as are many of the people who walk the Camino (like me). Dad joined the family in Ponferrada.
We walk. We arrive. We sleep in dormitories, called Albergues, where other pilgrims also sleep. Usually, our walking day is done by 3 o’clock. Like most pilgrams, after finding an albergue, we shower, wash laundry by hand, and then hand the clothes up to dry. I wash three items per day: socks, underwear, and shirt. Every fourth day or so, Ann will do a load and I’ll wash my shorts. After chores, most pilgrims nap. And then we eat, socialize, eat, and socialize. Sometimes we tour the city where we are staying.
I met Pat and Pat at an Albergue a few days ago. We have seen them on the trail a few times since we first met. Pat the Elder is 84 years old. He has walked the Camino 15 times. All the albergue owners know him by name. He is from South Carolina and has that “Southern Gentleman” way about him. He wasn’t going to walk the Camino this year, but then his grandson said, “Are you going on the Camino, Granddad, because I’d like to come.” So, here they are…
Peace love, everyone… Guy