Camino reflexionsJune 3 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C
"We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey."
I started my Camino journey from Lisbon with "Ernita" (Ernie and Anita) on May 4th. We travelled for 30 days, approximately 640 kms, taking only 2 rest days along the way.
The leg from Lisbon to Porto felt distinctly different from the leg from Porto to Santiago de Compostela. We didn't meet very many other pilgrims in the first leg of our journey, but those we did meet felt like kindred spirits. We were always happy to greet these members of our Camino family each time we crossed paths with them as we all headed northward.
The first leg to Porto was quieter and more contemplative. The locals we met were very generous with their heart felt wishes for a "Bom Caminho". We were offered oranges picked straight from one woman's tree. We were given mandarin oranges from another woman's basket. One kind man stopped us as he was driving by to give us cold bottles of water and apples. We experienced repeatedly the kindness of strangers.
Most pilgrims who walk the Camino Portugues start their journey from Porto so we saw a lot more pilgrims in the 2nd leg of our journey, particularly after O Porriño since a pilgrim really only needs to walk 100 kms to get a Compostela certificate. As Ernie observed, it's the exact opposite of running a marathon. Instead of the number of participants getting less and less the closer we got to the finish line, we entered Santiago amongst a stream of pilgrims.
My 22 litre Deuter backpack became my home for 30 days. My total possessions consisted of 2 dryfit t-shirts, 1 long sleeve shirt, 1 pair of hiking pants, 1 pair of leggings, 1 pair of shorts, a lightweight fleece, a rain jacket, 2 sets of socks and underclothing, a visor, a small toiletry bag, essential supplements, cables for my watch and phone, an ultra lightweight umbrella, a 67 gm travel towel, a 10-litre packable daypack, a pair of sandals and a pair of Altra trail runners. The only addition to my pack was a rain poncho which I purchased towards the end when heavy rainfall was forecasted for the last 3 days of our Camino. In the end, I only used the poncho once.
Overall, I felt we were blessed weather-wise, even on the days that peaked 35 degrees. We all agreed that the heat was preferable to rain, especially in light of the trails that would have turned into steep muddy slides which I have no idea how we would have scaled or descended.
I learned to appreciate the seemingly insignificant gifts the Camino offered: a bit of shade when it was blistering hot, a gentle breeze at our back, birdsongs to accompany us, the beauty of wild flowers, early check-in at hotels, and the availability of a hairdryer in days when our socks didn't dry overnight.
I learned how little I needed to experience happiness. My most joyful moments rarely involved "things".
I am grateful to and, dare I say, a little in awe of my body, this "earth suit" which proved itself to be strong and resilient, walking up each morning with nary a complaint and transporting me step-by-step, day-by-day closer to my destination.
I am grateful to my ever reliable Altra Lone Peak trail runners and Injinji toe socks which carried me the whole distance without giving me a single blister.
Most of all, I give thanks to my amazing travel companions who shared this voyage with me: Ernie, Anita, and Roch. Together, we became the "Core Four", a.k.a. B.E.A.R. Thank you for your friendship, your support, the witty conversations, the laughter. It's been a privilege to share the road with you and I look forward to sharing many more miles of life's journey with you.
The official Camino certificate states that the journey from Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela is 634 kms. However, according to my Garmin watch, I have taken 1,058,231 steps or the equivalent of 777.6 kilometers over the past 30 days.
We are now on board a bus that will take us from Santiago de Compostela to Porto in 5.5 hours. From there, Roch and I will catch a high speed train that takes 2 hours and 50 minutes to get into Lisbon. You have to admire modern travel. It'll take 8 hours and 20 minutes to journey by bus and train what took us 28 days to walk.Read more