Wow, where to begin?
Life on the Camino is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Yes I have hiked before, and yes I have stayed in hostels… but nothing quite like this.
The first day of walking from St. Jean Pied de Port is a 25km, 1200 meter elevation climb. (Holy… Crap) it took everything I had to reach the next stopping point, in Roncevalles, Spain. (Kinda cool to start walking in France, and go until they start speaking Spanish.)
The Camino Is already taking it’s toll. My feet are covered in blisters and my knees feel as though they’ll split through the skin with every step. Going downhill is a nightmare as I wince in agony from the searing pain in my knees- the very breath from my lungs is stolen away as each foot forward highlights a new definition in suffering. (But I’m cool man, I got this!)
I’m currently sitting in Pamplona, Spain and taking it easy today. Hell, I made it 70km so far, I deserve a ‘sit down’. I purchased better walking shoes, (the boots I brought with me are for work… and suck.) I even bought my first ever walking poles! I’m excited to see how they help out on the trail.
Truth be told though, it’s beautiful out here. The Camino de Santiago traverses farmland full of loose cattle, horses and sheep, and over mountain tops with stunning vistas of the Spanish countryside. The trail winds through pine forest, along rivers, roads and highways- through cobblestone streets, leaf-covered avenues and tall, green grass. The Camino visits small Spanish towns with their terracotta roofs, immaculate gardens full of fresh vegetables and flowers, and aesthetically pleasing shutters- all painted bright colors to compliment the suns raise. I love coming Into town, following the sound of church bells and the smell of fresh bread from the bakery. Life here moves slow and quiet, with no real hurry at all. I love it!
Oh and the people! I can’t speak highly enough of the strangers I’ve met on the road. Every pilgrim is polite and courteous- each looking out for one another. The people in town may not speak English, but are so helpful and want to aid in a anyway, it’s really inspiring to see.
Watching the news can make one feel like the world is a cold and bitter place, full of meanness and cruelty. But go out and travel. I promise you that good people still exist in this world, and they are eager to spread joy and happiness. Life is just awesome!!
All in all, the Camino has been great so far. I’ve only been on the road 4 days. It has been incredibly challenging but deeply rewarding. I can’t imagine how I will feel should I make it to the end in Santiago de Compostela, 30 days from now.
Tomorrow I don my new shoes, walking poles and my ‘A game’. My journey continues west!!
Side note: I’m updating my blog through my phone, and my posts look goofy, o well. Also I wish I had more photos to share, but it’s hard to convince myself to stop and get out my camera when my knees feel like broken glass! I’ll take more pics in the days to come. Scouts honor.