The Camino Françes, Fall 2015

A couple of days ago I wrote to say videos are now embedded in each blog post about our recent “Three Caminos in One.” That project led to doing the same thing with our 2015 Camino Frances blog. To see them, go to the “Home” page and click on “The Camino Frances, Fall 2015 blog.” The videos are at the bottom of every blog post.

A four-year-old blog might be like “old news” compared with “breaking news,” but the Camino really hasn’t changed much during the intervening years. There are more pilgrims on the trails and many, many, many more beer bottles decorating anything that doesn’t move at the popular Casa Tia Dolores bar, but basically it is the same.

Casa Tia Dolores

Revisiting the old blog brought back so many memories. We still laugh over what happened on Day 1 when Dave inserted his token for a five-minute shower. He didn’t keep the water flowing because he wanted to save it for rinsing off later. He was lathered up when he discovered five minutes worth of water is all you get. If you don’t use it, you are out of luck. As he towelled the soap off, we wondered what would happen the next day if it rained. Would he get sudsy?

Then there was the little adventure on Day 18 when we lost each other. Thank heavens we are no longer accusing each other for being the cause of it and now find it amusing. While Dave stayed the night 10 km ahead in Burgos, I was the sole occupant of the albergue in Orbaneja – except for “Kamikaze” flies that dive-bombed and drove me to violence. My only escape was to head to the bar where the entire population of the town was watching the futbal game as I blogged. Seems like yesterday!

On Day 32 in Villar de Mazarife we had the good fortune to experience a Queimada ritual, a Galician tradition. The Queimada’s main ingredient is Orujo Gallego, a spirit distilled from wine. An incantation is recited to confer special powers to the Queimada so as to distance bad spirits that lie in wait for men and women to try to curse them. As the Queimada burned, the flames must have almost touched the ceiling!

The morning of Day 10 was when the rhythm of our footsteps and the tapping of our hiking poles must have put us in a trance. Whatever the cause, we felt the Camino “magic.” We were aware we were walking in the footsteps of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims. They were all around us. The scenery and weather was perfect. There were no pressures, no distractions, no telephones, no news, nothing in the world except walking the Camino just as others have been doing for hundreds of years. Life was complete and whole.

When the trail became more difficult and the physical challenge started to overtake that magical feeling, we understood why people might say the Camino is a metaphor for life. We have our ups and downs, our good times and our bad times. Sometimes life is easy and sometimes it isn’t. We came to a long, hot, steep, uphill grind and knew “Life can be like that sometimes.”

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