28 April – My last posting about all cathedrals blending together was premature. I’ve met one of the original ‘Shock and Awe’ religious sites on the camino tour – the Burgos Cathedral. Words and photos can not do it justice. Regal, beautiful, ornate are descriptive terms that don’t come close. The Catholic Church in Spain must have designed these structures to inspire the awe, power, authority and glory of the church. They succeeded. With their quick riches from the New World, they invested heavily into these buildings to make them places to humble the individual spirit and leave no doubt that there is something more monumentally powerful than any of us alone. The term ‘awesome’, awe inspiring, derives from these cathedrals (regardless of one’s religious devotions). (Burgos Rest Day 2)
The trail continues to get easier, either because the trail is easier or the body is become adjusted to the labors….or both. The blisters are less painful but the constant impact of more and more hard-pact and cement paths continue to take their toll. One has to get the feet off the ground for a few hours after the mileage to recover feeling.
I’m still starting my walks before 0700, some days as early as 0615. It’s serene and quiet and wonderful to have the trail mostly to oneself. I also arrive at my destination in time to get a room….mostly. Some of the small villages really offer nothing by way of accommodation and it’s frustrating to have to walk on to the next village to find something. Calling ahead to make reservations is not always productive, but when it is, it makes the day’s journey so much more enjoyable.
The after-walk experiences have become pretty enjoyable. As most people generally walk the same daily legs (from the same villages to the next same villages) you develop a layering of camino friends. At the end of the walk you meet up with many of the same for drinks and dinner and chat. I’ve joined a group that also uses social media to its best advantage with a group network on ‘Whatsapp”.
Throughout the day people contribute to the group posts with places to get coffee along the trail, music selections and at the end of the day, for places to meet up. Whoever happens to be within that village at that time will join in if they’re otherwise not committed to something else, like being smoked from the trail. It’s really comforting to have that sense of a safety and social network as your bubble of cominoites rolls its way along The Way. During the days you can enjoy the solace of silence and introspection along the walk and at night have the camaraderie of a familiar face to eat with. How did Peligrinos ever survive without social media?
A little more ‘philosophy’ on the Camino. One of the subtle beauties of this kind of undertaking is that it provides opportunities for each too explore their own true character and embrace it, or try to alter it. By way of example, walks on pavement through industrial areas or inclimate weather. Both experiences come along sooner or later and the individual caminoites have to decide how to deal with it. For whatever reason they decide, they either take on the pain and boredom of the effort, or find ways to bypass it (bus, taxi, bike, whatever).
Many skip these un-enjoyable spots on the camino because of time crunch challenges, health or it does not align with they’re their particular threshold for whatever. Other’s accept these nasty bits of the trail and walk on because it’s part of the Camino. There are services available to deliver your backpack from your current alburge or hotel to the next one so you can walk pack free.
One philosophy I heard that the way you confront your camino challenges may be reflective of the way you face your life’s challenges. During tough spots in the road, are you inclined to figure an easy way out, or do you “embrace the suck” and work your way through it. This is not meant as criticism for or against either course of action, but an understanding that the camino presents us with challenges that we can chose to embrace to best fit our own unique reasons for being here. Interesting.
Tomorrow I begin walking the miles and miles of open wheat fields known as the Meseta, which according to some is another ‘suck-fest’, and to others, a wondrous trail for reflection. And because the hotels/hostels are very few and far in between, it could be a very, very long day. It’ll be interesting to see which of the two my character tells me it is. (Burgos Rest Day 2)
Interesting Links (Burgos Rest day 2)
- Photos along the Camino and throughout the Iberian Peninsula
- Return to the beginning of this Journal Blog
- Enjoy our Journal Blog about our travels throughout Italy