Buen Camino

Hello from the Camino de Santiago. I’ve been on the Camino for nine days.  Tomorrow we will be 1/3 of the way to Santiago. There has been so much to write about, but at the end of the day, when I get my pack off my back and my boots off my feet, I’m just too darn tired to do much else other than get some food and a nice glass (or two) of local rioja and I’m done for the day. I’ve been posting pictures on my instagram account.  If you want to follow me, please do @mamasuzanna.

What to say about the Camino? Each day is the same. We get up at 5:30 or so.  You set your alarm for 6, but inevitably someone else in the shared albergue bedrooms has a different idea. We dress in the silence of exhaustion from a night of little sleep.  Snorers on the Camino are legendary. We stuff our bags with all our worldly possessions and off we go, in search of the first cafe con leche of the day. We’re on the road by 7, traveling anywhere between 20-30 kilometers a day. The terrain shifts between mountains and plains, rocks and pavement, wooded areas to stark sunlit rioja vineyards.  And we walk.  And walk. And walk.

It is a simple life. A wonderful life. The scenery is spectacular. Mountains. Vistas I have never seen before. Small towns with steeples and beautiful churches, monasteries and flowers.  Oh so many flowers. Fields of wheat.  Poppies. Tempranillo grapes.  We walk together, alone, in pairs and groups.  We talk.  We are silent.  We sing.  Today a Croatian girl and her Australian mate passed by me singing songs from old Americana.  

We talk. That is the best part.  There are people from all over the world on this pilgrimage.  We talk for hours without asking each other’s names.  We call each other Oklahoma, the Limerick boys, Irish/English John and the Aussie.  Names do not matter on the Camino.  We talk about everything.  Children. Politics. Music. Art. And our feet. Our feet hurt.  A lot. At night when I take off my boots for the day my feet throb.  We do the “Camino Shuffle” in search of something to eat and then we fall into bed.  Ready to do it all again tomorrow.

Yes, tomorrow we begin again.