From the moment that I set foot on the Camino Frances in charming St. Jean Pied de Port last year, I loved it. The first three days were like a dream, a honeymoon, as it were. Eventually there were challenging moments, challenging days, physically, emotionally, mentally, and/or spiritually but the joy of those first few magical days kept me going until the next beautiful moment or experience.
There has been no such honeymoon on the Norte. Muddy, rocky trails, pouring rain, views completely obscured by clouds and fog, lack of Camino infrastructure (including albergues that don’t open until 4pm and a youth hostel where the curfew is 4:30am), few pilgrims, aching feet and toes (I’ve no idea why; is my backpack too heavy?) have conspired to make me feel the exact opposite about this Camino (I won’t say the word) that I felt about the Frances. of course, there are those who believe that to be a true pilgrim, one must suffer…
Yesterday I alternated between fantasizing about about hopping a bus to Roncesvalles and being at home lying on my couch watching movies. “Ultreya!” I would tell myself, then slip on a muddy rock or have to find a way to use the “facilities” (ie the edge of the trail muddy and wet) without being able to remove my poncho or backpack because of the pouring rain. Then I would think about all the people following my posts and pride would kick in; “How can I quit? What will everyone think?”
A few hours of sleep have, of course, given me a (slightly) new perspective. It is not supposed to rain today but it is supposed to be more physically challenging.
I told myself I need to give it 5 days and then decide….