2014 Camino Francés

After the Camino: Pamplona to Madrid by Bus

July 29, 2014

It’s difficult to pinpoint what makes Spain so exceptionally beautiful. Time and time again, I swear there is something special about the light…

En route to Madrid where I will spend one night in a hostel prior to catching a flight back to the USA, we roll past a Roman aqueduct, ancient hill towns, and patchwork plots of land, some golden with fields of grains, some laced with rows of grapevines, while still others lie fallow revealing stunning red soil. The bus passes strange orchards of unfamiliar trees that I’m certain bear no fruit (a topic that “bears” more research and discussion because I have seen many of these tiny, odd forests all over northern Spain) and there are mountains in the distance, covered with giant wind turbines while patches of blue sky fight a seemingly losing battle against huge swathes of gray cloud. This fight creates mesmerizing shadows that move and twist across the land; I have often wondered if it is this play of shadow and light that make Spain so lovely.

Last night I stayed at the albergue municipale in Pamplona where “new” pilgrims could be overheard discussing their first three days; the challenging hike through the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles (I can’t say often enough how glad I am to have broken that stage into two days by staying at Orisson), the lovely walk to Zubiri, the hot descent into Pamplona. It was odd to be amidst them in their glowing excitement, the Camino so fresh and new from their perspective.

Must have been quite the culture shock, going there.” “Yes it was.” Idris doesn’t say that the real culture shock has been in coming back. –Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed

While I find that I am ready at last to return home, to my apartment, my friends and family, my cat, the beauty of the Bay Area, I do not long for it, and I wonder at this lack of “homesickness”. Then again, since living in Andalucia 25 years ago, I have felt that Spain is my “heart home” and I cannot imagine that I will not return again.

Note: This link has wonderful quotes about how it feels to travel and/or live overseas.

Views from bus





Madrid (what a change!)



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  • Ignacio Sainz-Ezquerra Pellon February 17, 2015 at 14:08

    Estupendo, me encanta como describes los paisajes y los combinas con tus recuerdos. Si veo una foto de los árboles puede ser que los conozca.

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