“Days on the Camino are measured in kilometers, minutes of shade, stretches of forest or fields, people encountered, and steps taken.” –Elissa Greene, Sometimes She Travels
2014 June 24, Journal Entry
My feet hurt. My shoulders hurt. My hips are sore and I have a rash on the top of my feet that burns whenever I put anything on it other than water. (Post script: here is an entire thread about this type of rash on the Camino.)
I have a farmer’s tan.
I’m not complaining, simply stating the facts that accompany walking approximately 15 miles a day for days on end.
Unlike many of my companions, I don’t have blisters, probably due to finding the right shoes and socks. Knock on wood.
Unlike those of many of the people I encounter, my quads aren’t shot despite the challenging descents (many thanks to the people who accompanied me on challenging training hikes).
Surprisingly, I haven’t had a sunburn.
It’s an odd thing, walking all day, every day, carrying a heavy backpack (which today, was heavier still since Olalla and I decided to carry food rather than eat out, a practice we are now rethinking.)
Earlier today I remarked to Olalla, shortly after reaching the halfway point of today’s walk, “Hey, guess what? We’re walking. And guess what we’re going to do after lunch? We’re going to walk some more.” She laughed and replied that it does seem like a strange to do, day in and day out.
But despite the discomforts and the oddity of what we are doing, it’s amazing. Amazing to be outside all day, amazing to continually be greeted with the traditional, “Buen Camino” by people from all over the world, amazing to see backpacks lined up outside cafés and to hear conversations about everything in all sorts of languages.
Olalla and I reminisce often about our first days on the Camino. Fondly we remember the picnics, the jokes, the eye-opening conversations, the intense conversations, the debates, the shared meals, and the incredible pastoral mountain vistas. It hardly seems possible that only 24 hours have passed since we left Pamplona. We note that time on the Camino seems to pass differently than in our regular lives. Days are measured in kilometers, minutes of shade, stretches of forest or fields, people encountered, and steps taken.
Today Olalla and I stopped for the night in Puente la Reina, a quaint stone town on the bank of a river. The narrow streets are cobbled in brown stones and a majority of the windows and balconies boast gorgeous red geraniums. It is my understanding that Puente la Reina is where two Caminos, the Aragonés and the Francés (which seems to be the final leg of several different Caminos from all over Europe) converge before continuing on to Santiago de Compostela.
Tonight we will stay in the dormitories of the municipal albergue (typical accommodations on the Camino) and will in all likelihood be lulled to sleep by the cacophonous symphony of snores that seems to fill the dormitories along the Way. As I type, I am surrounded by pilgrims from all over the world. Sharing my table in the kitchen of the hostel is a group of men from Poland, while behind us, at another table, our two friends from Mexico, Yeni and Ana, enjoy a lively conversation with a Peruvian. Two Spaniards share information about the Camino “stages” and a group of women from South Korea just finished washing up after their homemade meal of pi bim bap, one of my favorite dishes.
|Day 5. Left to right: Olalla, _____, Marta, Pavel|
|Day 5. Dining room of Albergue de Los Padres Reparadores in Puente de La Reina.|
|Day 5. Headed out into the rain for dinner.|