Buenas Dias (Good Morning)! It is Day 8 on the The Camino and my goodness so much has happened in the last 3 days. Firstly, I have marched on and now knocked over 300km! Can you believe it – I can’t really myself. 300km I have walked on my two feet! Although my legs are still asking the question “why are you making us walk so far?
The last 3 days we haven’t had the best weather. It’s still cold. Around 5 degrees and then around 10-15 degrees during the day. If it’s raining you guessed it – it’s colder! We have had moments of showers here and there but the rest of the day there is usually these large dark clouds that hoover over threatening to rain if we stop walking. Although, there are moments when the sun shines through and it is one of the most beautiful sites you will see. And every time it happens the sun is shining on the town ahead where you will get to either sleep or rest.
After walking 300km, yes I am in a world of pain! Most the time I feel like an old grandmother as everytime I reach the Auberge I am hobbling and can’t walk. At night my joints are sore from the waist down and I have this permanent knot in my right shoulder. I also got my first big blister, would you believe it was from a pair of socks! I found a brand new pair of socks when I was rearranging my bag looking for stuff to throw out. Throwing out things has become this new thing I look forward too. At the end of the trek each day I look to see what I can get rid of in my pack to make it lighter for the next day. So far each day I have found something.. a pair of shorts, atop I don’t really need, a glass deodorant bottle – thats like 200grams – score! But today I couldn’t let anything go. Anyway, the socks! I thought I struck gold when I found a third pair of socks that hadn’t been worn or used for the last 6 days. Fresh, clean, dry socks. To my demise that would come back and strick me in the right heel, I was happy as Larry in the morning putting these new baby’s on, but when I was taking them off 7 hours later there was not a happy face anymore. Check out the blister below! I also invested in buying this deep heat cream to help with my muscles, although when I put it on I got told by the French Volunteer who was in charge of the Auberage that the smell was ruining the smell of the crepes! He then told me to get a massage instead.. I agreed with him there!
However, aside from the pain I am loving every single bit. I can’t express how truly beautiful Spain is. I imagined it to be this hot dry country but I couldn’t be anymore wrong. Spain is so luscious and full of great big fields and mountains that when your walking for hours alone you are completely transfixed by the fields and scenery around you. There ‘weeds’ consist of red poppies, mixed with yellow and purple flowers and walking in between these beautiful beds of flowers then having the mountains as the backdrop for km’s is just breathless and amazing. The Camino is truly the most adventures treks I think one can do. It is such a physical challenge, but it is really being mentally strong that will get you through. Everyday is the unknown. I mean I have no idea what’s install for tomorrow. Who I will meet or what mountain I will walk by or even where or what type of room I will sleep in. This spontaneity keeps you so determined to see what tomorrow will bring. During the day you have hours to think and have time to yourself, then when you least expect a person will come by and tell you the most fascinating stories. It was only just tonight I was sitting at the dinner table and had an Italian, South African, Canadian, German – all nationalities coming together. We all shared red wine and laughed about the annoying signs in the last 10 kilometers. It kept on reading 580 km to Santiago De Compestella, then 579km to Santiago De Compestella for the last 10km. I can’t tell you how depressing it is when your walking at the pace of a tortise carrying your home on your back seeing these signs counting down by only 1 making you feel like you’re not getting any closer..
A great part of the camino is that the ages are so vast. There is no particular age group. I met these young American guys from Nevada age 18 & 19, then my Korean favourites who were aged 75! All ages, all nationalities – it’s so interesting and your learning about all different cultures everyday. Although it does make me feel like I am the unfittest person in the world when I see people double my age pass me!
And the history…Spain has so much history! I have passed so many churches that were created circa 900 and this pilgrimage alone is hundreds of years old. The different provinces that you cross – all unique and special in there own way. From the basque area (beautiful!) to the worlds famous wineries in the Roja district – seeing all these regions whilst doing the most humble forms of transports, walking.
An update on my friends – sadly the last 3 days I had to let my Korean favourites behind as I am desperately trying to reach Saintiago De Compestella on my birthday 22nd June! So I have walked an additional 30km over the past 3 days. According to the schedule it is recommended to do it in 33 days which averages 20-27km per day. However, I need to do it in a month, so I need to walk and make up 3 days. Leaving people behind is always sad but I met some new beautiful people, for example one of the most loveliest men – Carlos, who is from Spain. I met him yesterday early into the day and we walked together for hours – me teaching him english and him teaching me spanish.
There are so many more stories and so many highlights to share, I wish I could tell them all and show all the pictures. Here are a few for now, and all the other stories you will have to read the book when I finished.
Also – I have being shopping! I got myself a pair of walking sticks (fantastic – so glad to have my own) and I also got a new poncho – it was so expensive it’s like the Chanel of Ponchos! However, looking fabulously like a real trekker now – I blend in perfectly!
With love from the Camino. Ash xx