Sunday, April 13, 2014

Reflections on Walking the El Camino

  • The feet felt okay in the a.m., but by the end of the p.m., it was tough to keep hiking.
  • The blisters and calluses were manageable, especially as I learned to take better medical care of them.
  • The infection was the show stopper, but I made appointments with my PCP and podiatrist upon return to the states. I could see how it could have become worse, waking some morning and having had it spread. That made prudence the wise course of action.
General Thoughts:
  • Spain is such a beautiful country with such gracious people.
  • Spanish people dress classy; they don't dress like trash.
  • Would I live in Spain? It's possible, but ...
    • The politics are wrong for my outlook.
    • The economy is bad.
    • Spain has a weak foreign policy, it's not a world player.
    • I guess I'm a born and bred Yankee.
It all came down to completing 80 miles (120 km) in 6 days (plus 1 rest day) for an average of 12 miles/hiking day at 5 - 6 hrs/day.

There were several moments where the El Camino experience led me to consider what I had taken on.
  • My first order of coffee con leche and toastada in Camas brought back a ton of memories about breakfast in Spain.
  • Meditating with the "Our Father" on the way to Real De La Jara.
  • Taking my day off and wandering along the calles (streets) of Monasterio
  • Sharing jokes and experiences with Mick (Leeds, England) along the hike
  • Lunch with Dennis (the Canadian) in Almaden
  • All the breath-taking hills, mountains, pastures, farms and fields that I never enjoyed when I was driving instead of walking
  • Making it up hill after hill, climb after climb, slope after slope in an almost never-ending ascent
I have so many things to think about over the next year
  • Have I changed somehow? It's hard to see yet, but time will tell.
  • Maybe it's not the 'change', but the 'alterations' that a peregrino feels
  • I chased away a lot of ghosts, and opened new doors in the process
  • What will I be when I return to my previous life?
  • Will the El Camino create a new life or was it an interruption in my life?
  • After 2 - 3 days, the Via De La Plata became more than a vacation; it became a vocation. And so I regret that it came to an end prematurely. But that would imply that one is only a pilgrim while walking the El Camino.

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