There is a rhythm to the Camino de Santiago journey

 

We paused for breakfast Friday next to this 12th-century Templar castle in Ponferrada, a city of 62,000. The Knights of the Templar guarded the Camino in medieval times.

Sue, left, negotiates the steep, rocky descent Thursday into Molinaseca, where our room had a fantastic view of the arched bridge. Friday, the Camino was down to about 1,600-feet elevation, where we passed vineyards just beginning to show leaves.

After we passed the high point of the Camino Thursday morning, we had this view of the surrounding mountains before heading down. It was a difficult, rocky descent.

 

More than three weeks and 300 miles since we left Pamplona on April 11, there is a rhythm to most of our days.

We are up by 6 or 6:30 most mornings and, if available, coffee and breakfast are first. Usually, a bar will offer tostada (big piece of toast with jam and butter) or, if we are lucky, tortilla (egg frittata, usually with potatoes).

Otherwise, we are on the trail by 7 and looking for a village bar up the trail for breakfast. There have been days when breakfast waits until 9 or even 10 because no place is open or there is no village for awhile.

We try to pack things like banana, orange, yogurt and/or peanuts as backups and snacks. A large chocolate bar has become a staple. We buy these at a tiny store in a village. These are usually closed on Sundays and during siesta, so we have to plan ahead.

If we have had breakfast, we stop at a bar mid-morning for our second coffee, usually sitting outside so we can greet passing pilgrims, who sometimes join us.

Camino lesson: Always use the bathroom before leaving the bar. There are virtually no public bathrooms (other than behind shrubs or trees or not) on the Camino.

Our lunch is a picnic along the way. Sometimes, we find a Camino rest stop with picnic tables. You can hear our sighs of relief as we remove our shoes and socks.

Since we have reduced our distance to about 12-13 miles a day, we are looking for a place to stay by 2 or 3 p.m. Our guide lists the albergues (hostels) and a little information about each one. For the past three nights, though, we have stopped at hostals, which are hotels. They cost from 25€ to 50€ a night and have been quite nice. I am trying to avoid the big dorm rooms; Sue is more willing to tough it out.

This afternoon, Saturday, we are in a wonderful, quaint place with a terrace and clothesline outside our room. It is run by a friendly, English-speaking Dutch woman in a riverside village. And, Sue has a bathtub! All for just 38€.

We have never had a problem finding a bed.

After a hot shower, we rest for awhile, then explore the village and find a bar to have a drink. Often, we join other pilgrims. This was especially fun during the first two weeks of the journey, but our good friends we met at the beginning are no longer on the Camino.

For dinner, we normally have the pilgrim's meal where we are staying, usually with fellow Camino trekkers. This is a three-course meal with a several choices for each course. Most of the time, the food has been alright, but not great. The wine, especially during the first two weeks, has been very good. Lately, the food has been much better, the wine not as good. Pilgrim meals come with wine and cost from 8€ to 10€. (A euro is about $1.30.)

Another routine is appreciation for this beautiful country. I often find myself thinking that this experience is too good to be real.

The Camino has tested our limits. Pain is a given every day.

But, the rhythm of the Camino has a beat unlike any other journey.

 

Categories: Camino de Santiago | Tags: , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “There is a rhythm to the Camino de Santiago journey

  1. You are moving along quite nicely!

  2. Carolyn

    I find your blogs so interesting. You are the Adventurers from Yosemite. The mountains are beautiful and I congratulate you on your persistance. Most of your pictures as you walk don’t show many people. Are you pretty much alone on the Camino? It looks like the social time is at the end of the day. That is like a job but you name your own hours. It is a rhythm to be respected.
    Jacob Lee Bowman, my great grandson was born on May 2. Rob and Cathy’s daughter Amy is the mother. Josh is the father. Jacob weighed 10 pounds 9 ounces. Katelyn 2 1/2 is the big sister. I am Nana the Great.

    • Hi Carolyn,

      Congratulations on your new great grandson! And, congrats to the parents.

      There are plenty of others on the Camino, but we are often the only people within sight in either direction. In the early morning, when everyone is getting out of the starting gate, there can be 10-15 people within sight, but it usually thins out as the fast walkers move on.

      We have about 2,000 feet to climb tomorrow…another test.

      Love,
      Reg and Sue

  3. Leah

    It’s fun being home with my computer so I can see your awesome pictures at full size! The trip sounds just amazing and I’m so impressed by your indomitable spirits!

    • Thank you, Leah!
      I sounds like you and Andrew had a great time in jolly old England…we would love to see some photos.

      This is an incredible adventure. Just when we think we have hit the peak, there is another surprise. Tonight we had a great evening with a couple from New Zealand/Papua New Guinea/England over a superb dinner in our hostal. Tomorrow, we climb 2,000 feet.

      Love, Reg and Sue

  4. Jeannie

    Thank you for this entry! My friends/co-workers were on a hike after school yesterday and I was telling them of your Camino adventure. Several decided we should do it together! This entry is a great guide. I loved hearing about the rhythm of your days. May all the known (comraderie, good food & wine, etc.) and unknown wellings of the heart and mind continue to outweigh any physical pain.

    • Hi Jeannie,

      Thank you!

      In fact, Sue and I have talked about you on this trek and we both agree that you would love this!

      Love, Reg and Sue

  5. First time I did the Camino, young co-trekkers with foot troubles would ask me “Does it get better … does it get easier?” I would invariably answer: ” Of course it gets better, and much easier, you get used to the pain.”

    I see that both of you have gotten there were it gets better!

    (Gitta emphatically does not agree with this and says “Come on, your body eventually gets tougher and then the pain disappears”)

    • Hello James!

      You and Gitta are so correct. It is all part of the Camino, which is grand indeed!
      Best,
      Reg and Sue

  6. Pingback: There is a rhythm to the Camino de Santiago journey | supersullivan and the Camino

  7. More glorious photos and experiences! Looks so worth the blisters and aching joints. Really loving your take on the Camino

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