Day 2 or why the Camino is similar to life

Starting the day with a nice sunrise, philosophizing, walking into a local procession with dancing and finally meeting nice pilgrims and ending the day with them in one of the greatest albergues on the way…can life be any better than that?

What simplicity and serenity mean to me on the Camino
My second day started early in Santo Domingo de la Calzada. The real pilgrims are sleeping in pilgrim hostels, where there usually are 1 or several sleeping rooms with many beds. No single or double rooms and shared toilets and showers. This is how it should be. But there are other pilgrims sleeping in pensions or hotels. Like for example most known one in Germany, Hape Kerkeling…

For me living simple on the camino is crucial. I am not a tourist visiting the sites in Spain and walking a wee bit. I am a pilgrim.

But this has downturns of course. For example when your roommates go to bed late and get up early. All combined with long hushed discussions everyone can hear and lots of noises while unpacking or packing their backpack. Maybe you’re asking yourself why I am writing about stuff like this and not about the nice landscapes and the thoughts I have on the Camino.

It’s actually very simple. Things like that are part of the pilgrimage. They mean you’re getting less sleep and training your patience while still doing you’re 30km walks the next day.

The good sides about waking up early
And this was how day 2 started for me in Santo Domingo de la Calzada. I finally got up at 5am and set off at about 5.30 because I woke up much before my clock would go off. The nice thing about this is that you’re walking into dawn.

My daily routine on the Camino
My days on the Camino are very simple. I get up early, set off and have breakfast in the first village I am crossing. Then I just walk on as long as I am feeling like it and take lunch when I am hungry, just in a village closeby. And my feet and the grade of exhaustion decide where I stay for the night. This means I usually think about which village I want to reach the next day. But in the end I stop elsewhere anyway! 😀

And on the road I meet many other pilgrims. But contrary to 2010, I don’t clinch to them.

Learnings from 2010
I had met 2 Austrians and walked with them all the way to Logroño. This means I even sped up or left a city when I didn’t feel like it. I finally had to let them go in Logroño because I had a large bloody blister and my feet were hurting like hell. And I was so sad to see them leave that I teared up in the moment I saw them leave.

The Camino is teaching us to let go. It is teaching us to let people move on even if we like them and built up an emotional relation of some kind.

This was actually the main topic I was thinking about this day. That life means we have to learn to let go as well. Having companions we can rely on is quite “easy”. We are often afraid to go our own way because we fear we could get lost somewhere and that bad things could happen. It’s the same thing on the Camino. When people start it, they are afraid they wouldn’t find back to their hostel if they’re on their own. Or that something bad could happen. So they find themselves a group of other pilgrims and clinch to them because it gives them security. But in the same time they miss out on important things and often go to extremes with their body in order to keep pace with them. But walking 800km in another than your own natural pace simply isn’t possible for feet and body. The time it hits back ALWAYS comes. This means for one reason or the other, you simply aren’t able to keep up with the others and are forced to let go.

Without the others around, the pilgrim suddenly notices that he or she is able to find their way totally on their own. And that it is actually much more relaxing and fun!! Because no other person can walk the Camino for us or decide for us which pace is the best for us. This is what we have to do on our own.

And there we have the similarity of the Camino to life. We have to live it ourselves. Noone else can do so. And we have to decide what’s the best for us at each moment. Noone else can. This means we aren’t able to give this responsibility away just because it seems easier. We have to take it and make the decisions ourselves. Should we walk more slowly in a certain situation? Or should we maybe speed up? Should we take a days rest, even if everyone else keeps on walking?

Interesting thought, huh?

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

After I came home in 2010 my Camino wasn’t finished. It always goes on. I went on learning to let go. And now I absolutely enjoy walking it on my own. I am not clinching to any other group of persons. I meet people, have a good talk and then move on. I take a stroll through the cities on my own and decide where I stay, where I eat and whether it’s worth staying a little longer. So I think I really made a large step forward from 2010 to now!

I had first planned to walk 28 km from Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Tosantos and met many pilgrims on the way. Several Germans, an Irish and a Danish guy and many more. There was a fiesta in Belorado and so I didn’t just walk through that town but took a few photos instead.

A good decision
And when I finally reached Tosantos I still felt well and decided to walk on.
As I found out this decision was absolutely great. Because 2 villages later I met a group of Swiss and German pilgrims, who had decided to stay at the little pilgrims hostel of Pepe. He is a former pilgrim and opened up his own pilgrims hostel. His house is traditional Spanish and he cooks for the pilgrims. And he is only housing 10 people, so it’s not that crowded. Pepe has 80 clocks in his house, which seems like one taken out of a fairytale.

This group of Germans and Swiss people had been walking together since St Jean in France. A few of them had severe feet problem, and therefore they were debating about how to best get to Burgos. When I was talking to the women alone I told them about the importance of walking the Camino in their own pace. And we had a really good discussion about that topic!

For me walking on had been great. We ended the evening with a nice meal from Pepe (Paella and a great salad). He really is a hospitalero out of passion! And in the end I played my guitalele for the first time on the Camino. Wow…ending the day after 32km of walk in such a nice way was just great!

About Miriam

I am a traveller. Not in the fast sense. I am travelling on foot, as a pilgrim. And I love writing and playing music. Since I found back to singing and writing while walking the Way of St. James in Spain, I started mingling the two. Means I am walking with my little guitalele and playing whenever the situation seems right for it :-)
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