Hello from the camino! On April 6th, I started walking from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France, and now I am 340 km to the west in Boadilla del Camino, Spain. That's over 200 miles! I don't know if I've ever been this physically exhausted day after day, but I've also never been this mentally and emotionally relaxed either. It's pretty wonderful.
My average day in a nutshell...
7:00-8:00 am - Wake up, pack my backpack, and get out of the albergue (hostel) before I get kicked out.
8:00-8:30 am - Breakfast either at a bar or outside somewhere
8:30 am - Start walking! I usually walk somewhere between 20 and 30 km (12 and 18 miles) each day. I'll stop every hour or so for a water break, snack break, or lunch.
3:30-5:30 pm - I arrive at the albergue at some point in the afternoon. (The albergues are specifically for the pilgrims, and they cost 3 to 7 euros. Cheap! But we sleep in bunk beds with somewhere between 4 and 100 other pilgrims in a single room. Ear plugs are essential...)
5:30-7:00 pm - Shower, unpack, journal, unwind...
7:00-10:00 pm - Drink wine, eat dinner (usually a three-course "pilgrim's menu"), hang out
10:00 pm - Get ready for bed SILENTLY in the dark while everyone else in the hostel is trying to fall asleep
Spain has been absolutely beautiful. The Pyrenees were stunning. Every time I walked through a bend in the camino, I'd catch a glimpse of a snow-capped mountain and literally curse aloud because it was so amazing. For the past week or so, I've been walking through vineyards, olive groves, and lots and lots of beautiful green rolling hills.
I had been planning to walk all the way to Santiago de Compostella (774 km total), but I've decided not to finish the pilgrimage for several reasons. First, I was getting really anxious trying to figure out how far I had to walk every day so that I could get to Santiago within 30 days. By not going to Santiago, I can go at my own place, I can better take care of my body, and I can focus more on the journey rather than the destination. So I'm only going to walk for three weeks (I have one week left). I'll go as far as I can, and then at some point in the future, I'll finish the pilgrimage in Santiago and walk even farther to Finesterre (the "end of the world" on the coast). And instead of walking the camino for another week, I'm going to return to Berlin for another 7 days. I had such a wonderful time there earlier this month, and I'd really like to spend more time there.
More on the camino to come. (It's taken me so long to blog about it because the last thing I want to do at the end of the day is go online, and when I do use the internet, I always have a bunch of "business-y" things to do.)