This is not what I would call the usual holiday. It is sometimes a test of endurance especially with the present heat, unusual for southern Spain this early in April.
I’m not feeling that I have to prove anything. What I like is the camaraderie of people walking the Camino. We might walk alone during the day because everyone develops their own natural rhythm. However, at the end of the day, one often meets up with the same people – perhaps at the same albergue or in a restaurant in the town square. One develops a fondness for these people even if one really knows nothing about them. We’re all participating in a journey slightly beyond our normal routine. There’s a sense of equality.
Last night I developed my first toe blister from walking the Camino. It has never happened on previous journeys and one of my fellow travelers was only too happy to give me a “Compeed” plaster until I could find a pharmacy.
It is often said that the Camino provides for what you need rather than what you want and I like putting this sort of thinking to the test. One always encounters a spirit of generosity and this is the sort of world in which I wish to live.
Yesterday, after a 26.1 km walk to Zafra, I was asked whether I would like to use the washing machines for my clothes. Deciding to wash everything, I asked whether there was a spare shirt in lost property that I might wear temporarily. I was given a white shirt, slipped it on, found it a little tight – OK, it’s a “muscle shirt” and started the wash. On passing a mirror, I noticed that I had been given a woman’s blouse with space for low cut cleavage. I’ll take back the statement that the Camino provides for what you need.
When someone you have met along the Camino decides that they need to move on with an increased daily distance, it can be a loss. But then walking the Camino often mimics life. We have our own timeframe and nothing is forever. You wish them a “buen camino” and you move on alone.
There might come a time when I decide to stop for a couple of days. Perhaps, I will find a small community with a good restaurant and well-stocked bar. Then I will be sorry to no longer see the people with whom I have become friends.