Hi! I`m David
I have done a number of pilgrimage walks. The Camino Frances , The Camino El Norte, The Camino Portuguese, Camino Finnisterre. I am now attempting to do the La Via De La Plata from Seville – Santiago which is roughly 1000km in 40 days.
This is my first attempt at a blog, so hopefully if you choose to follow me, it will give you some idea of what it is like to experience a Camino first hand. There are going to be good and bad days, probably bed bugs, incredible snoring, naked germans, so if you are of a weak disposition turn away now. You may even by the end “God forbid !” decide to follow suit. But first a bit of inspiration .
I don’t have a perfect body, there is no anterior cruciate ligament in my right knee, I used to have a metal plate and 8 screws in my right ankle, I probably could lose some weight and I am now approaching the ripe age of 52. If I can do these walks, so can you. You just don`t know it yet.
I have an apalling grasp of Spanish. So bad that I am reluctant to use it as it usually leads to more confusion to both parties as I cannot understand what is coming back at me. However my fingers are fluent and with a lot of pointing I get there in the end. Ordering food is problematical still but I am usually pleasantly surprised at the results. I would never have ordered squid cooked in its own ink but it was delicious !
All you need is a basic gym fitness and stubbornness in buckets. The Camino if taken properly will do the rest. Its not a race, too much one day usually comes back to haunt you, especially at the beginning. Being young does not mean you are invincible that is why the older generations usually do better at this. They know how to pace themselves , have more experience of failure and don`t give up so easily. Time after time I have seen fine young physical specimens give up because of blisters , tendonitis , tiredness, muscle strains, pains in their joints .When I know there was nothing really wrong with them. Its part of the process of the body tuning up from its sedentary existence. Be patient you are meant to move !
For me this takes 7-10 days, I adjust to the heat, the weight of the bag, old injuries heal, calluses start to form and tendons/ ligaments remember old patterns of exercise. I am usually grumpy during this period. Then my stride gradually lengthens and before long I am like a gazelle. Well a wounded one !!!.
I have walked with some remarkable people on the Camino. One lady with a double hip replacement walked from Roncesvalles-Santiago, another walked over a mountain and beyond with 1/2 a knee cap and damage to one lung.A sobering thought when one is moaning about a blister. I have also met many people in their 70/80`s carrying their own bags so I think and I would include myself in this, that modern living has made us soft. Certainly by the time you finish a Camino you realize that you are much tougher than you thought.
The Camino is a great leveller. Nobody cares what you do in life just do you feel their pain as they re-discover their bodies. You cringe when you see a pilgrim hobble instantly empathising with their discomfort. Feet suddenly become interesting. Wow ! what an amazing blister you say . Have you tried this cream ?
You are also privy to amazing confidences, incredible stories and I have even been asked “How was my sex life ?” Fortunately in this case as I spluttered to reply was then treated to amazing stories from this persons life. Very funny when you are in a crowded restaurant. I came away feeling I had not lived !!!.
Though I find I enjoy the physicality of the Camino, the contrasts of scenery, the wonderful food and drink, for me its really about the people I have met on the way. The sense of comradeship and looking out for each other. I think that is why I return time and time again. I hope you enjoy my blog and maybe I might meet you on “The Way”.