Thoughts on the Camino

Hontanna Window

Thoughts and my ramblings on paper has been massive since my return from Spain and the Camino.  Pages and pages have fallen complete and mysteriously uplifted into the heavens of the internet that we call the Cloud, for safe-keeping and a return to earth at a future time for some good use to mankind.  One such small collection of thoughts I recently found, and it seems appropriate to let them become the food by which men live and breathe, and so it offer this short essay.

In the Madrid Airport

I started this post while waiting for my airplane to depart from Gate A14.  It’s supposed to leave at 9:30am, but I can see it’s delayed until a 10:10am take-off.  Schedules have become quite relative to the condition anymore since walking the Camino.  The phrase “in a hurry” has lost its meaning to a great degree.  “In a hurry” for what?  To get to work, to go shopping, to down my coffee because “I’ve got to get back out into that big, exciting world out there?”

Actually, I’m sitting in the Sala Cibelle, or VIP Lounge, of U.S. Airways, at the Barajas Aeropuerto, Madrid.  It’s a very large space with multiple lounging and sitting areas, great views out to the airplanes, and plenty of food and drinks available for the asking.  It’s 7:45am, and the lounge is empty, but for about four people and myself.   Ironic isn’t it to my condition.  I’m back in the civilized world of Madrid – it is a very strange feeling to have so many people about you, going in so many different directions – and everything has a schedule here.  I’m essentially alone with my thoughts and my laptop in the middle of all of this. Continue reading Thoughts on the Camino

O’Cebreiro to Triacastela – Day 26

Morning Mist in the Valleys

The large Municipal Albergue in O’Cebreiro started to come to life by 5:00am in the morning.  Pilgrims were trying to be as polite as possible – a virtue they cared not much for the night before, and after a few quaffs of the local brew.  Now, sleepy-eyed pilgrims were humbly setting their packs in good order and dressing themselves and their infirmities for the anticipated journey ahead of them.  While the leg to O’Cebreiro was the ‘big show’, this leg would have its own challenges. Continue reading O’Cebreiro to Triacastela – Day 26

Villafranca del Bierzo to O’Cebreiro – Day 25

Early Morning in Villafranca del Bierzo

Well, let’s just say that I did it.  I managed to push through 30 kilometers (18.5 miles) today to reach O’Cebreiro; just inside the region of Galicia and leaving the Castilla and Leon region.  Lulling one to a sense of relaxation, the first 22 kilometers were a slow, but constant ascent on a path that paralleled the Rio Varcarce.  With the forest tracking your footsteps up on the surrounding hillsides, and the Rio Valcarce running alongside below, the peaceful nature of this countryside could not be ignored.  The coolness of the gentle breezes and the clarity of the sun only added to the sense of well-being that this beautiful land gifted one’s spirit all the day long. Continue reading Villafranca del Bierzo to O’Cebreiro – Day 25

Molinaseca to Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo – Day 24

Shell Marker 

Ponferrada is but 6 kilometers away from Molinaseca.  I imagine I could have pushed onto this small city yesterday, but when you set a goal – Molinaseca – and the effort took most of what you’ve got stored up, you relax in the accomplishment of the goal.  

As it worked out, for my feet, I found Ponferrada so pleasing that I decided to stay the night at a local hostal; La Virgin de Encina.  It is located directly opposite the amazingly large, medieval castle, “Castillo de los Templarios, a Templar castle which covers approximately 16,000 square meters.  In 1178, Ferdinand II of Leon donated the city to the Templar order for protecting the pilgrims on the Way of St. James who passed through El Bierzo on their road to Santiago de Compostela.” WIKI  Continue reading Molinaseca to Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo – Day 24

Rabanal del Camino to Molinaseca – Day 23

Cheeries Ready to Pick

I left Rabanal de Camino early and reluctantly, and as I encountered the paths beyond that wonderful village, it became apparent that I had truly entered a mountainous region of Spain that equaled the Pyrenees.  I found the trails narrow and twisting with a fair amount of plant growth intruding in upon the paths.  Little was flat anymore, and the path varied widely from dusty clay to jagged rock and gravel.

It was evident that horses and their riders used these trails quite a bit; not only from the “road apples” present, but by the frequent water troughs that I passed with some frequency.  You’d have to be a patient and experienced rider to take on these narrow trails. Continue reading Rabanal del Camino to Molinaseca – Day 23