Walking to El Burgo Ranero
(note about early start at bottom of page)
Is my Camino over?
I was pondering on this this morning. It’s an overcast day, which always seems to affect my mood. But it wasn’t just that.
I feel like I’ve gone through an enormous transformation already on this Camino.
There was the physical stage, initially just getting used to the walk.
Then I guess you would call it the stage of relaxation as I started to get into the rhythm of the walk. And I started to ponder and question and then into that more emotional and spiritual stage.
But what stages lie ahead?
It’s starting to feel like the Camino for me has just become a routine.
Get up in the morning, get ready, walk for 7 or 8 hours, do the washing, have a meal, go to bed. Get up the next day and do it all again.
Is it starting to lose interest? Have I answered the questions that I came here to ponder? Have I actually found the right questions to ask?
But I don’t think it’s over.
I think I’m just entering another phase of this amazing journey. It’s also I think a lot to do with the people around you, the ones that you’re walking with, the ones that you’re sharing a meal with.
I seem to be between my two Camino families at the moment.
One is a day or two ahead now, and the other a day or two behind. This is what happens as people travel and undertake their journey at their own pace.
Gradually, people drift apart, and they drift back together again at later stages.
I look forward to catching up with some of my Camino families further along in the journey, but for now I need to make an effort to engage with other pilgrims and share the journey with them for a little while.
The Melody of the Walk
The final couple of kilometers into Sahagun and my first real break, is on a nice earthen track.
I find this type of track is the easiest on my feet, and so I settle into an easy rhythm.
It’s almost hypnotic as you fall into the rhythm of the walk and the melody that accompanies it.
There’s the crunch, crunch of my footsteps. The click, click of my tungsten tipped poles hitting the fine gravel. And a strange creak, creak, almost like that of a well worn leather saddle. Which I suspect maybe my water bladder moving inside the pack.
As I look up I see Sahagun getting closer and the tall spire of the church just to the left of the track.
It looks like quite a large town. I understand that many pilgrims make this a night stop.
I’m leaving Sahagun after a nice long break, something to eat, and some ice on my heels.
The sun is starting to come out and it’s a really pleasant day. The track looks good although it does merely follow beside the main road. The surface is nice fine gravel and there are some trees for shade.
But today I’m weary. Am I weary of the journey? Or is it tiredness?
I think it might be a little bit of both.
I have put in some long days recently, and I think I’m just finding it hard to recuperate as quickly.
Two more days and I’ll be in Leon for a rest stop. I’ll stay there for a full day of rest. And I’m sure I’ll feel rejuvenated after that. But for now, I’ve been walking for over 5 hours, and I probably have another 4 or 5 hours to go. (I’m slow) I always find towards the end of each day’s walk I tend to slow down a bit more.
So for today, it’s head down and walk. Maybe a bit of music will provide a distraction and help me on my way.
Motivating my feet
I haven’t had a confrontation like this since Mr. Bean, my teddy bear, got wet on the way to Zubiri, he complained all the way, and then didn’t like to sit on the radiator all night to dry out! 🙂
Today my feet are complaining.
For now I have to use all my persuasive powers to try and coax them another 12 kilometers to El Burgo Ranero, our stop for this evening.
Unfortunately it’s another hour before I can take any more pain killers and anti-inflammatories. So we’ll have to resort to other measures.
I think what we’ll try is elevating them for 15 minutes, and then putting on some compression socks to try and reduce the swelling in the tendons.
That might get us to the next village, which is Bercianos del Real Camino where I can stick some more ice on them. Let’s see.
I’m lying at the foot of a monument with my feet up on my backpack, and they’re starting to feel better already.
I’m gazing up through the branches of a tree just watching the clouds moving across the sky and it’s a lovely warm day.
I think I’ll quite happily lie here for another 30 minutes before moving on.
Maybe I was just getting a gentle reminder that walking the Camino is not a race.
It’s best experienced by taking your time.
Okay it worked!
My feet have stopped complaining, finally.
So it’s on with the compression socks and on to the next village.
It’s 5 1/2 kilometers to the next village so I’ll set that as my immediate target and we’ll set a good pace to get there in maybe an hour and a half and then I can stop and put some ice on my heels.
Then the final stage is 7 1/2 kms to our stop tonight. It will be interesting to see what time we get there!
A bit of Camino Philosophy
I now have about 10 or 12 kilometers to go altogether before we finish for the day.
Luckily, the weather is good, not too hot, and the track’s good underfoot.
You know a few days ago, I was thinking of skipping a couple of these stages.
I’d read in guide books and forums that they were a bit more boring, that the path just paralleled next to main roads, and that there was little shade.
But two things turned me against the idea of skipping any stages.
One: I think the stages on the Camino vary quite a lot for good reason. And I don’t really want to miss out on the experiences that each stage can give.
On each of the stages that some people would have considered less worthwhile, or boring, I’ve met great people, had a great meal, or managed to capture a great photograph.
So maybe again the Camino reflects life, that sometimes we need to take the bad with the good.
And sometimes, we have preconceived ideas that we won’t enjoy something, but in fact we do.
The second reason that I don’t want to skip any stages, unless there’s some physical reason why I have to, is this.
I came to walk the Camino from Saint Jean to Santiago de Compostela. And walk it, I will. The journey to me at least, won’t seem complete if I’m reflecting that I’d bailed out of a certain section just because I felt like it.
Who knows, maybe after another 100 kilometers my ideas of bailing out on a section may have changed!
I made it! – Just
Note: My early start today. The best laid plans!
I was locked in!
I planned to leave Terradillos at about 6am. This would give me a good start for what for me at least, is a very long day’s walking. 30 kms.
But….As I left my room to go out into the main Albergue building to find breakfast, the door from the private room section was locked! No way out…..
After a while, quietly trying my room keys and other ways of opening the door, I opted for the window in my room…
But of course I could still not enter the main part of the building from the outside…
To just leave, or wait for breakfast? I decided to wait a while. So climbed back into my room and about 15 mins later, I heard the corridor door being unlocked……