Us and Them on the Camino
The Long Walkers and The Short Walkers…….and the Cyclists
I’m about 8 kilometers from Portomarin, so I only have another 4 or 5 kilometers to go today.
The road has been very busy so far today, but as normal, I’m falling back through the groups of pilgrims until I don’t really see anyone else behind me. This generally means that I’ll have quite a peaceful journey from here.
My mind wants me to push on and try to get to Santiago in 4 days so that I can complete my journey and go home.
But I have planned to get there in 6 days with shorter stages, because I know my feet and legs can no longer walk a ‘full’ day.
It feels a little bit frustrating to be travelling this slowly, but I know at least at this pace, I should be able to complete the journey.
Maybe this is another lesson?
Maybe I need to start to slow down a bit in other aspects of my life, and not try to take on too much.
Us and Them
I’m about 8 kilometers from Portomarin just taking a breather.
It was interesting at dinner last night, and at breakfast this morning, the conversation turned to the many new walkers who have joined since Sarria.
Those who have walked much longer distances tend to jokingly call them ‘tourigrinos’.
This is due to the fact that not only are they just walking a shorter distance, but tend to be supported with buses carting their luggage, and they just walk in running shoes, maybe carrying a bottle of water.
I knew to expect this influx of people walking a slightly different Camino, and I’m coming to terms with it. But it’s not easy.
I’m trying to keep an open mind and really enjoy every moment of this last hundred kilometers, but it’s not easy.
It’s just so different. But the weather is great and the sun has just come out.
I really want to avoid having an ‘Us and Them attitude’. But these new pilgrims do seem to be on a very different Camino.
It’s almost like they’re just on a casual country walk rather than a pilgrimage.
But of course that raises a question, what exactly is a pilgrimage? And what differentiates a pilgrim from a tourist on a country walk?
Who knows, maybe that will be revealed.
I’m trying a couple of different tactics. One is to leave a lot later to allow the crowds to get ahead of me by a couple of hours, but the crowds are so vast that it’s not quite easy.
I’m not sure that leaving at the crack of dawn would be a solution either.
I think one has to accept that these much larger crowds are just a part of this final stage of the Camino.
And perhaps it’s actually a very important part?
Perhaps this is a transition back into the real world and reality of day to day life. Learning to cope with distractions, crowds, and a lot more noise.
But I do long for those days walking alone from Granon or through the meseta.
Looking back, those were the best days of my Camino so far. But, let’s keep an open mind because maybe there are even better parts still to come?