Beginning the trek

by Kendal

Starting the Camino has definitely been as much, or more, of a struggle as I imagined it would be. I expected blisters, but the full body aches that come with walking this much were more of a surprise. I never knew walking could hurt as much as a hard day of lifting weights. However, there’s been so many things that already make the walk well worth it.
The best part of the journey so far is the stunning artwork we get to see. The first day on the trail, we stopped at a tiny side of the road house in the Villar de Mazarife, the town where our albergue was located. I was a little sketched out by the town in general, but the artwork inside this house was fantastic. Done by a man who goes simply by monseñor, the paintings ranged from Renaissance era to Picasso-esque surreal. I fell in love with the color palettes he used in particular. We also got to visit his workspace, which was really fascinating. He passed away a few years, which made being able to visit his house all the more special.
I was also struck by the art in the albergues. Both the alburgues we’ve stayed at allowed people to put up their own drawings and paintings. The first one allowed people to draw all over the walls. The marks left were names, quotes, and some intricate drawings that make me angry about my lack of artistic abilities. The second albergue had an easel set up right as we walked in for any peregrinos that wants to paint something. The walls were filled with paintings past peregrinos have done. Some were classically gorgeous, while others were clearly a group effort, a show of teamwork and the bonding the Camino can cause. Our painting definitely fell into the latter category. It was so awesome seeing the relationship between the albergue owners and peregrinos reflected in these decorations.
It seems like every place we go to has something beautiful to see, and that’s not even including the walk itself. The vistas we see rival any master artist’s skill. There’s always some snow capped mountains in the distance, and they seem to egg us on. I love being able to see the real Spain, away the from tourist-y stuff of the cities. Not that I don’t enjoy that too, but being able to really experience Spain is wonderful. From the fields of farms to the tiny cities we pass through, this trip has already been so memorable.

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