On 20 May we had a short-ish hike on pavement and then dirt roads to the town of Hospital de Orbigo (about 15 kilometers).
A stop for second breakfast:
Now straight on until you cross the medieval bridge!
On our very first day of the Camino, what I was most struck by without a doubt was the immediate sense of community. As we walked through the city of León, strangers on bikes, in cars, or even on foot shouted ¨Buen camino!¨ to wish us good luck. When we finally got to the main trail, nearly every person we passed wished us a good Camino, as we did for them. The Camino was abond we held among people we had no other connections with, and this incredible commitment we had all made built a sense of community and respect. We even passed markers for the trail with shoes resting on them that said ¨take me if you need me,¨ a gift from those who had passed to those who still had far to go. Even the people in the albergues who we´ve met so far have only treated us with kindness, telling us that we wouldn´t walk through Spain hungry, and offering us pasta, salad, bread, chicken, ice cream, fruit, and wine. The generosity and selflessness of the people we´ve met so far has been reassuring and appreciated, and I can´t wait to see what else is in store for us!
Green shirt, brown socks, blue shorts, black pants. Today, in el Albergue de Jesus, the other peregrinos and I were relaxing and socializing in a grassy area out front. Everyone was wrapping up their trips and beginning to wind down; relaxing, showering, and washing and hanging clothes on a clothesline. It was striking to me to see all of the peregrinos hang their clothes on the same line, side by side. To me, that small action and simple clothesline full of clothes, reminded me of what the camino is all about. How no matter what shape, size, country of origin, native language we are all peregrinos and we are all here side by side taking this journey to Santiago together. Green shirt next to brown socks next to blue shorts next to black pants, every unique person all here for separate motives come together on this trail every single year to take this camino. Today on this very first day of my camino I feel blessed to be apart of this community and live the camino way for a of couple weeks, to share stories and experiences and to finish this journey side by side next to green shirts, brown socks, blue shorts, and black pants.
Reflections by Shelby Canonico (from 28 May 2017)
So, you may be thinking about walking the Camino de Santiago. I am here to tell you that while this is a wonderful decision, it may also be the most painful decision you have ever made. While you might be a lean mean walking machine (@Cayla @Tracey), you could also be an actual human. For those of us who are unfortunate enough to feel pain the walking will inevitably begin to take its toll.
What I discovered is that I am not only a human, I am subhuman. During this trip my feet have turned into literal blisters. I have blisters on top of blisters. However, as a result of this I have had the opportunity to see just how kind people truly are. I have been offered 2 canes, 3 sets of walking polls, and received countless sympathetic comments regarding my limp. I also had multiple people personally help me with my blisters (even though they were disgusting). I believe this is testament to the truly kind nature of human beings.
Seeing so many genuine people everyday made this experience even more special. I learned through this journey that it is always best to have a positive attitude and to appreciate what is going on around you. The world looks better when you focus on the happy as opposed to the sad. What is a little pain from a few blisters in comparison with the opportunity to travel through Spain and make such wonderful friends.
“Shelly” (This nickname is against my will but I’m coming to accept it)
Reflections by Coleman Vincze (from 23 May 2017)
Hola peregrinos! Today was a tough one. It is never tough until you can see the town or until you start walking on the pavement. The thought of knowing that you are almost there but just keep walking and not knowing when exactly you will get there is really the only hard part about the camino. All you really think about is your feet hurting and the amount of blisters you will see when you take off your socks. Anyway, we are in Astorga now.
We were walking and met this man named David at the House of God where there were hammocks and many fruits and snacks. He was a really nice man and had some delicious oranges. David also had cold water which was the first time having cold water on the Camino.
As we continued walking we got closer to the town and saw a man playing the guitar and singing. He was alright. AJ asked to play his guitar and it was way out of tune, it was pretty funny, I don’t think that man actually knew what he was doing. He also kept asking for money which isn’t unusual but he only wanted American money.
When we got to the town the first thing I did was take a steamy shower. After that, we started having fun. Since this was one of the last Roman outposts in Spain we toured some of the museums of roman bathhouses and sewers. The sewers were by far the neatest things on the tour. I had to crouch the whole time in them to get through.
Oh today is Tracey’s birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
Reflections by Tracey Meyers (from 29 May 2017)
Food is the fuel of life. During the Camino, we all needed a lot of food to help us climb up the rocky slopes of the Galician mountains. After three weeks, it is evident that food is a highly valued aspect of Spanish culture. It is a time to discuss what has happened throughout the day and reflect on life in general. This tradition of sit-down meals with your family is starting to lose importance among the growing generation of young Americans. Taking time to enjoy company and home-made food continues to be a tradition within my family in the US.
The local cuisine is very different in Spain than I expected. In the United States, a tortilla is a flat, round type of flour or bread. In Spain, a “tortilla de patata” is a thick omelet, almost cake-like, that is cooked with potatoes inside. (This is my favorite type of Spanish food.) Also, an empanada at a restaurant back home is a rolled flour tortilla with vegetables, beans, and meat inside. The Spanish version is almost a kind of pastry with two slices of thick bread baked with tuna, corn, beef, vegetables, etc. Although the food surprised me, it is even more delicious than I imagined.
We walked for hours during the Camino; our meals were a time to tell each other what we experienced individually and immerse ourselves in an important part of Spanish culture. When I return home, I hope to continue to sit down and remember to enjoy a nice meal with my family and friends.