We’re walking the Camino de Santiago in June 2022. Come along with us!

On the Camino

These signs are somewhat normal here, but seriously, how cool is this? Watch out for the peregrino!

June 2. Thursday. International Sex Workers Day. Social Forestry Day in Bhutan. And the day Paula and I started actually walking the Camino. And boy, did it hurt. More on that later.

We left León for what is our longest scheduled day of walking, and of course it’s our first day here. Leon to Hospital de Orbigo (Google Hospital de Orbigo, the medieval bridge is awesome). On the map, about 17 miles. When you get lost, just put a few more on my tab. We haven’t hit the mountains of the final third yet; this is still the expanse of the Meseta, the high desert plateau every Camino walker has a love-hate relationship with. The sky is large and the horizon goes on forever. This is the stuff panoramas are made for, and I actually remembered to shoot one (see below).

Spain calls the Camino a “cultural event” and UNESCO agrees, and it made that list. The Spaniards are very proud of their Camino, and it’s blown me away how friendly everybody is. The old man in Chozas de Abajo who kindly pointed me in the right direction when we were supposed to U-turn. The woman at the slightly notorious Tio Pepe’s in Villar de Mazarife who helped Paula out of her bind. The people driving by in their cars who never fail to wave or even honk. The man on the bicycle who slowed and waved and shouted with a cheerful smile “Buen Camino, my friend!” Thanks, amigo.

This probably comes off as corny, but it’s a magical place out here. It’s just … different. I can totally see why people keep returning to the Camino. Although, I have NO IDEA why so many Spaniards keep asking me, “Italiano?” “No, Los Estados Unidos,” I say. “From the good part!” But they don’t seem all that impressed when I say I’m from the states. Sidebar: If anybody has an idea why people here keep asking me why I’m Italian, let me know!

Second breakfast!

Our first stop out of Leon was for second breakfast, and we ran into a friend from our hostel in León. Daisy from Grass Valley. As it turns out, we have some friends in common. None of the Bear River folks will probably see this, but she was coached by Duwaine Ganskie! Which brings me to my next item: One of the first questions peregrinos ask each other is “What do you do? We met a couple data systems analysts. The Way is lousy with software engineers. Tons of people are “between jobs,” which is why they could take six weeks off and do the full French Way. And our friend Maria from Germany is an “entrepreneur.” Twice a CEO of companies – one of them founded by her and sold – and is now walking “to figure out what I should be doing next.”

It is almost impossible to explain my job to Europeans, who have no concept of high school sports. “You mean kids in secondary school play sports for their school???” they ask. “Is that a full-time job?” It’s – pardon the pun – entirely foreign to them. So I first explain why high schools have sports, then try to explain CIF’s role. After a while, I say, “We’re like FIFA for high school sports, only waaaay less corrupt.” That seems to satisfy them, and they move on. (Sidebar: CIF isn’t corrupt, but most of the Europeans also don’t get sports that don’t have some form of corruption, so this was the path of least resistance.

Back to the walk. I’ll let Paula tell her side of the story, but today really kicked my butt. I ended up a little over 20 miles, and have a FitBit picture for proof.

I’m currently at 44,383 steps. As Paula said brightly, “That’s like 40,000 more steps than you normally take in a day! Whatever, Mrs. “I took a cab.” My legs, hips and feet feel good. After 40,000 steps while using walking sticks, my shoulders do not. They say the first third of the Camino is physical, and most of our people started three weeks ago, so they’re rolling right along. Our physical challenge is happening right now. Today was a rough day, tougher than I expected. The rubber hits the road as we do this day after day for the next two weeks. I’m not going to lie, I’m having some doubts over how the next two weeks will go on the trail. But I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. This is already one of the most unique things we’ve done. I’m sitting back and enjoying the ride. Buen Camino.



3 responses to “On the Camino”

  1. Melissa Van Diepen Avatar
    Melissa Van Diepen

    So many things to love about this post. I always skip the United States answer and go right to California. Haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Daren Williams Avatar
    Daren Williams

    We do focus groups about American agriculture in Europe and find they definitely have a higher opinion of California than the rest of the US. Especially when the former guy was in charge.


    1. It’s always interesting to see non-US perspectives. Our dinner table tonight included people from three continents, and we had some similar discussions 🙂


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