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

Post-Camino Thoughts

It’s Thursday morning, and we’re slowly getting back to the normal routine. Coming home Monday night was slightly disastrous, because I thought it was be a good idea to just take BART from SFO to Castro Valley; it’s always been our long-term parking go-to. But the BART blue line trains weren’t running with regularity and it took us almost as long to fly across the country as it did to get from SFO to Modesto. Thanks, BART.

We were due to visit Leah, here from the UK, the next day. Because it had been a few days, I took a Covid test. Zero surprise it came back positive. So, no visiting friends and no Concert in the Park tonight. I couldn’t even tell you if I have any symptoms, because jet lag always hits me like a ton of bricks, and this time was no different. I’m chalking my extreme fatigue up to the jet lag vs. the Covid, although I guess it could be a combination of the two. In a very small way, this isn’t a bad thing, because Paula’s working theory was that I had Covid first and gave it to her. Trust me, folks, this is better. 😉

I brought back several Camino-related souvenirs. The most valuable are my credential (pictured above), my Compostela, my certificate of distance, and my rock from the O Cebreiro pilgrim’s mass and blessing. The rock and my scallop shell worn on my backpack are on our entertainment center; they’ll stay there unless we come up with a better place. The papers are probably going to be framed. Yeah, they’re of value to me. I wanted to do something different for our vacation, and this certainly qualified, but there’s an end game here as well, there’s a goal. And walking through that tunnel past the bagpiper and into the plaza to see Paula and the Cathedral was an amazing moment for me. Also, it’s freaking tough. As a member of a few Camino Facebook groups, nobody talks about how tough it is. In two weeks, I hit almost 450,000 steps. I left our FitBit charger in one of our rooms and we never got it back (it was found but lost in the horrible Spanish postal system) and it finally died on the final day of walking. My phone says I went 25,000 steps that day, so we’re using that. And also, nothing about Spain is flat.

One of the hottest Camino discussion topics has been: Should you walk with a group of friends, as a couple, or alone? In some ways, I walked two different Caminos. Paula and I walked together for the first 10 days, then I walked alone for the final four days. Paula is a slower walker than myself, and while I think we got into a nice groove for much of our walk together, there were times we walked alone. We talked with at least one other couple in that same boat, and the joke was the faster walker would get out to big leads, wait up and get a big rest, then immediately start walking again once the slower walker caught up. “Where’s OUR rest?” One of the slower walkers joked. Dear reader, I’m here to tell you I was 100% guilty of that. 😉 But also, I wanted Paula there for our final four days. Sure, I wasn’t alone; my Camino Family picked me up every day and night. But it was different.

And all that being said, this was still maybe the best trip I’ve taken. We met amazing people in an incredible country while putting our bodies through difficult trials. There’s one moment I’ll always remember, very early in our trip; we were outside of Astorga, I think in Santa Catalina de Somoza. It was Second Breakfast at this small bar and we’d just met Korean Actress, who was fending off one of the Italian Bros. Maria from Germany was there, as were the women from Texas/Kansas/Missouri. I’d taken one last piece of bread and was eating it was we were walking, and our new friends were wishing the people from California well. “Paula,” I said, “I feel like this is exactly where I should be.” And it really was.

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