Sunday, October 28, 2018

We're Back, Sort of...

At the iconic Alto de Perdon, made famous in "The Way" movie
We are physically back in Salem after being gone from August 19 to October 25.  But our minds are still on the Camino in Spain.  It’s been three weeks since we arrived in Santiago, walking most of the 500 miles from St. Jean Pied in France.  So much of our waking thoughts and night-time dreams are still on the Camino.

“How was it?” you might ask.  Just like our coming home from the Peace Corps in 1980, we’re at a loss for choice words or a brief sentence to describe our experience to someone who hasn’t done it.  But so far, our three best words are special, unique, and satisfying.   If you happened to catch some or all of our posts on Facebook or Tumblr, you can probably see how these words fit.  It was a special time and experience for us.  The Camino, with its 1200-year old history and infrastructure, is unique in the world and unique from all of our other travels.  And we both found it immensely satisfying in so many ways.

Our shadows pointed the
way to Santiago each morning
So did these!
Throughout the walk we were constantly filled with thoughts of gratitude about everything, including that we were able to do this.  We thought about so many people we've known in our lives.  We were in awe of the early pilgrims and developed a deep sense of  Western human history.  We enjoyed the social aspects of it, the beauty, the culture, and above all, the simplicity.  And the food was great, especially knowing that everything we ate would be quickly burned off.

In retrospect, it wasn’t that hard physically (except when in pain).  Just one step at a time, one day at a time, walking to the metronome beat of our walking sticks.  Just get up and walk—that was our day job (plus laundry, eating, drinking, and finding a place to stay).

We ran the risk of over anticipating this trip.  Fortunately, it still vastly exceeded our expectations.  We were glad we made it all the way, but we are sad, knowing it can never be replicated again—a good metaphor for life itself.  A good reason to savor every minute of the present.

Our pilgrim credentials--each night a new stamp; two per day on
the last 60 miles.
I’ll have a link to a consolidated blog and curated photos in the near future.  Please check this site in a week or so.  Meanwhile, you can see our daily posts and photos on my Facebook page or on Tumblr at our Retirement Adventures website.

Before:  St. Jean Pied August 29
After: Santiago de Compostela
October 6

Our constant companions, who never gave us a
single blister.  We left them in Santiago and Seville.