Camino de Madrid

Camino de Madrid
Camino de Madrid

Monday, 9 May 2011

Why I walk the Camino. Part 3

There are many reasons why people walk the Camino: religious, spiritual, personal, sportive, cultural, "natural", etc.

For some, one particular reason may be all important. A few days ago I met a woman who was astonished that I wasn't going to make a detour to see "le Christ qui sourit". She had the manner of a stern Mother Superior. And I have met people whose aim was to do the Camino as quickly as possible, walking up to 50 kilometres a day. For them it is a race.

But I think that most of us walk for all of these reasons, in our own order of priority.

Mainly, I walk the Camino for the pleasures of the moment.

There are the moments of architectural beauty - the octagonal church at Eunate, the cathedral at Auch, the abbey at Conques, the cloister at Moissac, the eglise Romane at Triacastella, and so on.

And I enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the countryside. The yellow buttercups and the broom and gorse, the blue iris and bluebells and fogetmenots, the red poppies, the pink mallow and foxgloves and herb Roberts. And the birdcalls and the rushing of the river as I walk up a valley, and even the curious sound of the turbines in the wind. And the whiff of smoke from a wood fire and the scent of wild herbs. And the loneliness of high places.

Above all, there is the fellowship and camaraderie of the road, the stuff of picaresque novels which I have always enjoyed: the pleasure of meeting and re-meeting old friends, the interesting characters one meets, and the little adventures along the way.

Included in these social pleasures are the biting tang of a cold beer at the end of the day, the gastronomic delights of a good meal, and the enduring taste of a good red. All of these are intensified on the road because we have earned them.

Walking the Camino is living a life within a life. Is it an escape? Probably.

But I am done with Camino walking now.

I grow old, I grow old. I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

The End

1 comment:

  1. Dear Charles, I got home last night, and have so much enjoyed reading your blog - with so many thoughts and comments about things we shared. So Marte, you and me walked to the same point. We had a very special stop and ending at Eunate. Then my knees were hurting so much, that I could not have walked much further! After that, I turned into a tourist, my husband came, and we had 10 enjoyable days in Spain. Thank you for our very special days together! Much love, Elisabeth