Current location: Burgos
Distance walked: 292 km
Distance to Santiago: 485 km
It’s a long way to Santiago…
To get to Burgos, we had to walk 14 consecutive days. Instead of taking “rest days”, we opted for some shorter walks which kept us in the beat of the daily routine.
One of the highlights of the Camino are the people you meet along the way and so far, we’ve met a truly colourful bunch. They come from all over the world and walk for a plethora of reasons.
Long gone are the days when the Way was solely a religious undertaking. Sure, you will at times encounter a pilgrim gently reciting their devotions whilst gliding a rosary’s beads through their fingers. But equally, you may see a health enthusiast cycling past you faster than you can say “Buen Camino”, a group of retirees pushing their own boundaries decked out with the latest gear and leaving before the rooster crows, adventure seekers on their gap year switching walking partners every couple of days, lone bachelors looking for some peace and quiet, middle aged women searching for inspiration and mostly, Spaniards completing the Camino in stages, year after year. Whomever you happen to share a meal or a mile with, they are for the most part friendly, open and inquisitive.
With every encounter, you get to know a person quite well, as conversations tend to skip banalities and dive right into the marrow of the subject matter. One thing is certain: there is never a dull moment – from the sweet smell of the morning dew, to the cool touch of the evening’s air, you are surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature and the delight of new encounters.
In a few days, I will bid farewell to Dan, who has been my Camino compadre for the past two weeks and I will be welcoming Mélanie with whom I will continue the walk.
It is she who this January during our trip to the Scottish highlands, suggested that we undertake this exciting challenge. Nine months later and here we are, about to commence our greatest adventure together to date.
In recent days, I sent Mel a few last-minute emails with recommendations on what to bring and how to best keep the weight of the pack down. Unsurprisingly, she is perfectly well prepared with a pack that weighs less than 7kg – which is incredibly good considering that you literally live out of that pack for weeks.
To give you an idea, before I left London, my backpack weighed just under 8 kg, which is a good 2 kg under the recommended maximum weight for the walk. Yet, from the very first day I felt that even this was too much and with an urgency that only an achy back can inspire, I got rid of my mini bottle of conditioner and other toiletries, a t-shirt, I ripped out the redundant pages of my guidebook and threw out any little bits and pieces that were not completely and utterly required for my daily routine. As the days progressed I got rid of even more things.
As it stands, my backpack contains the following:
*A lightweight summer sleeping bag
*A rain jacket
*2 camisoles, 1 t-shirt, 2 long sleeve light tops, shorts, leggings, 2 pairs of socks and a very limited amount of underwear.
*A shawl and 2 bandanas
*One gentle wash which I use for hair, face and body, gentle cream, sun cream, toothpaste and toothbrush, comb, earplugs, tiny first aid kit, quick dry towel which I cut into a very small size and lip balm
*A small laundry detergent, tupperware container, water bottle, Swiss army knife and kitchen towel
* Flip flops and hiking boots
* Small camera, iPad mini, phone (never used…) one charger and corresponding cables as well as an adaptor
* A guidebook, journal and little notebook and pen
Food is bought daily and only a very limited amount is carried in the pack. Carry less and bring back more memories. Unencumbered by “stuff” I suddenly feel so much freer. Why did I use 4 products in the shower before? How many pieces of clothing do I really need? What is the value of choice when it eats up all our time? This may not be a religious walk for me, but it most certainly is deepening my belief that it is in simplicity that I find most creativity and peace.
And so here we are, resting in a cozy little hotel on a quaint and lovely street of Burgos, enjoying the pace of life which the locals seem to adopt – good food, even better wine, long slow walks in the park and of course, the 2 to 4 pm siesta (we’re taking this last cultural aspect VERY seriously….)
Hope that you enjoy some of the pictures of the last few days!