Tuesday, March 20, 2018

In Spain: Walking El Camino, part cuatro

I think it's interesting the way we interact with other people. I've met people that I've connected with in ways I didn't expect; new friends and interesting strangers. My fellow pilgrim Sam Stevens has more in common with me than I would ever know passing him in the hallways.  
The walk is tough sometimes. Whether the rain is relentless or my feet refuse to cooperate, the reward of satisfaction distracts. I've seen great views and walked through dope little towns. I've had my fair share of jamón Serrano and tortillas de patatas, and know the preferred beverage of everyone in the group. 
The trip has been one I'll always remember.
~Matt Larson

When I first signed up for the Camino trip, I can confidently say that I did not believe that I could actually walk the 70 miles to Santiago de Compostela. It is also incomprehensible that we are also almost finished with our journey. What I can say, without a doubt, is that I am not the most religious person. This journey however, has really helped me to focus my energy and to stop and reflect for a moment.  Mindfulness is something that I have struggled with, and in our fast paced society it is not usually practiced. Walking along the dirt paths of the Camino, birds chirping, streams bubbling, and the countless animals barking, mooing, and meowing have reminded me of the beauty of the nature that surrounds us pilgrims. To say that I have remained the same person as I was at the beginning of this trip, I would be lying. Over these past six days, I have pushed my physical and mental limits in ways I never could have imagined. I have stepped greatly out of my comfort zone, and I have created new bonds with fellow students, whom I would see in the hallways, but I never had the privilege of getting to know. I know we have a few days more together, but I will miss our time together. From meditating on the trail, to laughing as a group over our café stops, translating Spanish for others, and playing cards late into the evening, I have had the time of my life on this Camino.
~Sam Kadlec

The penultimate day begins: Palas de Rei to Pedrouzo, and...
...into the Spanish countryside again.

Then, a stop at a memorial for lost travelers...
...and out of the forest into one of hundreds of Spanish hamlets.
Nikki leads the crew through one of our
many forests.
A break for café con leche, tortilla de patatas, and more
...plus, a break for the feet.

Sam K. makes a new friend who followed her briefly
into a dark forest...until his Mom hauled him back home.

A long pause along "The Wall of Wisdom" or
"El Muro de la Sabiduría."

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