On On!

All pilgrims must find their Camino pace. And this pace varies by day and by time of day. It can change depending on who you might be walking with. For example, my pace has slowed down over the past two days. My original pace, especially when walking solo, was too fast to be sustainable over the long run. It felt frantic. Life is slower on the Camino and my pace was out of sync. My mind was slowing down but my pace was not. What works in Texas or California may not be appropriate for the Camino.

For example, I departed Logroño with Chris, a Canadian from Vancouver who lived in Bangkok and picked up his tailor made suit from Jesse at Rajawongse at the same time that George Bush had his final fitting. We discussed how finding one’s way out of town in darkness is like a hash run (as in Hash House Harriers). But his pace was slower than my new slow pace. This is neither good nor bad, just different. I then walked with Scott from Detroit whose wife injured herself and was taking a taxi to Ventosa where they would stay the night. Our paces were practically the same. After breakfast in Ventosa, I walked with young Flores, a Belgian lad who prefers second division football clubs because they have not been ruined by money and high expectations, and Tiffany, from Victoria, who likes to drink fresh orange juice daily and whose son is getting married in December. Flores had a very quick pace, but by carrying on a conversation among the three of us, we were all three able to keep up, without feeling rushed. However, when I came to the big Norwegian fellow who had been in the south of Spain drinking too much – and thus decided to try something healthier- my pace slowed to his stroll. He had a parasol, was listening to music and was wearing flip flops. He was definitely not in a hurry. He drifted on as I stopped at a troubadour in a shady spot. He played what he claimed was an age-old folk song of the trail. He was a Woody Guthrie of the Camino. I then continued on with Jim, another Belgian, and again we had a steady not-too-fast pace. We didn’t talk much. As I came close to the end, I came across Hank, a South Korean who is on the verge of retiring and lives in New York City, but also has a place in Ho Chi Minh City, where his son and daughter are running a ladies fashion clothing manufacturing shop. I slowed down to match his pace until we came to the park just outside Najera where we rested, drank water and shared some almonds.

My pace will vary but my average pace going forward will likely be less than the pace the first several days. I think it takes everyone a few days to “find their pace” on the Camino. Hey, just like in real life!

This is Jean Claude who is doing the Camino with Clea. He has done several long likes in France with his donkey. He packs enough equipment to camp out in the country-side.
This guy had come all the way from Amsterdam with his doggie and was on day 40. There are quite a few bikes on the trail. I even saw an electric bike.
While on the subject of different conveyances, here is a guy I saw the other day with a art he pulls taking all the strain off his back – and onto his quads. Everyone’s experience on the Camino is different.
In Najera it is traditional for pilgrims to ring the bell, in anticipation of ringing the bell in Santiago (which I did t realize there was one!). I have visited many churches but this was the first mass I went to, which included the pilgrims blessing.
This is the priest who said the mass and took us back into the sacristy for our pilgrims stamps and some other gifts. He had a large plastic tank, not in the picture. I asked if that was his supply of wine. He said no, it was diesel used to fire the generator for the church electrical supply and heating water for the radiators

Tomorrow I take a day off while waiting for Lisa and going with her to Santo Domingo de La Cruzada. I want to give my feet a good rest, along with the rest of my body. Tomorrow is the feast of the Virgin of the Holy Cross. We will see what surprises that brings!

Oh, and one last item: the troubadour.

4 thoughts on “On On!

  1. Love hearing about the folks you meet. There are so many characters you meet along the way.
    I’m happy to hear you have slowed your pace. Take it slow, enjoy the views and as they say “take the time to smell the roses”.


  2. You truly are in the good graces of the many travelers of your past Pops! Making Lewis & Clark, Ibn Battuta, Marco Polo, and of course: St. James proud!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: