Distance traveled in Week 2
Week 2 has been a week of healing, new pains, and settling into the routine of walking for us. We walked a total of 153.5 km this week, putting in bigger days than last week. We are still mesmerized by the beauty that surrounds us each day (except for the concrete city days... those can't really be described as beautiful).
We walked through miles and miles of vineyards this week
Don't forget about our camino challenge for you
! Keep challenging yourself to be a little healthier each day. We have raised $170 for the Canadian Diabetes Association
this week and would like to see the total continue to increase as we continue to walk.
We've walked past millions of poppies (literally) in the last few weeks
Camino Summary to Date:
Money Raised for the Canadian Diabetes Association:
Summary of Week 2:
Los Arcos - Viana (19.5 km)
Viana - Navarrete (21.5 km)
Navarrete - Azofra (22.5 km)
Azofra - Redecilla del Camino (27 km)
Redecilla del Camino - Villafranca Montes de Oca (25 km)
Villafranca Montes de Oca - Atapuerca (19 km)
Atapuerca - Burgos (19 km)
Hanging out by the church in Villafranca Montes de Oca
It seems like only yesterday that I was writing my Week 1 reflection, and here we are... finished Week 2! Time is really flying by for us on the Camino. Each day actually feels longer than usual (between the walking portion and the resting portion of our day, it feels like we live two days for each day gone by) and yet, somehow, when you put them all together they are gone in a flash.
Physically, this has been a slightly more challenging week for me. While each day of walking gets easier and easier (20 km feels like a short, easy day for me now), my knee has been acting up more than I would like. What started as a slow ache became a sharp pain each step I took (particularly when trodding downhill). Happily, through ample rest in the afternoons and the purchase of a knee brace, it's been improving little by little.
Mentally, I don't think I've ever been in a better place than I am right now. First and foremost, I am so full of joy. And, over the past couple of weeks, I have really come to understand what it means to truely experience each moment, without taking anything for granted. Many people that walk the Camino talk about how much thinking gets done, but I've found that just taking in my surroundings consumes most of my attention most of the time. For me, the thinking and reflection part comes with the rest times after walking. As someone who can have a short temper at times (especially when I'm hungry or uncomfortable... just ask Mike), I feel like I'm really learning to get past immediate annoyances and just focus on enjoying the moment.
How can you not be totally absorbed in scenery like this?
I can't reflect on this week without mentioning the amazing people we've met along the way. Walking the Camino would not be the same without the other pelegrinos (pilgrims) that surround us. I'm not just talking about the snorers that interrupt my sleep in the dorm rooms, but I mean the people that you make connections with, whether you share a common language or not. We met a 74 year old French woman, Marie, that is walking the Camino by herself (and typically outpacing us each day). Even though she doesn't speak a word of English and we don't speak more than a few very basic words of French (merci and bonjour are basically the extent of it), she has taken us under her wing. She finds me each night in my dorm bed to rub some of her ointment into my sore knee, and, through a lot of pointing, gesturing, and smiling, asks about Mike's feet each day. She literally applauds us when we meet her in a new town, happy to see our injuries haven't kept us back. She is just one of the inspiring people we have met on the Camino that make each day special.
Looking like a pilgrim
It's been a good week.
First of all, it's been a week of culinary discovery for us. Early in the week, when the weather was cool and wet (we walked three days through continuous rain), I made some onion and leek soup. It was just the right thing at just the right time. It hit the spot perfectly, and I expect we'll be eating it again soon. We have also tried out a delicious blue cheese cream sauce recipe for pasta that we learned from a pair of French cyclists. And we've discovered sheep's cheese, which is just so darn good.
And what goes better with food than wine? We discovered our new favourite (and most expensive, at 3 Euros a bottle) Spanish wine. It's a Crianza from the Rioja region. It's a special red. Special because of the way it's made. The wine in this area is first aged for one year in oak barrels, and then aged another year in the bottle giving it a unique, well blended taste. If you want to try it at home, I wish you the best of luck finding it. I think all of the Crianza from the Rioja region is going to be good, just watch out for the bottles that say "joven" (young). They won't have gone through the aging process.
On the walking front, my blisters healed up. They were only really really painful for about four days (~100km). Now I hardly notice them, and that makes a world of difference.
Vineyards and a typical small Spanish pueblo
With mostly healed feet, I've had a bit better luck thinking while I walk. When I started in on the Camino, I expected to have more time than I could ever want to just think. To my surprise, this hasn't quite been the case. At first, everything was so beautiful that it took just about all of my attention just to look around and appreciate it. Then, when it was so quiet, I was re-discovering music on my MP3 player. That too demanded a large chunk of my mental attention. Then came the blisters who were by far the worst offenders, making every step a painful distraction. But this week, I've been able to think.
I really do appreciate how lucky I am to be where I am, doing what I'm doing, with the love of my life, Ashley. In fact this whole last week I've been unable to stop thinking "Wow. I love my life".
Miles and miles to think
I've also been thinking a lot about home. I'm really starting to miss everyone, karate, board games, our cat... Those precious thoughts of home inevitably lead me to thinking about what the heck I'm going to do with myself when this trip is all over, if it ever does end. And so far I've come to the conclusion that I still don't have a clue. I've been entertaining ideas of organic farming, becoming a baker, teaching English in a foreign country, instructing SCUBA, writing, building off-grid recycled housing - and those are just the ones I'm still interested in. I've already been able to cross off traditional forms of engineering and computer programming from the list on this trip.
There's also the more immediate questions of where do we go after Santiago? Do we keep walking? I hear you can take any of the camino routes in reverse. Rent an apartment in Portugal or Morocco? WWOOF in Austria, Switzerland, Egypt, or Turkey? Tour through the major tourist cities like Rome, Venice, Berlin, and Amsterdam? Summer in Croatia, Serbia, or Macedonia? It's so confusing!
Walking is simple, that's why I think I like it so much. As far as travel is concerned, it's relatively stress free. I always know ahead of time where I'm going to end up. I don't have to plan a thing, just read a couple of paragraphs from our guide book and walk. I guess it's a good thing we still have three weeks or so of the Camino for me to think things through...
Want to read more about our Camino? Check it out…
Our Camino, Your Camino… Our Challenge to You
Camino de Santiago Week 1 – Beautiful Landscapes & Unexpected Challenges
Church at sunrise
Camino de Santiago Week 2 – Getting Past the Pain
Camino de Santiago Week 3 – Feels a Lot Like Home
Camino de Santiago Week 4 – Easy Walking
Camino de Santiago – We Made It to Santiago, But We’re Not Finished Yet!
Camino de Santiago by the Numbers – Our Budget and Stats
Guide to the Camino de Santiago