Observations, Surprises and Tiny Miracles on El Camino

imageEl Camino Scorecard.

In Logroño. 9th day of walking. 103 miles covered. No sunburn. No blisters. 1 scraped knee. (Note to self. Double knot your shoelaces.) Heat rash on legs now a nonissue. Cortisone cream helps.

I had this plan of walking 7 or 8 hours per day, snapping pictures and communing with the planet. Then, once I reached that day’s destination, I imagined settling into a nearby cafe, sipping a glass of red wine and writing reams of words on my journey that would delight and amaze you all. I imagined incorrectly. I get to town, find an Albergue, pensión or hotel, flop on my bed and put up my feet, shower, do hand wash and hang to dry, eat dinner and go to sleep. Apparently, I have sweated out all of the creative juices. I am so tired. Happy, delighted, awe-filled…and tired.

Should have called this blog “Sauntering to Santiago”.

I’m braver and stronger than I thought.

Spaniards and Italians – the most patient with my bastardization of Spanish. (Note to self: Learn Spanish immediately upon reentry.) Also the most generous with directional help.

French – The most abrupt.

Australians – The funniest.

Germans – Speak the best English.

Americans – The most grateful.

After 10 days, I think in km, liters and Euros. And I can almost tell the difference between the coins.

Learning “focus”.  A well marked trail is in the eye of the beholder. Re-learning “patience”.

In case you were wondering, American idioms do not play here. I am reminded of Jorge’s story of seeing AIRPLANE for the first time in a giant cinema in Guadalajara.  When Robert Hays & Leslie Nielsen do that bit: “Surely you can’t be serious?! I am serious and quit calling me Shirley!”, the Mexican audience went stone cold silent while Jorge and his Engligh-speaking buddies were laughing their heads off. Same difference in Spain. I am NOT funny here.

I like wearing my little house on my back. I suppose it is not the same.  I expect a mattress at every stop I make. But it is comforting to know that everything I really need, I am carrying. Now, if I can just ignore those who tell me that I don’t need all that which I am carrying.

Songs I have sung on The Way. Every GS song I ever knew. Everything from Sound of Music. Most of Godspell. A great deal of The King and I. Amazing Grace.

No one takes VISA…or AmEx. Cash is king. Which leads to…

The plural usage of ATM machine is nonexistent. Actually, any cash machine anywhere is merely a  concept.

How many baguettes and croissants and potatoes have I eaten?  How much jamon & queso can I  eat?   How much red wine (agua de Santiago) has this chardonnay drinker consumed?                                                  Where on earth are the vegetables? I pass fields of green beans and corn. Cannot seem to purchase them in a grocery or at a restaurant.

A great day CAN start without a Starbucks grande vanilla latte!

The most glorious views are revealed following the most arduous climbs.

Lord in your mercy, hear my prayer.