I’ve been posting tons of pictures privately to a select number of people on Facebook (more on that in a future post). Those seeing the pictures will all agree I have enjoyed some amazing vistas. By all appearances it is a fabulous vacation in Spain.
While I have had moments of fun and have enjoyed countless vistas I never even took a picture of, I’m here to tell you the Camino de Santiago is in no way a vacation, at least not in the sleep-in and visit historic sites or hang out by the pool kind of vacation. I never expected it would be.
If you are contemplating this journey, please don’t minimize the walk. My pack with water weighs in around 20 lbs. This is far above the recommended weight of 10% of your ideal body weight. Don’t minimize how walking with your pack day-in and day-out for 30+ days will make you feel. Now add distance which at any speed will take time. On average we are walking at least 6 hours a day including small breaks to cover at least 13 miles (20 to 22 k per day).
Our first strong day of walking where we felt good and enjoyed the day was from Nájera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada, our twelfth day (eleventh walking). The very next day, my body told me I was crazy and I struggled with the 22.7 k to Belorado. It was the walk into Burgos via the river that re-energized me. In fact, we even stopped and prepared lunch with our feet in the frigid water, which felt awesome on our tired feet. That day we walked 23 k and still made it to our hotel (treat for our impending rest day) by 12:30 pm.
We got in our room, refreshed and headed right out to visit the Human Evolution Museum (we passed Atapuerca in the a.m. and this museum is where the discoveries of the site of the earliest human beings in Europe are on display) and the Catedral de Santa María de Burgos. After which we enjoyed a tapas smorguishboard. We are sure that waiter thought we were insane. The next day we again behaved like tourist and explored the beautiful city of Burgos. We even enjoyed a fabulous lunch at Ojeda.
I tell you this because it was day sixteen (fifteen of walking) before real fun was had. If you are thinking about it, please manage your expectations.
Smarter people than me have said the first part of the Camino is all about the body. It’s all about your aches, pains and blisters. The second part is about the mind. I guess I’m there now. The last part is about the soul. We shall see…
I’m happy to say, our Camino turned into some fun in Burgos. I’m here hoping it’s a trend.