the del Norte/Primitivo route.
Spain: From Irun to Santiago de Compostela, 500 miles.
Post 36; July 7, 2016, Thursday.
Day 23: Pola de Siero to Oviedo. On The Camino Primitivo. Technically, STAGE 2 of The Camino Primitivo as in the Perazzoli/Whitson guide book.
It’s with the Camino: the answer.
On several occasions today, as we trekked from Pola de Siero to Oviedo (the true start of The Camino Primitivo), some of us had to say in answer to a question about just about anything: It’s with the Camino. The answer comes in time with the step by step meditation of walking the Camino. And in life it’s the same, assuming you can be successful in taking the Camino home with you. I think I can.
And so, we walked out together from the rather just-fine-as-it-is Pola de Siero Albergue de Peregrinos (6 Euro, 18 beds, Kitchen, bunk beds, and a few amenities), and started the short 16.5 trek to Oviedo, knowing that in Oviedo the true Camino Primitivo will start. Indeed, for me, it will start the minute I reach the square of the great Oviedo Cathedral, a cathedral that only took about 800 years to construct (or more) depending on who you talk to. The team walking together, roughly, at any given time on the path was: Carlos de la Camara (the Great, period), Leo Schlienger (the great Frenchman, Hindu, and monk), Willie Ochs (the great and “educated” German), Anton from Holland, Ronald from Belgium (I think), Hanna (yes Hanna) from Belgium, Teresa the misty waif, and a few others, and . . . just me. And what a great day, and mix of people. Talking and walking/trekking is easy, insightful, good, and the most healthy (talking) you can have. There’s this feeling this morning as we walked that we only have about 12 to 14 more days of walking/trekking left. And so, people are happy, things are getting resolved, things that needed to come up, came up, and are getting resolved, and . . . the good news is, there’s more time, and there is . . . Santiago. And, Santiago de Compostela. Some of us at first, and then all of us eventually, will go to confession in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, because some of us already know that when an ancient monk or priest, who has talked to pilgrims for decades, looks into your eyes, you can ask him anything, and he will give you an answer and direct you for an answer, and help you know how to confirm your answer . . . and you will know
. . . peace.
So, even the atheists, and those mad at God, and those looking for God, will realize why they were on the Camino in the first place, and when you know something deep down in your heart, and get such a profound confirmation, you are changed for life. And so we trekked on today.
And yes, I could again mention the beautiful towns, the beautiful countryside, the beautiful animals everywhere, beauty beauty beauty, but, it is the people that are so beautiful on the Camino, and you know you are being so blessed to meet these people brought together by their own singular calling to walk the Camino and with planning beyond their control and doing.
And so, everyone of us today, had at some point confirmed to leave now behind us, the Camino del Norte, and head inward, we’re leaving the northern coast of Spain, to walk The Camino Primitivo that everyone says in harder, the hardest of all the Caminos, and so we too head inward and know we want to do it, are excited about it, and hope we can continue to meet up, run into each other, talk, work on things, help each other, guide each other, and love life. This was not planned. So we think.
. . .
When you walk with such a great group of people, time flies, and before you know it, you are there: Oviedo, and I’m standing in front of the great Oviedo Cathedral. I just took a tour with Carlos, Leo, and Willie, and I’ve decided to come again tomorrow and do it again. We have walked a long way today, and it’s time to find where we are going to stay, buy supplies, food, and get off our feet. We stop in a café. Leo seems to be hurting the most. I would say, just a little run down, blisters, fatigue, and some basic symptoms. One foot hurts so much, we stop at a Pharmacia and get some blister care stuff, and meds. Again, for the record, I want to tell people that the Camino is really hard, I don’t care what anyone says. A week ago, we lost a young friend, 21 years old, who left the Camino, dispirited, from how hard it is, not liking the albergues, and with blisters, sore feet and legs, a twisted knee, and just tired of it all. We all understood. It happens. But almost all of us carry on. With just about the same, more or less, issues and ailments. I’ve been nursing a bad knee since a fall coming into Pobeña, on a really hard rainy day, cold, windy, and by myself, totally wiped out. And then—attacked by mosquitos while trying to sleep that night, and not being able to sleep. But, I found the strength to go on. All I can say is that I’ve seen some movies about the Camino, and read the books, and they are true. But, they barely touch on how hard it is, and the physical demands it makes on your mind and body.
And, there’s an answer for all that:
It’s with the Camino.
. . .