Monday, March 1, 2021

El Camino - The Way #13

This first day - starting on the walking portion of The Camino - we began with a prayer - Lord as we begin this time of pilgrimage, may You be with us, keep us safe, guide our feet as we walk to reverence the bones of Your disciple Saint James - Amen.  Starting fresh - breakfast in our stomachs - excitement on our faces - hearts filled with joy - we began. **Note - now that we are sharing our Camino experience more pictures will be included.  As you continue your Lenten journey - please begin each day with a prayer - dot your day with prayer - conclude your day with prayer. 

Our Camino - August 26, 2013 - October 1, 2013
Arlene's Smile Says It All - The Shell At Her Feet - Our Start

This section of The Camino passing through Pamplona - famous for the Running of the Bulls - paved solid path - soon to turn into gravel - rocks - rough terrain.  Only a few kilometers outside town we met our first pilgrim - sitting in the grass - taking a break - having started in France before she walked over the Pyrenees mountain into Spain past Roncesvalles to Pamplona.  We chatted a bit then headed to our first challenge.  As shown in the next photo - we found ourselves walking a gravel trail through what I call - the back yards of Northern Spain - the current Camino path having been revised over the years to allow for development of towns - roads - keeping as close to the original trail as possible while keeping pilgrims off the streets and highways.  We found our first Camino pillar just outside town.  As we walk our Lenten journey - we are constantly on the look out for unanticipated blessings. 

The Concrete Marker

Depending on the journey - when - where - always good to stop - take a break - a sip of water - coffee - to give your mind - body time to absorb whatever you are experiencing.

Break Time - Hay bales to rest on 

What goes up must come down and vice versa. The Camino trail follows the mountain lines - mostly over the peaks and down through the valleys.  Any experienced thru hiker will tell you that going down hill always harder on the hips and knees than going up hill.  Lent is a string of up hill battles - starting - staying with it - finding a place to stop.

The Ups & Downs of the Trail 

We thought arriving at this point was our first challenge of the Camino - as it was our first long ascent up the mountain to this place - little did we know a much larger challenge was just ahead

Alto de Peron 
A sculpture dedicated to Pilgrims either on foot or on horseback who have walked the Camino

Going downhill - always harder than going up hill - especially when the path is filled with tons of round rolling rocks that make walking treacherous.  We observed pilgrims without trekking poles losing their balance - seeing more than one with elbows -  knees - bandaged from their fall. 

Not So Smooth Walking on Rolling Rocks - Downhill Danger

Happily that stretch was only about one kilometer long before we returned to much better terrain.  It was about that time I had developed my first blister on my foot and needed a place to stop and rest.  Turning the corner of the trail we spied an albergue - a series of hostels reserved only for pilgrims - low cost places mostly dormitory styled sleeping places for men and women - a shower and a bed for €10 a night per person.  Unfortunately when we asked about beds - told they were full up.  I needed to definitely stop for the night - happily they had a private room with a queen bed for €20 a night - we jumped at it - private bath - room just what we needed. 

The First of Our Albergues (Pilgrim Hostel)  697 Km Left

Our first day walking - 28 kilometers - private room/bath - great dinner at their restaurant -  one blister - a very productive day - easily dozens of prayers said while walking - a success.  Tomorrow - learning how to cope with a blister - more adventures await.  Every Lenten journey a new experience - never the same - always surprises - God with us - all the way.

Deacon Dale