40 kilometres of love to Santiago

I involuntarily started my walk in the early hours of the morning from Melide after a group of young men began packing their back packs at 4 am in the morning, waking everyone in the Albergue in the process.

‘Learn to be tolerant. Don’t go into anger,’ I had to tell myself repeatedly. And I couldn’t be angry because they kept smiling and wishing me Buen Camino!

In Melide the coastal and primitive  routes merge into the Camino Frances – the main route from St. Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago.

In the mid 1980s only about a dozen pilgrims walked the Camino Frances annually. Last year the figure was about 150,000 and the figures are still rising. The Camino is meanwhile an economic factor in Spain with countless bars, cafes and albergues on the main route.

After spending the past 11 days sometimes walking the Camino Primitivo for hours in solitude, the Camino Frances is a bit of a shock. 

So today was a real lesson in staying in my own walking rhythm, in my own alignment despite the crowds racing to get to Santiago.

Thoughts during the day:

  • How often are we pulled off our path by others?
  • How often do we just follow the crowd without deeper thought?
  • Sometimes taking a deliberate step backward or to change the pace is the answer.

I had a nice chat to a young girl who is walking the Camino the first time with her grandmother. She was not feeling well. The Camino has been working on her throwing up many questions about life. It won’t be her last Camino. She is already making plans about walking again after finishing school next year.

I’ve lost most of the really nice people I bonded with on the Camino Primitivo. But we’ve been exchanging messages. We will all meet again at the Cathedral in Santiago tomorrow at 1 pm!

Reino Gevers – coach, trainer, author