Walk?" Is the question I'll ask people after they display an interest in doing the Camino de Santiago. Their answers are varied but sort of along these lines. "Sure, I love to walk. I walk to the grocery store, sometimes the Post Office. I'll even walk to a bar!" I'll nod my head in a caring manner, then I'll give them the Camino wake up call.
There will be days when you look at your watch and see three hours has elapsed since you left in the morning. You'll consult your map and realize you're not half way to your destination. That's a lot of walking.
Egghead scientists have figured out there's approximately 2,000 steps/mile. The average American shambles along for 5,117 steps/day. (NY Times, October, 2010). A measly 2.5 plus miles. At this rate, one would be in Santiago a light year from their start-up date. Today, I had a Lite day of Camino-ing. A mere 18,000 steps-give or take a few.
Pilgrims will ooze sentiment about the spiritual nature of the Camino. Bullpoop! This Pilgrimage is a marathon-a long distance physical ordeal. People who are more adept at pushing on a gas pedal soon discover the reality of their feet pounding the pavement, cobblestones and dusty trails over and over and....
Wait! There's more! Pilgrims are burdened down with a cumbersome backpack. People learn quickly there are few things more difficult than going up a hill with weight on your back. I've noticed a lot of brand new backpacks and walking sticks to match the still-fresh REI wardrobe. For many, all this walking is a new life experience. I'm sure many are asking themselves, "When does the spiritually kick in?"
Like I've mentioned in the past, this Camino sports an older crowd. There's a lot of mincing steps, grimaced looks, knee braces and noticeable limps out there. For these folks arriving in Santiago de Compostela will be an ultimate life goal achievement. And rightfully so. Every Pilgrim should be proud of this accomplishment.
Maybe the spiritual message is: Life is a marathon, not a sprint.
As for me, I've developed a bothersome but not debilitating shin splint. I've decided to take more time on this Camino. My daily mileages will be less. I have plenty of time. Remember, I don't have a return ticket to the US.
Santiago de Compostela has been around since the 10th century. I reckon, it'll still be there a month or so from now.
From Santo Domingo de la Calzada,
It's Sunday and siesta time...
Last photo: Yes! Those are buzzards circling us Pilgrims.