October 2013

Thumbnail image for Reflections on the Camino (or, a love letter to walking)

Reflections on the Camino (or, a love letter to walking)

by Kim October 29, 2013

If this were a book I suppose it would end with some grand take-away message. But I don’t have one. The Camino was hard and it was beautiful and the people I met were amazing. All I know for sure about the Camino is that I don’t know the impact of it yet. I know it was profound in its way but I can’t yet say what that way was. I know the Camino mattered. I know it was special. But I think it will be a long time before I can look back and explain exactly how.

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Thumbnail image for I made it to Santiago de Compostela!

I made it to Santiago de Compostela!

by Kim October 21, 2013

My heart rate picked up. I was so close! 500 miles of walking and only five minutes remained. The rain was coming down in sheets and drops dripped from my eyelashes and nose. My legs and feet were soaked. I wound my way through cobbled streets and up a small hill. The granite spires of the Cathedral came into view. I gasped. “There it is!”

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Thumbnail image for Camino day 30 Melide to Arca

Camino day 30 Melide to Arca

by Kim October 20, 2013

I’m not a religious person but I do have a strong faith in a higher spirit, an energy, which I call God. So I’ve thought a lot about what it means to live life in honor of God. I don’t have a clear vision of what this looks like but I do know that it has something to do with living with an open heart.

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Thumbnail image for Camino day 29 Gonzar to Melide

Camino day 29 Gonzar to Melide

by Kim October 19, 2013

A few hours into the walk something amazing happened. The rain stopped. The sun shone intermittently from behind the clouds. My fingers and toes began to unfreeze. “It’s a Camino miracle!” I said to the cows in the field. They looked up at me but did not even recognize this act of divine intervention with a moo.

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Thumbnail image for Camino day 28 Barbadelo to Gonzar

Camino day 28 Barbadelo to Gonzar

by Kim October 19, 2013

There are so many new people on the trail now that I am nearing Santiago. I can tell that they are new because their clothes are clean, their shoes are clean, their bags are clean, and they all complain of blisters. I can only imagine how I must smell as I pass them.

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Thumbnail image for Camino day 27 Triacastela to Barbadelo

Camino day 27 Triacastela to Barbadelo

by Kim October 17, 2013

The walk was stunning, through pastoral farmland and past mossy stone walls. Today felt more like walking through Ireland than Spain. I’ve never been to Ireland but Irish John, another pilgrim I’m keeping time with, told me so. I believe it.

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Thumbnail image for Camino day 26 O Cebreiro to Triacastela

Camino day 26 O Cebreiro to Triacastela

by Kim October 16, 2013

It was a beautiful walk today with stunning mountain views and frequent visits to tiny Galician villages. My foot is still bothering me so I stopped frequently to rest it. I’ve self-diagnosed the pain as some sort of tendonitis.

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Thumbnail image for Camino day 25 Villafranca to O Cebreiro

Camino day 25 Villafranca to O Cebreiro

by Kim October 15, 2013

Eventually the rain won out. It penetrated my shoes and my pants. My underwear was wet. My socks were sopping. I was growing angry as I do when I am miserable and there is no end in sight.

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Thumbnail image for Camino day 24 Ponferrada to Villafranca

Camino day 24 Ponferrada to Villafranca

by Kim October 14, 2013

The day dawned gray and threatened rain. I wrapped my things in plastic bags and put my raincoat on. I walked. Two hours later I stopped for coffee in a tiny village. I sat down at a table with a woman from Maryland. “Are you losing weight?” she asked me. I like people that cut the crap and get to the important questions. “Yes,” I said. “I love it!”

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Thumbnail image for Camino day 23 Foncebadon to Ponferrada

Camino day 23 Foncebadon to Ponferrada

by Kim October 13, 2013

There were no snorers last night. In exchange, I got a room full of farters. One person farted machine-gun style (fart-fart-fart-fart-fart) all night long. Another let out long, blowing puffs of flatulence. I took my fingers out of my ears and shoved them in my nose.

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Thumbnail image for Camino day 22 Astorga to Foncebadon

Camino day 22 Astorga to Foncebadon

by Kim October 13, 2013

If someone would like to make a million dollars might I suggest inventing earplugs that work? I’ve tried three different kinds now, including the waxed variety which are supposedly the best, with no success.

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Thumbnail image for Camino day 21 Villavante to Astorga

Camino day 21 Villavante to Astorga

by Kim October 11, 2013

The sun came up subtly and I could tell that it would be a gray day. I walked and walked, lost in thought, just doing whatever the yellow arrows told me to do. If only everything in life were so straightforward.

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Thumbnail image for Camino day 20 Leon to Villavante

Camino day 20 Leon to Villavante

by Kim October 10, 2013

I left Leon in high spirits and they’ve stayed high all day long. I’m glad that I’ve learned to listen to what I need. If I want time alone, take it. It’s so simple. Yet how many times in my past have I neglected my own desires in order to satisfy others?

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Thumbnail image for Camino day 19 Mansilla de las Mulas to Leon

Camino day 19 Mansilla de las Mulas to Leon

by Kim October 9, 2013

I was in the worst mood this morning. I know why this time. It has something to do with my female hormones and the fact that I had a terrible sleep last night. The lady in the bunk below me snored like she earned a degree in it.

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Thumbnail image for Camino day 18 Sahagun to Mansilla de las Mulas

Camino day 18 Sahagun to Mansilla de las Mulas

by Kim October 8, 2013

Somehow, by lucky accident, I ended up on an alternative route as I navigated myself out of town in the darkness this morning. Because I turned left when everyone else turned right, I spent the day walking in utter solitude, save from the occasional farmer in the fields. I was blissfully happy to be alone out there in that wide-open space and thankful to be feeling well again.

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Thumbnail image for Camino days 16 and 17 Carrion de los Condes to Sahagun

Camino days 16 and 17 Carrion de los Condes to Sahagun

by Kim October 7, 2013

I crunch along the gravel road in silence until a kind South Korean man I’d met a few days earlier calls out to me, “Hello Miss Oregon!” I turn to acknowledge him and he waves, saying, “I recognized you by your behind.” I giggle a little, though I know what he means, and he speeds by me with a smile and disappears out of sight.

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