Hola a Todos!
This week has been extremely non-eventful compared to the last month in Spain, but I promise I am not complaining! From news articles and hearing from family, I am sending serious prayers to Florida during this crazy storm. I hope everyone is safe and that their loved ones are too.
In little La Rioja things have been great. Like I said before, it was quite the uneventful week. I have been getting into my school schedule and started tutoring classes this week. A teaching post will be coming soon about my classes and how I prepare for them for all those teachers who are interested 🙂
Anyway, today I decided to search out the Camino de Santiago. I knew that it went through my town, but I didn’t know exactly where it was. Walking through the streets of Logroño everyday, you can see the mountains and the beautiful nature from afar, but I didn’t know how to get to it. But, alas today, on a much needed escape from graduate school searching and a nasty resaca (hangover…one word…vino), I ventured out with my two friends to find the camino.
A little background about the camino before I go on: (All information from Wikipedia)
- Also known as the Way of St. James or Road to Santiago
- The Camino is a pilgrimage by Christians to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia (northwestern part of Spain)
- It is believed that St. James the Great is buried here
- People take the path as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth (or because it’s fun!)
- The scallop shell has been the symbol of the camino over centuries and has taken metaphorical and practical meanings–one being that St. James body, after being washed away after a storm, washed up on the sea undamaged with shells on his body
- It is said that St. James was martyred by beheading in Jerusalem in 44 AD from preaching the gospel and his remains were sent back to the peninsula
In all honesty, I didn’t know much about the Camino before today except for the fact that it went through Logroño and most of northern Spain. I also knew many people have been making the pilgrimage this summer and into the fall…the amount of backpackers I have seen is about as common as the cafés in Logroño, they are everywhere. But with such beautiful weather that is not typical for this time of year, I actually envy them! Ever since I went backpacking in Pennsylvania many years ago, I’ve always wanted to go again. So today, I wanted to find the camino and just get a preview of what all the hype was about.
What I can say with sincerity is that it is beautiful. I have never grown up around mountains and the mountains are absolutely breathtaking. According to some fellow backpackers we met on the way to the path, the area that we were going to was not supposed to be that pretty compared to the rest of the trail…but after we walked on the path for about an hour, I cannot imagine how much more beautiful the rest of the path could be!
Another plus, are the people. The people that we saw walking the path were all extremely kind and seemed genuinely happy to be walking with their lives on their back. Everyone nodded an “Hola” or a “Buen Camino.” Even though we weren’t true camino-ers we were walking a caminito (small walk) which still felt like we were doing something…believe me, my legs hurt!
Something that I think I missed when I traveled to Sevilla and that I didn’t know that I valued as much as I do, is the natural beauty of the outdoors. I have always been an outdoorsy person, but I never realized how much I truly loved it until I was outside on the camino today. It definitely influenced my decision to start planning a backpacking trip on the Camino! I cannot wait to go for a longer time 🙂
I have decided that I want to try to hike a small portion of the trail between a few pueblos (small towns) sometime this fall. As much as I think it will be extremely tiring, I think that I would love to see more of the Spanish countryside. Luckily, I don’t think I’ll have any problem finding people who would want to go with me…it seems there are more than enough people around Logroño who love the Camino and like to walk.
All in all, it was a great end to a great week. I cannot complain. All I can say is that I am very lucky to be in the city that I am for this year 🙂 I am currently trying not to think too hard about what the next year will hold for me, which is hard to do with thoughts of possible graduate school applications opening soon. But, with camino’s like today it’s easy to leave those worries back at home and simply focus on the precious world around me. No pasa nada remember?
Regardless of what my decision to do next year, I have faith that it will be the correct decision for me. Nothing cannot be solved with a little faith and patience, I am sure of it.
Sending so much love home as always 🙂
Un abrazo fuerte,