Camino de Santiago | Day 23

Astorga – Foncebadon

16.73 | 348.72 miles

+2,248 | -405 feet

At 7:45 in the morning, when you’re still feeling fresh, an extra half kilometer doesn’t seem like a lot. I decided to take the alternative path to the medieval city of Castillo de los Polazares. It was interesting, however at 8:30am, in the low season (it’s October now), the town was quiet as a ghost town.

Not one restaurant or cafe was open. Since I’ve already been in a medievel town, I probably would have passed it by had I known that nothing would be open. Oh well, it was a beautiful morning for a walk.

I did think the Meseta was beautiful, but I’m glad to be back in the mountains. I appreciated being among the trees, and the pathways were lined lavender and heather on both sides.

Unlike San Jean Pied de Port, where you began in the mountains and climbed right away, today we walked for miles seeing the mountains in the distance. Looking at the horizon, I would wonder which one we would climb today. It would be whichever one the Way led me to.

Nine miles into today, and I’m still wondering which mountain it will be.

Jesus said, “Don’t worry about tomorrow’s troubles, for today has enough troubles of its own.” I believe that sums up the Camino. Each day the concern is what the path will bring you today; what mountain you will climb today. Some days are Meseta days and some days are mountain days.

The Camino makes life so simple; I now have one set of clothes to walk in, so there is no decision about what to wear. I eat whatever I carry or is offered to me for breakfast. I walk the path that is set out before me. I sleep in the bed that is provided to me.

I know it helps to be out in the fresh air five to six hours each day and to eat very little processed food, but I feel really good, really healthy, despite some fatigue and a few aches and pains. Considering the environmental challenges, I sleep pretty well. There is no stress here.

How do I carry this with me from the Camino back to my regular life? I can’t live on the Camino forever, but how do I carry it with me forever?

For some, it might be a midlife or other identity crisis that brings them on this pilgrimage. But every peregrino must have some sort of crisis returning to the real world. I am thankful that I have a month in my sabbatical after returning before I fully return to work. I think I will need that time to not only re-enter the world but also to re-orient myself.

The day began with this moonlit cloud formation in the shape of a clam shell, the symbol of the Camino de Santiago.

One learns a lot of lessons on the Camino, but it isn’t until I leave that I will know whether I’ve learned them.

Buen Camino

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