Hiking the Camino Compostala Series – Part 1 – July 2023

Hiking the Camino Compostala Series - Part 1

This is the start of a series of blogs for hiking the Camino Compostela. I am hoping that ,after reading these blogs we can form a group of hikers , for both national and international hiking trails.

My wife informed me that her friend Rose ( 71 years old ) was planning to hike the entire length of the Camino Compostela Pilgrimage Trail in northern Spain, 800 + kilometers. She thought I should go on this hike . I had told my wife about the hike; never expecting to have the opportunity to go.

I was not ready but I was willing to go. The hike is a centuries old pilgrimage started in the Middle Ages in Spain to commemorate St James, the apostle of Jesus Christ. Tens of millions of pilgrims walked the pilgrimage over the course of its existence.

The route starts in the south west corner of France .In one day the route crosses into Spain and over a pass through the Pyrenees. From that point it streams through dozens of small Spanish towns . Finally the Camino ends in the City of Sanitagio at the cathedral of Compostala.

You are also treated to several historical sites such as Pampiloma for the running of the bulls, or the trace of Ernest Heminway, the cathedral of Burguos. Or any of the half dozen other cathedrals on the trail. Once you complete the hike you will be a witness and participant of one of the greatest religious ceremony. Twenty monks ringing a set of gigantic bells swinging inside the center of the catheral. It was a site I have never seen before or since.

Each of those towns that you will walk though has at least one hostel and a “pilgrim “ restaurant . I did not realize , from my homework ,that there was at least one” open door” church in each village. Each of the hostels had a loose band of Pilgrams that would join together each night to share their experiences of the day and some idea of why they came on this journey.

Many conversations drew us into our life paths that got us into the hike. My path was to finally see an opportunity of fulfilling a bucket list item I thought I would never be able to even try. Many of the pilgrims had similar thoughts. We realized that this was a special event in our lives and we quickly formed a special connection.

When my wife offered me the opportunity to take this 800 kilometer hike I was willing but not able. I needed a great deal of training Nutritional , physical. I needed a great deal of study. And an entire array of the proper equipment. fitnmeet.org; the first step was the hiking shoes and orthics that was provided by the Palmetto Running Shoe. They proved to be perfect tool for the long hike. I still have them even thought I have two other sets of new hiking shoes. I have chosen other excellent items for a long hike

I had several months to train and prepare for the hike . From the research I did , I quickly found that persistence and perseverance was the greatest muscle I needed to develop . I learned very early in the hike I had to teach myself to take in the small points of the journey not just the large points . One of the items I brought along was a small book of meditations by Thomas Merton ( ) . As technology has developed I would now load my cell phone with a great playlist of tunes and download new ones suggested by my fellow Pilgrams . And I would down load my phone photo files to give my phone plenty of room to load more photos.

Lets be honest, hiking is just walking . But a long walk ! You need to walk at least six to nine hours for several days at a time. And that is only if you are not on tight schedule. I planned to stop for one day each week. I wanted to rest and / or research the town, cathedral or historical site . That became reality except for one time.

I fell in step with an Italian special forces officer . We talked for hours regarding our separate plans about what we would do after the Camino. I walked 12 hours that day . It was a great day . However the next day I had very painful shin splints and need to rest for two days.

You too can expect many of the same types of experiences and share them with your fellow pilgrim’s and with friends and family when you get back.

Enjoy some pics from the trip below and stay tuned for part 2!

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