Well, here I am...back in Santiago de Compostela with a still a week ahead of me until the arrival of my good friend Kathleen and our two weeks together while she is on vacation from work! And so, what is a woman on a limited budget to do with a whole week in Spain? Walk some more, of course! Tomorrow I will catch a bus to Ferrol and walk the Camino Inglés...a shorter Camino, only 4 or 5 days in length and just over 100kms. You can´t beat the cost of Camino living...the municipal albergues are only 6 euro a night and if I can shop at primarily supermarkets I find, on average, I`m spending about 16 to 20 euro a day. The exchange rate is wicked and I´ll have spent more money that I counted on, but what can you do? How often am I actually going to get to spend 3 months abroad? I´m just going with it and trusting that I´ll get on track financially when I return...
I can hardly believe I´ve already finished my first walk across the first half of the Norté and down the entire Primitivo! Wow! Where does the time go? As I said before, I really loved the Norté, but have found the Primitivo to be an entirely different experience altogether. The route was challenging and mostly beautiful. The Hospitaliaras Mountains were spectacular and for the first time in my life I saw wild horses...very moving to be around these gorgeous animals, born free and completely untouched by humans! However, the evidence of real poverty showed itself on this route, too...there was a ton of garbage scattered throughout the pueblos, the houses less well kept, the gardens weedy, the farm animals thin and hungry looking, dogs mangy and really, really smelly. Poverty is not pretty. I felt my heart break a little bit, knowing this country is going through very, very difficult financial times and not knowing what to do about it but to take it in and say a little prayer as I pass through.
The pilgrims were much different, too. The Primitivo only takes about two weeks to walk and, rather than be a spiritual journey for many of the pilgrims, I think, instead it was a vacation. And a vacation and spiritual journey are met with entirely different mindsets. I like my beer and wine, for sure, but I saw a lot of drinking, a lot of drunkness, a rowdier crowd than I witnessed on the Norté or the Via de la Plata and sometimes it was a challenge to accept the situation as it was. Once parted from Juan (who is actually just 64, NOT 65, my bad) I blasted off like a rocket and put another 30kms between myself and the group we´d be walking in tandem with for almost a week. Instantly I felt better, but then the Primitivo merged with the Francés, and suddenly I was inundated by pilgrims! Wow...so many people...it was quite overwhelming. And so, to try yet another route. One I expect will be far less travelled at this time of year. One on which I hope to find some silence and peace. I guess I shall see! I will let you know when I return...
Until then, I hope this finds you well and love you very much.