Sun 20 Sep - Reflections and observations 2

Perhaps this will be a regular, adding a seperate reflective and observative post each Sunday (yes I did one last Sunday from Bayonne - that feels like an eternity away). OK here they are, from the head and the heart... or the heart and the head...

Head protection from sun - as an Australian you are so aware of carrying a hat (and use sun screen) if you are out for a longer period during the day. 

On the Camino, I would guess that less than half having anything on their heads. Of course, Americans favor caps but they provide only partial protection. 

I saw several bald or semi bald people today on the trail. I saw one guy smearing sun screen onto his fully bald head but that was after likely being in the sun for hours. 

I'm puzzled...

Mad albergue race in the morning 
This also puzzles me. It seems like the Camino is a sports event to some "pilgrims". Getting up very early in the morning to get as far as possible on the day. Repeat tomorrow. And then again.  

Whatever happened to "drop out" from "regular" life for just a little while? Take your time, reflect, smell the flowers, discover etc. 

Granted, I understand that not everybody has the "luxury" of time (although that's another thing I can never accept, the expression "I don't have time" which is code for "I prioritize other things higher". 

Everybody has exactly the same amount of time until we no longer have any of it. 

Great quote from the movie "The Way": "You don't choose a life, Dad. You live one".

The 5 things I do before walking in the morning - works for me. In no particular order. 
1. Stretching - important for oldies like me
2. Apply sun screen or face cream. Depending on weather and what's on for the day
3. Apply foot cream - always
4. Hang a second pair of socks off the backpack - two pairs to switch between at each stop (1 to 1 1/2 hours) means always having "dry" socks and you cool off your feet in the process
5. Drink 1/2 liter of water - you don't want to start walking thirsty. And use your supply.  

Speaking Spanish - you get into it. And it's quite fun. And the Spaniards definitely appreciate if you are making an effort. 

The words I used most would be greetings. As you greet people not just on the Camino but elsewhere too. 
- Buen Camino
- Buenos Días
- Hola

Other "populars" words and phrases are:
- por favor - please
- (muchas) gracias - thank you (very much)
- no entiende - i don't understand 
- lo siento - I'm sorry
- pardone - excuse me

No, I haven't yet used "una cerveza, por favor". Probably because beer is what I purchase in the supermercado and vino tinto is what I order when going out. 

I have asked for directions, had a "discussion" with a Spanish pilgrim who knew one single English word: English and even did a bit of interpretation today. Ha. 

What is a true pilgrim?
The discussion itself has almost become a clique. But since this is my blog, I will unashamedly put forward my views. 

I believe that a true pilgrim carries all his or hers own gear and do never make use of transport (obviously except for an emergency situation).

A true pilgrim walks, cycles or rides a horse from wherever the pilgrim started the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela (or other pilgrim destination). 

Sure, there are exceptions to the above. Like if you are physically unable to carry your things. And by that I do not include obesity or unfit or damn lazy. Or old age for that matter. There are plenty of examples of so called old pilgrims. 

It may sound hard but it is a pilgrimage. Not a walk in the park, a hike, a tourist endeavor or even a sports event. 

A pilgrimage is supposed to be hard. And there has to be some effort involved to receive the Compostela. 

Otherwise, what's the point? If somebody wants to go on a long distance hike, there are countless trails around the world that can be tramped (and where the walker can be supported if warranted). 

My 5 cents worth...

Finally, finally...
I am a very lucky guy. 

I married to a gorgeous woman who made this Camino possible for me. As I write this, she is asleep in Melbourne getting ready for work tomorrow. I will not be home for another 7 1/2 weeks. 
Thank you Di. I love you :-)

In addition, I am quite healthy and reasonably fit for my age. I don't think I look too run down yet. And my marbles are still generally intact. 

Sure, I have a few medicals but so does almost everybody. Anything else would be unrealistic.  

Life is pretty darn good. 

1 comment:

  1. Hej Hans!
    jag är syster till Carina altmann(fd VMdata).Hon tipsade mig om bloggen då jag gick Caminon 2010.Nåja, inte hela men väl drygt 40mil-så riktig pilgrim är jag väl inte :-)
    Men ett äventyr är det ändå.Att gå och gå, i timmar,utan att prata är ett härligt sätt att leva här och nu.
    Inte minst alla dessa fantastiska människor man möter och alla bryr sig om alla.på din väg mot Estela,strax innan får du inte missa den härliga Bodegas Irache där man kan välja mellan 2 fontäner på deras vingård: en med vatten ,en med rödvin!! En liten färdknäpp!!Kämpa på-detta blir troliga en av de resor du kommer att tänka på oftast, så har det varit för mig och min man.Buen Camino!