Well, if you’ve read my last post about the second time I did the camino, you know there was a first! Two years ago, in 2015, I decided that it was time for me to become a pilgrim and to experience how it feels like to make the camino.
I lived in Santiago between 2011 and 2012, in my Erasmus experience. In those days, I had all afternoons free, so I spent some of those afternoons in the Praza do Obradoiro in the stone benches just looking at the amazing façade of the cathedral and at the tourists and pilgrims taking photos and enjoying their time. What captivated me in that picture, in the middle of the crowd standing in front of the cathedral, creating memories in their experience, was to look at the faces of those who had come to Santiago by making the camino.
I could see their faces full of mixed emotions. Sometimes they arrived alone, sometimes with friends. Sometimes when they arrived at the square they would find someone they have made the camino with. But all of them had the same face, the same expressions. And I wanted to feel that, I wanted to understand the happiness they were showing.
In 2015 I felt it was the time to finally go and make the camino. I prepared myself, 3 months prior, even though I didn’t walk more than 2 hours per day. I did the camino way better than the second time, without blisters and walking a lot faster. Of course the pain was also there. It is always there, but you know it’s a part of it. You realise that you don’t need much to live, you are spending time taking your belongings in a backapck from one place to another, you are discovering places with your own feet and you are discovering yourself, your weakness and strenght. You are sleeping with other people and you don’t care what you wear, as long as it’s comfortable. You are learning with others, you are walking alone, you are walking with people, you are sharing experiences with them and they with you. And, most importantly, you are making the camino but in the end is the camino that makes you. It’s the camino that decides where you are staying for the night, when are you arriving in Santiago, how much are you going to walk, where are you going to stop, who are you going to meet, with whom are you going to walk. You may not believe what I’m saying, but if you made the camino I imagine you do believe.