Sitting by the River
It is Sunday morning, just after 10 a.m., and I am sitting beside the Arga river looking at Puente La Reina. The bridge stretches over the river providing a way across its watery expanse. The first few days of walking is now behind me. Today I am taking a little rest from the usual—that is walking. I think my feet and knees are thanking me and this also gives my throat time to heal.
Earlier, just after 8:30 a.m., it was relatively quiet, since then people have awoken or driven to this historic town where Charlemagne himself stayed after he defeated the Moors. Behind me is a roller blade race. Perhaps I’ll go and see some of the action a little later.
Counting the Steps
Not that I am counting, but I have taken 140,000 steps on the Camino Way thus far. That is the recommended amount I am suppose to do over a 2-week period!
This week has had a few hiccups along the way, but nothing much. And with just one blister, after 4 days of walking, I think it is going well. The highlight was when I rang a bell at St. Esteban. The bell dated back to the 1300s. Just think how times it has rung over the years (and I rang it once) calling people to worship.
Meeting People along the Way
I met an Australian couple, Dobrah and Paul. The are Macedonian Australians. After the usual small talk, I asked what they do for a living and then of course I had to reveal my profession. Dobrah asked, “What do you think of us who have no faith who walk the Camino?”
It turned out that they do have faith. Paul renewed his roots with the Macedonian Orthodox Church and the Bishop, who is in charge in Australia, is married to a relative of his. When I asked Dobrah why she is walking the Camino she said, “personal discovery.”
On the first day of walking I met Amy, a retired teacher from Vermont. She and her two companions were members of a church. Their congregation faces the challenge familiar to us—declining membership. On day two they met a priest from Mexico and when I went for a coffee, lo and behold, they introduced me to Robert the priest from Brasil.
Yesterday, on the last part of the journey, I met a local from Navarre whose name is Alberto. He walks the Camino on weekends. So, every weekend he walks on Saturday and Sunday. He walks it for personal reasons, to see the different places, and to connect to history.
Some Learnings during week 1
What have I learned during week 1?
- Well, I do appreciate those moments of silence and quite often found it hard when the silence was disturbed whether by people talking very loudly or the intrusion of civilization (cars).
- People have a story, and are very eager to share, even if they don’t realize it.
- It is great to be part of history—to walk over a bridge that has seen many feet, felt the stung of battle, and carried across it historical figures like Charlemagne.
- People are dedicated to their faith (were dedicated) if you look at the ancient churches and their magnificence; and, to have the faith that God will provide for us when we give all to Him is something to admire, perhaps something us 21st century faithful can learn from our spiritual ancestors of the 12—16 century.
To end, here are a few black-and-white pictures I took during the week with a 35mm Camera. To God be the Glory.
(I took a Canon EA Camera with me as well, and several rolls of black and white film. I limited myself to no more than three photos a day. I developed the film myself; however, it is a learning experience. Unfortunately, the first roll of film did not develop so well.)
My journey on the Camino de Santiago started in September 2017. At the time I wrote blogged entries with pictures whenever I could. Now, three years later, it is time to revisit the journey; I am re-posting the entries with a few updates. Enjoy.