The Way of St. James – El Camino de Santiago

This isn’t from the Camino. It’s a bridge on a trail near where I live. I’m told that as you get into the more western parts of the trail, the scenery starts to look like the Smoky Mountains. I wish I still had pictures of the one day hike I did on the Camino back in 2005…I had them saved on my computer’s hard drive and of course it crashed. Oops.

When I was 19, I was taking an intermediate Spanish class.  Interestingly, my professor was from Germany, teaching in the United States, AND teaching a Spanish class.

I could understand my mom’s spoken Spanish just fine.  But my professor?  Man…every utterance was with a heavy German accent.  I ended up not understanding very much of the first couple weeks of class.

One day, though, she awakened me from my linguistic oblivion.  She was talking about “El Camino” – and not the car.

She told tales of weeks along this trail, meeting people from all over the world, seeing ancient architecture, and staying in interesting little towns.

I was hooked.  I knew that I would have to walk that trail someday.

I actually had an opportunity to “day hike” one teeny tiny section of the trail when I was studying in Spain back in 2005.

We were in this magical place called Ponferrada and the place featured one vineyard after the other.  Yeah, I won’t tell you how many bottles of wine I brought back with me on the plane.  At least they didn’t charge me for all that extra liquid weight.  Shuurrrreee ossssiffffer.  I’lllll walkkk a strrrate lyyyyin.

Let’s just say that I have not tasted better wine.  It could be that I usually dine with cheap wine in favor of organic food, but hey, the trade-offs have to come from somewhere, right?

We hiked part of the trail right from the cobblestone streets out of the town.  Summer flowers were blooming and soft breezes carried scents of the grasses and plants our way.  It was heavenly.  A few hours and I felt like I could go on forever….

I hear that the wildflowers are also similar to what we see here in the Great Smoky Mountains down here in NC.

Last night, I went to this class about an older woman who walked about 2oo miles of the trail (it’s around 500 something miles…786 kilometers…I’m NOT doing the math…I’ll just walk it, dammit).

She showed us slide after slide of the incredible hills, mountains and scenery of northern Spain.  The fact that she was older and retired really motivated me to want to do this.

I actually really want to walk the Way of St. James – the whole length of it from western France to western Spain, above Portugal.

It’s a pilgrimage of sorts.  A lot of people do it and along the way, you get stamps in a little Camino passport to prove you walked it.  Then, you arrive in Santiago de Compostela (in Western Spain) and you get all these blessings.

Though I’m no longer Catholic, I still need all the blessings I can get.  Apparently, your sins are absolved, too.  Awesome.  I’m sorry…I am only human.

What a dream!!

See…I studied Spanish and Anthropology – BAM!  Two of my loves right there.  Then, I studied art. BAM!  Those Spaniards are artsy by nature and the architecture and paintings that I saw in some of those slides was…taunting me.

Then the whole photography and writing thing.

Oh. My. God.

Can you imagine?  A trip where ALL of my loves converge into one happy blissful 5-week hiking trip?  I’d blog and photograph until my click-happy finger was like lead.

I so have to do this.  I owe it to myself.  And to my husband who’s stood by my side all this time.

Did I mention that I like to hike…AND hug trees?

Now…where the hell to come up with money to do this.  Yeah, there’s Kickstarter.  Yeah, there’s savings.  Something always happens to the savings, though…like quitting my job to do photography and writing full-time.

But, um…I’m going to have to work on this idea.  I ache to do this.  I think it would be an epic life-changing journey.

Can you imagine?  I’d have to photograph every sheep, cow and cool German dude that came my way!

This needs to become a goal.  Where to start…where to start….

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16 thoughts on “The Way of St. James – El Camino de Santiago

  1. Sounds amazing Cyndi and do hope you get to do this in the future. Believe me I can relate to the money part, but I could very much see you doing this and can tell it is a true passion of yours. As always I love seeing all the pictures that go along with your writing too 🙂 🙂

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  2. It sounds like an amazing trip. I think you should figure out how to swing it as soon as possible! I think it would totally inspire you on so many levels! Plus, I want to hear all about it.:)

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  3. You would be in heaven for sure! I have always wanted to walk the entire Oregon Trail….I have no idea when this dream started, but it alive and well in my mind and will not leave me be! 🙂

    I hope you make it lil’ Sis!

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  4. I’m excited for you just reading this! That would be awesome – taking the time off to just relax and let the creative juices flow with your writing and photography. Hey, that could even be a book or two! 🙂

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