Camino del Norte 2017: The start

Imagine that you’ve been on an amazing journey where you met exactly who you should meet at exactly the right moment? In this journey you had the most fun about nothing and cooked the most delicious meals with no ingredients. On this journey you didn’t bring much and yet a lot: yourself, a few clothes and hiking boots. Imagine you experienced this journey and than somebody asks you: How was it to walk the Camino? I will try to give you a little insight in how it was. 

The start

When my computer and I got reunited again I couldn’t wait to get started on processing the pictures I took on the camino. It takes a while because I linger on most pictures remembering what happened that moment. I’ve captured moments of silence, joy, food, nature, music, love, warmth, excitement and transformation. Together with many other pilgrims I got to experience a simple life in which our biggest worries were finding food and a place to sleep. My mind was free to wonder about the world, my life and just have fun.

Starting a new adventure feels awkward in the beginning, especially when you find yourself having to sleep in a small tent which was not going to keep the rain out on a small field outside of the first albergue where they did have a cooker but we weren’t allowed to use. Before we knew it you adjust to this new way of living. Getting up when everybody else is. A cup of tea, a bit of bread or yoghurt and off you go. Step by step towards the next unknown destination. Stopping when you want to have some bread or get a beer or just take in the scenery. During the day we saw few people but in the evenings everybody gathers in the albergue to wash their dirty socks, eat pasta and spend the night in a room filled with snoring and some sleeping people.

In our first week we stayed in the albergue in Guemes, La Gabana del Abuelo Peuto.  It was the first place we stayed in that met my expectations of how an albergue should be. The feeling of community made me warm after a rainy day of road walking, although it could also have been the soup and wine. The albergue was founded to give pilgrims a place to sleep and support their local community with various social projects. This place, and their projects, is able to exists with the help of volunteers and donations from pilgrims.

In the evening the founder, Padre Ernesto, shared his philosophy about the “Camino de la Vida”. He shared his story in a hermitage especially build for this purpose. On the walls are paintings with the stages of this “Camino de la Vida”. The paintings show different people deciding to escape society and use their hands, hearts, feet and inner eyes to go on the camino. In the camino they would meet and help other pilgrims, learn from nature and share food.

I remember walking away the next morning and realizing how true it is what they said. For a lot of pilgrims that I’ve met along the way the camino is their life at that moment. To me as well. It wasn’t a big life changing experience. To me it was a confirmation that what I’m doing at the moment and how I’m living my life is exactly the right thing to do for me.


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