The equipment I brought on my Via de la Plata was the same I had on my first Camino: a bag that travelled with me to rainforests, a coat with years of dutiful service, shoes that had carried me to Compostela before. And yet I only realised how severely unsuited they were for rain after I walked in showers for hours and hours.
The road to Zafra was long and unsheltered, with bare vines stretching out on both sides. The ground was muddy and slippery, the thick earth clang to my boots and made them heavy, my pants were not waterproof.
Oh that glorious walk between Monesterio and Fuente de Cantos… No words or pictures would do it justice. It was without a doubt the most beautiful stretch of walking I encountered on my mini-camino (that is, the part between Sevilla and Cáceres) and it lifted my heart beyond expectation.
The weather was overcast and clouded, however fast winds made for an ever changing scenery and shadows travelled over the endless planes in a matter of minutes. The fields were glowing with colour, mainly the bright yellow of tiny flowers and the deep green of moist grass.
The road soon let me into a sea of infinity. This is the Spain I love so much: a landscape that seems endless, with nothing surrounding you but waving hills and heavy skies. A landscape in which one could easily drown.
My bag was the only one leaning against the wall of the bar, my face the only unfamiliar one in the village. The chairs around my table stood lonely. The pilgrims had gone, onwards. And I was left in the tiny town of El Real de la Jara, attempting to go unnoticed while I sobbed, dried my eyes, and then sobbed some more.
J, J and me had walked the first 15km of the day together, through a lovely sunrise and foresty surroundings. Yet for me it would be the only 15km of the day, since I didn’t fancy adding another 20km. We had an amazing lunch together in a cosy hunter’s bar (complete with antlers adorning the walls, jikkes), and then they left. “Don’t forget what we talked about yesterday,” J reminded me, as if I ever would. And gone they were.
Whereas the first part of my journey had been surprisingly free of worries, the third night brought a wire of emotions. Perhaps it were the icy winds and grey clouds that gathered above Almaden de la Plata, my tired muscles or my cold feet… but I was feeling far from joyful.
All my fellow pilgrims would continue on to Monesterio (35km) the next day, while I planned to walk only 15km. There was a sense of goodbye in the air, as I very well realized I’d never see these lovely people again (at least not on the Camino). And as much as I like travelling alone, I hated to see them go.
My 3th to 5th day on the Via de la Plata brought a lot of emotions. I have long postponed the continuation of this blog, partly because I find it hard to put the events that happened to words, and partly because explaining what happened also hinted a lot about my plans for the future (and those plans have largely been kept secret until yesterday).
However to complete the story of my Camino, it is important to explain a little more about the context I walked in. I apologize, because this entry is not really a travel blog, but mostly a personal version of the events that made me a pilgrim. Continue reading The context in which I walked this Camino→
I’ve been working in the same company ever since I graduated ten years ago. It’s a good job with nice colleagues and lot’s of benefits. It’s in the city where I’ve studied and now live for six years. Convenient in every possible way. And yet last week I handed in my three months notice. I quit. I also handed it the notice on my flat a month ago.
From September onwards, I won’t be found wandering familiar cobblestone streets. If all goes well, I’ll instead be on the road with nothing but a backpack and some hard earned savings to spend. Yes, it’s scary. I very well realise this decision has the potential to be either the best or worst choice I’ve ever made…
Things leading up to it include 12 years of dreaming about world travel, a recent burn-out and an unusual flare of bravery. I can write at length about my motivations and obstacles, but won’t in this post (surely there are more entries to come).
For now, this is all I’m willing to share.
I will soon finish the blog-series on my Camino2017 (which was halted last month, because I couldn’t tell that story without giving away my plans of resigning). After that, there is a new series on Scotland to come before I aim for broader horizons.
I’m uncertain yet exited. Scared yet confident. And I probably haven’t done anything this brave/stupid in my entire life.
Next week it’s party-time again as the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Kiev.
Based on the records that have been released (not the actual live performances – brace yourselves) this is my personal top 10.
My take on the world and the things I love. Prominently among them: travel, art and the ordinary. I share my discovery of our beautiful world, my self and the arts I'm trying to develop (photography, sketching and writing) in a way that is both honest and poetic. Please join my journey.