It’s well known that, by popular vote, the West of Scotland is far more popular than the East… and there’s a good reason for it. In terms of road trip splendour and easy-access vistas, nothing quite beats Glen Coe or Isle of Skye and truth be told, the multi-day tracking is probably better there, too.
My second to last walk went from Alcuéscar to Aldea del Cano; a short 15km. My legs felt strong and the weather was perfect: clouds cast some shade, it wasn’t too hot, nor too cold. Yet for some reason I was having a though day. The sky felt oppressive, the air didn’t seem to supply sufficient oxygen and my mind was hazy. I figured it had something to do with the nearing ending of the Camino. I remembered feeling lost and sad on the Camino Francès too, when Santiago came within reach. Surely, you’re happy to have made it. But when you enjoy being a pilgrim as much as I do, the foresight of finishing the journey and becoming a non-pilgrim again isn’t so joyful one. It’s a mixed feeling that catches many walkers a little of guard, but not me. I’m an experienced pilgrim now. Right? Continue reading Two important updates have been installed→
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.
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.
Sometimes when I read guidebooks and websites my brain goes a bit nuts, and it decides on doing things it can’t afford (remember the infinity pool?) or isn’t actually capable of. Climbing a 3000+ meter volcano at night, as to arrive on the top for sunrise, that’s what I’m talking about. No, I don’t want to do it alone. I want to find a guide. However, I have no idea how to do that and whether it will work out. I’ve never climbed so long and so high. I’m not entirely sure I would make it. And yet, yet I’ve set my mind on Gunung Lawu: an – apparently – not so challenging mountain that rises above gorgeous scenery. But it’s a bit of an adventure.
I’d have to sleep until noon, to be well rested. Leave for a three hour journey to the departure town. Hope to find a guide there. Kill time. Wait until 11pm to start hiking. Hike all night. Arrive at sunset. Be dead: completely exhausted. Feel victorious. Hike back down (I feel tired just imagining it). Find a lift, a taxi, a train back to where I came from. Arrive in the afternoon, wasted. Go to bed and hopefully not regret the last 24 hours.
That’s the positive scenario. The one where I don’t get lost. Don’t get assaulted by some shady guy who said he was an experienced guide but isn’t. Where I don’t break a leg. Where I don’t die of starvation. Where I don’t decide to just fall asleep half way up the slope.
It’s a crazy plan. But I will try to make it happen.
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.