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.
This is the newly refurnished Caminito del Rey (kings little road) near Malaga, Spain:
And this is the Camino del Sur (Via de la Plata), the pilgrims route towards Santiago de Compostela (also Spain):
Both of them are called Camino (“way”). Both of them are starting in Andalucia. Both of them have been on my list for quite some time.
And here I am, smiling like an idiot because I just booked my flights and ordered a brand new, blanc credential. In 2017, I’ll be pilgrim again. A wanderer on a new route, asking new questions, and seeing new skies.
For what it’s worth, it might be the start of a much bigger adventure, too.
(This entry is part of the Coming 2016 side blog)
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.