Tag Archives: pilgrimage

Drunk pilgrims near Merida

Visiting Merida didn’t take as much time as I expected. My initial plan was to stay for two nights, one in an AirBnb and the second in the pilgrims albergue, where I’d meet up with Canadian C and German R and we’d walk on together. However the city didn’t appeal to me that much at all. After strolling around a bit and eating a mediocre meal, I spent the afternoon drawing in the Roman theatre – which is absolutely lovely. The next morning I continued my pilgrimage.

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Walking for growth

Aah, the Caminos de Santiago: those addictive, live changing, beautiful pilgrim roads through Spain (and Europe) towards the said grave of James the Elder in Santiago de Compostela…. How have I come to love them. How have they come to comfort me always at the right time.

Me and my shell
Me and my shell. It will make it all the way to Compostela one day!

In 2011, I walked the Camino Francès – probably the classic first timer route – in one go from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to the ocean in Finestere. Now, in 2017, I didn’t have the time to walk another 1000km, so I set out on a shorter mission: the first 280km of the Via de la Plata, from Sevilla to Cáceres.

I expected the walk to be duller than the Camino Francès. More barren, more lonely, more flat. I hadn’t come for the scenery this time, nor for the great encounters (as I really didn’t know how many other walkers to expect on this much less frequented road). I came because my guts told me I needed to. And yet once again the Camino would very much surprise me. The scenery turned out to be stunning, the people no less than inspiring and the road deeply encouraging.

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Downtown (een lied heeft muziek)

Yesterday I gave in: I went to bed at 8pm. I know it’s not a good sign, but I was tired of keeping up appearances. I slept for a solid 13 hours – it seemed to be the only way to stop the thoughts. To silence the endless clutter of anger and sadness and words of desperation that runs through my head like people fleeing from an explosion: confused, hurried, screaming and heading in different directions. Non stop. Craving safety among the madness.
There were no nightmares. When I woke up this morning it seemed that a little energy had returned. I decided to use it and run.

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