Drop The Qualifiers

Since I began this journey in St Jean-Pied-de-Port 28 days ago, I’ve been joined along the way by a great number of fellow Pilgrims who started their own Camino somewhere else, like Pamplona, Burgos or León.

I’ve noticed that when describing their journey, the words “only” and “just” often feature.

“I only started in León”

“I’ve just been walking for a couple of days now”.

That sort of thing.

It’s as if there’s an idea that a Camino that doesn’t rigidly follow the guidebook from St-Jean to Santiago is somehow a lesser thing.

Whenever this has come up in conversation, I’ve gently suggested that the qualifiers should be dropped.

Anyone who makes it to the beginning of a Camino, who might even complete a couple of stages, should consider themselves to have already completed an incredible journey.

Thinking about it is one thing.

Preparing for it is another.

Starting it, wherever it begins, is one of the biggest steps a person will ever take.

The number of steps that follow is not any more as significant as the first one.

This belief of mine will be reinforced today as I pass through Sarria, because a great number of new Pilgrims will be joining us on the Way.

This is because we’re coming up to the 100km marker and any Pilgrim who journeys that distance to Santiago will earn a Compostela, the certificate of completion for the Camino.

Each new Pilgrim I see will be greeted with a hearty “Buen Camino” and encouragement and support.

They’ve all taken that first step too.

After leaving the charmless Hospital albergue before dawn, we made very good time in reaching Triacastela around 11 and, emboldened by another glorious sunrise and a sunny morning, we decided to push on a bit further.

The path took us along some gorgeous Galician views – with no sign of the promised rain either.

Even the pylons looked lovely.

The last few kilometres were a bit tough, but we got through 25 of them today.

Happy with that.

Albergue Report:

Albergue de Hospital de Calvor

Former school building, now converted, with dorms of tightly packed bunk beds with paper sheets and pillowcases. Unisex toilets and showers, which weren’t great. Nowhere near enough plugs either. Below average.

Health Report:

Blisters: 0 (9)

Zero issues.

Trips, Slips and Falls: 0 (3)

Pineapple Solero Consumption: 1 (6)

Applications of Factor 50: 2 (107)

Filling of Water Bottles: 2 (55)

Wrong turns taken: 0 (4)

Number of times “Buen Camino” was said: About 30

Song Of The Day: Life’s What You Make It, by Talk Talk

2 thoughts on “Drop The Qualifiers

  1. Many thanks for your wonderful words and fabulous pictures. As someone doing the Camino in 10 day slots over a number of years it is always good to hear those doing it in one go being so understanding.
    Hope the reported “busy-ness” of the last 100km doesn’t change your view!

    Liked by 1 person

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