Camino 2019 – Reflections

Our primary reason for Camino 2019 was to give us a goal, to provide additional incentives for us to continue to actively pursue a healthy lifestyle in our 70’s. So from that perspective alone, we succeeded.

A real bonus was that we have reached an even higher level of fitness both physically and mentally after 59 continuous days of walking over 400 miles.

An underlying objective for Camino 2019 was to exploit our previous Camino experiences to reduce or eliminate some of the less than positive aspects of this two month experience. This resulted in skipping a few unpleasant sections which not only reduced a negative that we experienced on previous Caminos, but reduced the overall distance we walked from 495 to 415 miles.

We extended our walking range by transporting Linda’s backpack nearly every day, reducing the physical burden on both of us.

We also effectively used public transportation, taxi & bus, to give us extra flexibility to skip the sections mentioned above, as well as to eliminate the problem of finding suitable places to stay when heavy pilgrim traffic and/or lack of facilities occurred.

Our stays in pilgrim hosting private homes and small hotels, especially for multiple days, was a particularly enriching experience.

None of our Camino 2019 “adjustments” adversely impacted the wonderful places we passed through or stayed on our walks. The scenery was still extraordinary, some seen for the first time, others missed but remembered from previous walks. The deliciously, comfortable food was enjoyed daily and new items were discovered as before. The interesting interactions with other pilgrims and pilgrim hosts, as before, enriched our experience and our lives.

The spiritual and meditative and healing environment of the Camino Frances was ever present, as before.

Our Caminos are different than most, because, for the most part, we do not stay in albergue dormitory’s, with communal showers and bathrooms, sleeping in bunk beds and confining our main meals to communal pilgrim settings. And our daily spending (45€) is slightly less than double that of a “typical” pilgrim. Consequently, our Camino experiences can provide alternatives to prospective pilgrims as they plan a Camino that fits their needs.

And one final suggestion: Plan to stay a day or two extra after arriving in Santiago, if you want to receive a Compostela. The pilgrim office is not equipped to handle the ever increasing traffic and no effective remedies appear to be in the works.

This is probably our last Camino. But we’ve said that before and who knows what the future will bring. The Camino Frances has enriched our lives and continues to impact the way we live. We strongly recommend it to anyone, as it can impact one’s life in so many positive ways.

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