My View: A torrid pilgrimage through El Camino in Spain | Opinion

By mid-morning we were sweating, had lost our warm jackets, and had already used up our water supply for the day. Fortunately, there are stops along the way for water, toilets, and snacks.

Words, even photos, do not do justice to the magnificent panoramic scenes that line the course. As the first day wore on, the romance of the Camino started to fade due to the difficulty of the changing elevations. Around 5:30 am, barely able to take one more step, I despaired of arriving at our albergue (hostel) where we would spend the night. Finally, we rounded a curve and spotted a small stone structure set back from the road. It looked as welcoming as a five star hotel.

We were greeted by two young women from New York sitting outside sipping wine. Nearby sat an Australian woman with bandaged toes. Soon a couple from Ethiopia, their 2 year old child and their mother from California arrived, followed by a woman and her baby from Germany. After the showers (I didn’t say hot) we all gathered in the courtyard for our pilgrim dinner. So began the indelible memories of the amazing people we met each day and the stories we shared over dinner. This scene was repeated daily.

We heard many languages ​​as we passed pilgrims along the way, but everyone greeted each other with a friendly “Buen Camino”. Our muscles ached, blisters appeared and the challenges didn’t get any easier but we won. The walks through the cedar forests – strewn along the way – gave us courage and strength.