I am sitting in a pensión in Friol (not on any normal Camino, I know) after two weeks of two Caminos, suffering a stomach bug in Oviedo and surviving the worst backpack ever, just three days from Santiago.
I am not a normal peregrino, that I know. I like my solitude, to be one with nature, no one else in sight. The San Salvador and Primitivo have given me plenty of opportunities.
I could never do the Francés.
I worry about the future of the Camino and what masses may do to it and are doing to it. Towns and villages along the meseta have been brought back to life thanks to the Camino Francés. From what I can tell, it’s also become a tourist trap. Along other Caminos, you can still find true hospitality not after the pilgrim’s money.
The Francés meets the Primitivo in Melide and the del Norte in Arzúa. I am bypassing both to join in Sta. Irene for only one day. I had to book a pension because three of the albergues in O Pedrouzo were already completely booked five days in advance. I have to call if I arrive after three and haven’t sent my pack ahead or they will give the room away.
Much different than the “show up and find a bed no problem” attitude of the San Salvador and Primitivo.
I am struggling with social anxiety. I feel lonelier in an albergue full of peregrinos than I do walking the beautiful landscapes of Northern Spain. Everyone has their niche and their Camino family. I am, of course, the black sheep marching to my own drummer. Not complaining, just an observation. I have met some interesting people, but our etapas differed, some ended their Camino for the time being, and I walk on 25 km a day. Stronger than the guy who left León two weeks ago, in more ways than one.
Camino Family? Like real families, you may not like everyone in the family, but you will care for them and help out one in need.
The Camino wants to change all the mojones (markers) to be the same, with the yellow arrow marking the way. That is for the good, although I like the change between Asturias and Galicia’s direction pointers. The other changes, not so much.
They want all the albergues to have the same stamp for the credenciales. So much for originality. They are also making the Primitivo in Galicia all pista so vehicles can drive if need be. So much for keeping things natural. Most of the Camino is not that far from a road for emergencies.
I think this will probably be the only time I arrive to Santiago on foot. I am interested in the Camino Catalán and Camino Vasco in the future, but arriving to Santiago really hasn’t been the main objective. I am finding myself, growing and challenging myself. I have reconnected with God and the universe. I don’t need a Compostela to tell me that.
Yet I will wait in line three hours for it anyway.
En fin. I love the Camino, but it is a tough love.
I will be writing it all up in July, no worries. I will also have a translation of this entry in Spanish next week when I can edit easier on my laptop than the iPad app.
Ya tendré una traducción en castellano la semana que viene cuando puedo editar con mi portátil.