Although today the Camino is affiliated with Jesus’s apostle- St. James, its origin is not religious. The Camino has been around for a long, long time. Its symbols are a seashell and a yellow arrow. The seashell is correlated to the religious meaning, while the yellow arrow was the pre-religious mark. For more information on the camino, visit the official website: www.xacobeo.es/en
In preparation for my journey, I needed to get the adequate clothing, footwear, and snacks . So I bought myself some hiking boots, warm pants, a raincoat, and lots of chocolate. Now came the fun! The question was, what should I pack, and how can I keep this backpack as light as possible since I would be carrying it for three days. Other than what I bought, there were a few other items that were musts in my bag: toilet paper, lots of pairs of socks, another pair of sneakers, and a positive attitude.
In order to receive the official credential confirming that you are a pilgrim, you need to walk at least 100 km (62.14 miles). SoThursday morning we woke up really early to catch the earliest buses (we had to catch more than 1) to Sarria-the town where we would start the Camino. Distance from Santiago: 111km, or 4 stages away. After a bright and busy morning, we officially started the walk at 9:45 am. The end of this stage was at km 82 (the town of Portomarin), which we reached at 3:30pm. We took some small breaks in between to rest our feet, or just to embrace the panoramas of the beautiful province of Galicia.
The remainder of the weekend was spent …well……pretty much walking. Through towns, passed ruins of old homes and/ or stores, through modern cities, but predominantly through the forest. There were moments when I loathed the thought of having to walk on unpaved roads because of the pain in my feet, but for the most part I preferred that than having to walk through cities. In the forest, I was at peace with myself and one with nature. I know it sounds cheesy, but it was during the moments when I was walking through the forest that I was able to reflect the most on what I was actually doing and I realized that every step that I took, literally brought me closer to reaching my goals-Santiago.
Through the Camino, I realized that life really is like a journey. Sometimes it is good to distract yourself from the pain to reach your goals, while other times it is best to just focus on the pain and keep on going; it will all be over soon. Also you have to watch out for the mud or poop on the ground so you don’t step on it; this to me represents the times you have to be cautious of the decisions you make in life because it can get a bit messy. Lastly, I realized the importance of taking “breaks”. In life sometimes you just have to stop and observe what surrounds you. During the walk, these were the moments when I took pictures. I wanted to capture every single beautiful scene, animal, object along the way because I knew that I would most likely never see it again. Speaking of which, here are some pictures: