I have to admit I’m a bit disappointed but I kinda knew this was going to happen. Not accepting it was being foolish however I did do well over 300 km of the toughest part of the Norte. Something to be proud of but to be honest I don’t feel so proud. Before leaving home even with 1 cortisone injection months on crutches and two plasma injections I was only thinking of losing the money I paid for my airline tickets, which is truly a valid concern, But now I am getting to see Spain’s northern coast. I admit it’s not the same. I feel I’ve lost my spirit on this Camino. To be honest I’m a little bored with it now and I think I’d rather do this via car or bus instead. This type of Camino is not challenging to me somehow but then maybe it is. The deeper meaning can be found in my stubbornness to continue walking. The first part to Bilboa on to Santander yes … I was walking along cliffs and mountain paths deep in mud all alone and it was challenging and the scenery changing. I don’t mind the mud or rain and for days I saw noone.. only cows and sheep. On this stretch from Santander it’s is indeed a mental challenge just like on the meseta on the Camino Frances. These endless kilometers on road thru towns along the coast is indeed pretty and the coast is also amazing .
Most of the local people here seemed immune to the Camino though. I had heard this before . Every so often a local asks me about being on the Camino and they seemed surprised. So really I’m not surprised of what I perceive amongst the locals and although others before me spoke of a lot of concrete it’s nothing unless one experiences it. I must say though the locals on the northern route are still very kind and helpful it’s the pilgrims who are not as friendly in general. In my observance It seems most of the pilgrim I see are hell bent on just going .. they seem immune to what’s around them they are in the zone..the just walking zone. Just my opinion as I was there also. I am not judging just making an observation. I see them Walking singularly focused… it’s good and bad. Ignore pain because the Camino is about suffering some think. As pilgrims we accept pain but at some point, in my opinion we must accept the consequences and adjust accordingly, this is also part of the Camino experience. I also see lots of pilgrims on the bus now, walk some ride some … smart I think if necessary but I’m only one opinion. Somehow I don’t think they will admit it though… pride is a terrible thing.
For me now the need the complete the Camino on foot becomes secondary to pain. It’s about mental will and acceptance. Yes I will complete the Camino and no I do not seek the Compostela. It’s been a good walk but as I sit at coffee here In San Vincente de la Barquera I’m reminded I’m human after all, I’m alive and I don’t have anything to prove any more. As the pain of my injuries has taught me something but I’m still trying to fight.. im learning I don’t need to fight every battle. Sometimes fighting is not fighting. Sometimes to fight means to enjoy. I’m enjoying the birds chirping, I’m enjoying looking at calm seas and my aim now is not worrying about the official Camino because I’m on a camino of my own making . Ok sometimes I feel resistance but now I walk for myself, with myself by myself, beside myself and I am at peace with me. The pain is there in my feet but not in my heart. It’s hard not to feel guilt for not finishing by foot but I suspect it’s even harder to accept what is fate. Along the way, as I stated before, I have encountered broken prescription glasses, broken brace, broken daypack straps, pain of course, inability to walk temporarily and other obstacles but my stubbornness drove me forward but it funny and you might think it silly but the moment I gave into letting go there was a rainbow out the window of my room.
A sign , well maybe but now I look to my intuition and I continue to try to listen and observe what the universe, spirit and faith are telling me .. this is a camino after all just a different type of Camino becoming more mental and spiritual I think.
Llanes is a beautiful little village. This town is tucked in between the mountains on one side and the sea on the other. It’s famous for cider and a good place to shoot blockbuster movies It seems.
So in Llanes I checked Into this hotel with a reservation for an ocean view. I was given a room in a dark hallway and a view of the stairway. I went back asked politely …. I was told if you want a view for 40 euros per night you have to pay more and you can see it from the restaurant. WHAAAAT? And she said those rooms were all booked it would have to be in advance but I can pay more and change tomorrow. Oh so I thought don’t react get the facts. I don’t need to change rooms for 1 night. I went back to the room and checked my reservation sure enough I paid more for the ocean view or I would not have stayed here at the beach. I went back again and I think she saw her mistake and now all of a sudden she can move me because the heavens just opened up and a ocean view appeared. but I tried to be humble… I said no problem I stay in this room it’s only a bed. She said I would get the lower price and some reprieve from booking.Com if necessary. What she meant is she would change the reservation on booking so it looks like I changed my room to one without a view. So is this an innocent mistake? hmmmm not likely, am I overthinking ? not likely… I smile in the face of what I dare not describe as an assumption on her part. And you know what they say about assumptions. is it because i’m A pilgrim is it because of my race? My instinct is to leave this hotel but I will stay in my corner under the stairs… and the room with a picture of a black woman on the wall, it doesn’t bother me that other people Might be ignorant or ok so it bothers me a little but I refuse to let it deep into my consciousness.. mental Camino. Indifference to pilgrims or something else altogether, you decide.
I took a lovely 10 km round trip hike along side the cliffs. Not all the way to the end but about 3/4th of this route. Beautiful natural coastline and if I wasn’t so hungry and forgot my snacks I may have walked further but I started feeling weak and heelspurricus and cyborg turtle were crying. Tomorrow I leave this area but I will be back to see the famous bufones or ocean blowholes about 20 km away. Definitely recommend this town for a visit with the exception of previous issues at the hotel.
After the hike I wondered about the town looking for food and found an amazing restaurant for some local bean soup and cod fish with tomato sauce. Yum