We are walking across Northern Spain, on the French Camino from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela, a distance of 452 miles, over 34 days of walking
Mansilla de las Mulas, 19th May. Much discussion amongst pilgrims and walkers about injuries, blisters etc. Thankfully we have not had much difficulty, certainly not at the level many others are complaining about. However we have experienced some lower leg pain, diagnosed as shin splints, so taking it a bit easier over the next few days.
The Camino is a patchwork of contrasts, medieval town centres sit alongside modern blocks (often hotels or apartments). Rural villages have houses built of mud and straw, which makes us think there has to be a timber or stone structure underneath it all. Apparently there isn’t. In many of the rural villages, most houses are empty as the owners moved off to a local city for work, and simply abandoned their property.
All walkers are called Peregrino ‘s, English equivalent > Pilgrim. So it doesn’t matter why you are here, you are a ” Peregrino”. It was a real privilege recently to join in a meeting at Santa Maria Alberque (Hostel) in Carrion de los Condes, run by four nuns from the Santa Maria Church next door. Around 50 walkers/pilgrims attended. Everyone was asked their name, where they came from and why they were walking the Camino. Huge variety of explanations. Many were searching for the next stage of their life, or simply on an adventure and clearly saw themselves as walkers, with no focus except adventure, and some were so emotional, they could not explain. Countries represented included Japan, S Korea, NZ, Canada, UK, USA, Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy, and others.
We are now in the high central plateau of Spain, above 800 metres above sea level, and flat.