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A year on the camino

Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#1
At some point this week, last week or next, depending on how you define it, I will have spent 365 days of my life on the camino.

Not what I expected when I set out on a one off pilgrimage in memory of my mother during the last Holy Year.

In that time I've stayed in about 250 cities, towns and villages of Spain - significant duplication due to usually finishing using some or most of the Sanabrés. I've walked through 33 of Spain's provinces, 10 of its autonomous regions, I don't know how many of its World Heritage Sites, and National and Natural Parks, and also seen uncountable churches, mostly from the outside only.

I've probably stayed in 100-odd albergues, some several times - A Laxe's has the record with 6, not because I particularly like it, but because it's ideally placed 2 days from Santiago. Oseira Monastery comes second with 4, and several are on 3. Albergues have come in various forms, including many former schools, an Inquisition prison, three bullrings, above a funeral parlour, in 3-4 ayuntamientos, in a bus station, in several railway stations, medical centres, parish halls, priests' houses, convents, a palace, a former slaughterhouse, attached to various churches, in monasteries, sports centres, private houses and specially built complexes. I've also stayed in dozens of private hotels, hostals, pensións etc, including many truck stops and a few castles and mostly perfectly fine, although a few run by graduates of the Norman Bates School of Hospitality.

I've been accused of being Dutch, Italian, German and French, but almost never English, and never American.

I've walked for 40 days without a drop of rain, and been soaked to the skin many times. I've been hot and bothered and dusty and thirsty. I've had mild frost bite and once, in thick freezing fog, the water in my bottle froze as I was walking.

At an average of ~3 a day, I must also have visited well over a thousand bars, cafés and restaurants, mostly welcoming to indifferent, a tiny few almost actively hostile (almost invariably those where the landlord was promoting smoking). I've been shortchanged and I've been not allowed to pay because it was St George's day/the landlord liked pilgrims/somebody at the bar picked up my tab. I've had great meals at tiny prices and some not so good ones at bigger costs, and also found myself in the middle of public feasts, with free food and drink being forced on me. I've been invited into complete strangers' houses for meals, and been told that a bar that was visibly still serving food was cerrau.

I've met very many delightful hospitaler@s, some professional, some voluntary, including tourism officers, town hall clerks, mayors, policemen, a crown prosecutor, a local doctor, teachers, barkeepers, monks, nuns and priests. And a very few who clearly hated their profession and the pilgrims it entailed dealing with.

I've learned much more about Spain's literature, music, language, architecture, landscape, culture and history, and come to love (almost) all of it much more, and only scratched the surface. I've also learned a lot more about my three relations who came out here to fight, and in one case die, in 1936.

If there is a better way of getting to see and know a different Spain, then I probably haven't got enough time or energy left to find it out.

Adelante.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#4
Alan, I wonder if you have a blog, or a book, but certainly: a long and rich year of experience. You have been blessed, in my opinion, hope that doesn't upset you! to have had such a magnificent time. Yes, magnificent. It would make such a great film. (Shh! much better than that plastic film...)
 

J Willhaus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
#11
And what comes next after such an journey???
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Finisterra-Muxia 2017; SK Camino Kosiče-Levoča Oct 2017; El Norte March 2018; Ingles Nov 2018
#12
At some point this week, last week or next, depending on how you define it, I will have spent 365 days of my life on the camino.

Not what I expected when I set out on a one off pilgrimage in memory of my mother during the last Holy Year.

In that time I've stayed in about 250 cities, towns and villages of Spain - significant duplication due to usually finishing using some or most of the Sanabrés. I've walked through 33 of Spain's provinces, 10 of its autonomous regions, I don't know how many of its World Heritage Sites, and National and Natural Parks, and also seen uncountable churches, mostly from the outside only.

I've probably stayed in 100-odd albergues, some several times - A Laxe's has the record with 6, not because I particularly like it, but because it's ideally placed 2 days from Santiago. Oseira Monastery comes second with 4, and several are on 3. Albergues have come in various forms, including many former schools, an Inquisition prison, three bullrings, above a funeral parlour, in 3-4 ayuntamientos, in a bus station, in several railway stations, medical centres, parish halls, priests' houses, convents, a palace, a former slaughterhouse, attached to various churches, in monasteries, sports centres, private houses and specially built complexes. I've also stayed in dozens of private hotels, hostals, pensións etc, including many truck stops and a few castles and mostly perfectly fine, although a few run by graduates of the Norman Bates School of Hospitality.

I've been accused of being Dutch, Italian, German and French, but almost never English, and never American.

I've walked for 40 days without a drop of rain, and been soaked to the skin many times. I've been hot and bothered and dusty and thirsty. I've had mild frost bite and once, in thick freezing fog, the water in my bottle froze as I was walking.

At an average of ~3 a day, I must also have visited well over a thousand bars, cafés and restaurants, mostly welcoming to indifferent, a tiny few almost actively hostile (almost invariably those where the landlord was promoting smoking). I've been shortchanged and I've been not allowed to pay because it was St George's day/the landlord liked pilgrims/somebody at the bar picked up my tab. I've had great meals at tiny prices and some not so good ones at bigger costs, and also found myself in the middle of public feasts, with free food and drink being forced on me. I've been invited into complete strangers' houses for meals, and been told that a bar that was visibly still serving food was cerrau.

I've met very many delightful hospitaler@s, some professional, some voluntary, including tourism officers, town hall clerks, mayors, policemen, a crown prosecutor, a local doctor, teachers, barkeepers, monks, nuns and priests. And a very few who clearly hated their profession and the pilgrims it entailed dealing with.

I've learned much more about Spain's literature, music, language, architecture, landscape, culture and history, and come to love (almost) all of it much more, and only scratched the surface. I've also learned a lot more about my three relations who came out here to fight, and in one case die, in 1936.

If there is a better way of getting to see and know a different Spain, then I probably haven't got enough time or energy left to find it out.

Adelante.
WOW AMAZING!!!!!!!
 
#13
If there is a better way of getting to see and know a different Spain, then I probably haven't got enough time or energy left to find it out.
I feel I state the obvious in saying there is no better way.
The whole gamut of Spanish humanity and its life spreads itself before you.
I would also add I think there is no better person to do it.
Thank you for continuing travel detail, but above all for your example.
A life being well lived.
Regards
Gerard
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#14
Ooh! Now THAT is an accomplishment worth emulating!

Toting up my total days on Camino, I am still short of six-months. So, I have some more to do.

I get closer to a year if I add in my volunteer time. But that would be like comparing apples and oranges.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Invierno (2019)
Camino Frances (2021)
#16
At some point this week, last week or next, depending on how you define it, I will have spent 365 days of my life on the camino.

Not what I expected when I set out on a one off pilgrimage in memory of my mother during the last Holy Year.

In that time I've stayed in about 250 cities, towns and villages of Spain - significant duplication due to usually finishing using some or most of the Sanabrés. I've walked through 33 of Spain's provinces, 10 of its autonomous regions, I don't know how many of its World Heritage Sites, and National and Natural Parks, and also seen uncountable churches, mostly from the outside only.

I've probably stayed in 100-odd albergues, some several times - A Laxe's has the record with 6, not because I particularly like it, but because it's ideally placed 2 days from Santiago. Oseira Monastery comes second with 4, and several are on 3. Albergues have come in various forms, including many former schools, an Inquisition prison, three bullrings, above a funeral parlour, in 3-4 ayuntamientos, in a bus station, in several railway stations, medical centres, parish halls, priests' houses, convents, a palace, a former slaughterhouse, attached to various churches, in monasteries, sports centres, private houses and specially built complexes. I've also stayed in dozens of private hotels, hostals, pensións etc, including many truck stops and a few castles and mostly perfectly fine, although a few run by graduates of the Norman Bates School of Hospitality.

I've been accused of being Dutch, Italian, German and French, but almost never English, and never American.

I've walked for 40 days without a drop of rain, and been soaked to the skin many times. I've been hot and bothered and dusty and thirsty. I've had mild frost bite and once, in thick freezing fog, the water in my bottle froze as I was walking.

At an average of ~3 a day, I must also have visited well over a thousand bars, cafés and restaurants, mostly welcoming to indifferent, a tiny few almost actively hostile (almost invariably those where the landlord was promoting smoking). I've been shortchanged and I've been not allowed to pay because it was St George's day/the landlord liked pilgrims/somebody at the bar picked up my tab. I've had great meals at tiny prices and some not so good ones at bigger costs, and also found myself in the middle of public feasts, with free food and drink being forced on me. I've been invited into complete strangers' houses for meals, and been told that a bar that was visibly still serving food was cerrau.

I've met very many delightful hospitaler@s, some professional, some voluntary, including tourism officers, town hall clerks, mayors, policemen, a crown prosecutor, a local doctor, teachers, barkeepers, monks, nuns and priests. And a very few who clearly hated their profession and the pilgrims it entailed dealing with.

I've learned much more about Spain's literature, music, language, architecture, landscape, culture and history, and come to love (almost) all of it much more, and only scratched the surface. I've also learned a lot more about my three relations who came out here to fight, and in one case die, in 1936.

If there is a better way of getting to see and know a different Spain, then I probably haven't got enough time or energy left to find it out.

Adelante.
Thank you for sharing 🙏🏻😊 I would love to spend a year on the Camino 👣🎒😎
 

wildrover

thewildrover
Camino(s) past & future
2015 april c/f. vdlp feb 2016. Norte / primitivo Sep 2016. C/f 12/16. Vdlp 12/17.
#17
At some point this week, last week or next, depending on how you define it, I will have spent 365 days of my life on the camino.

Not what I expected when I set out on a one off pilgrimage in memory of my mother during the last Holy Year.

In that time I've stayed in about 250 cities, towns and villages of Spain - significant duplication due to usually finishing using some or most of the Sanabrés. I've walked through 33 of Spain's provinces, 10 of its autonomous regions, I don't know how many of its World Heritage Sites, and National and Natural Parks, and also seen uncountable churches, mostly from the outside only.

I've probably stayed in 100-odd albergues, some several times - A Laxe's has the record with 6, not because I particularly like it, but because it's ideally placed 2 days from Santiago. Oseira Monastery comes second with 4, and several are on 3. Albergues have come in various forms, including many former schools, an Inquisition prison, three bullrings, above a funeral parlour, in 3-4 ayuntamientos, in a bus station, in several railway stations, medical centres, parish halls, priests' houses, convents, a palace, a former slaughterhouse, attached to various churches, in monasteries, sports centres, private houses and specially built complexes. I've also stayed in dozens of private hotels, hostals, pensións etc, including many truck stops and a few castles and mostly perfectly fine, although a few run by graduates of the Norman Bates School of Hospitality.

I've been accused of being Dutch, Italian, German and French, but almost never English, and never American.

I've walked for 40 days without a drop of rain, and been soaked to the skin many times. I've been hot and bothered and dusty and thirsty. I've had mild frost bite and once, in thick freezing fog, the water in my bottle froze as I was walking.

At an average of ~3 a day, I must also have visited well over a thousand bars, cafés and restaurants, mostly welcoming to indifferent, a tiny few almost actively hostile (almost invariably those where the landlord was promoting smoking). I've been shortchanged and I've been not allowed to pay because it was St George's day/the landlord liked pilgrims/somebody at the bar picked up my tab. I've had great meals at tiny prices and some not so good ones at bigger costs, and also found myself in the middle of public feasts, with free food and drink being forced on me. I've been invited into complete strangers' houses for meals, and been told that a bar that was visibly still serving food was cerrau.

I've met very many delightful hospitaler@s, some professional, some voluntary, including tourism officers, town hall clerks, mayors, policemen, a crown prosecutor, a local doctor, teachers, barkeepers, monks, nuns and priests. And a very few who clearly hated their profession and the pilgrims it entailed dealing with.

I've learned much more about Spain's literature, music, language, architecture, landscape, culture and history, and come to love (almost) all of it much more, and only scratched the surface. I've also learned a lot more about my three relations who came out here to fight, and in one case die, in 1936.

If there is a better way of getting to see and know a different Spain, then I probably haven't got enough time or energy left to find it out.

Adelante.
What an adventure. Just awesome! That’s a Camino book, I’d buy.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
#18
Have read a lot of your post here in the forum and enjoyed them a lot! Well done and hope you still continue walking¡
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances-(2013/14/18
Camino Salvado Perth -(2015)
West Highland Way (2016)
Lyon France 2017
#20
You certainly have had a very varied year of travel, adventure, learning things and - a'a life on the road well spent'.. looking forward to reading more and, thank you for sharing all with us all here in your 'Forum family's. Camino thoughts and blessings....susanawee.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances April 2018... planning El Salvador & Primitivo
#21
At some point this week, last week or next, depending on how you define it, I will have spent 365 days of my life on the camino.

Not what I expected when I set out on a one off pilgrimage in memory of my mother during the last Holy Year.

In that time I've stayed in about 250 cities, towns and villages of Spain - significant duplication due to usually finishing using some or most of the Sanabrés. I've walked through 33 of Spain's provinces, 10 of its autonomous regions, I don't know how many of its World Heritage Sites, and National and Natural Parks, and also seen uncountable churches, mostly from the outside only.

I've probably stayed in 100-odd albergues, some several times - A Laxe's has the record with 6, not because I particularly like it, but because it's ideally placed 2 days from Santiago. Oseira Monastery comes second with 4, and several are on 3. Albergues have come in various forms, including many former schools, an Inquisition prison, three bullrings, above a funeral parlour, in 3-4 ayuntamientos, in a bus station, in several railway stations, medical centres, parish halls, priests' houses, convents, a palace, a former slaughterhouse, attached to various churches, in monasteries, sports centres, private houses and specially built complexes. I've also stayed in dozens of private hotels, hostals, pensións etc, including many truck stops and a few castles and mostly perfectly fine, although a few run by graduates of the Norman Bates School of Hospitality.

I've been accused of being Dutch, Italian, German and French, but almost never English, and never American.

I've walked for 40 days without a drop of rain, and been soaked to the skin many times. I've been hot and bothered and dusty and thirsty. I've had mild frost bite and once, in thick freezing fog, the water in my bottle froze as I was walking.

At an average of ~3 a day, I must also have visited well over a thousand bars, cafés and restaurants, mostly welcoming to indifferent, a tiny few almost actively hostile (almost invariably those where the landlord was promoting smoking). I've been shortchanged and I've been not allowed to pay because it was St George's day/the landlord liked pilgrims/somebody at the bar picked up my tab. I've had great meals at tiny prices and some not so good ones at bigger costs, and also found myself in the middle of public feasts, with free food and drink being forced on me. I've been invited into complete strangers' houses for meals, and been told that a bar that was visibly still serving food was cerrau.

I've met very many delightful hospitaler@s, some professional, some voluntary, including tourism officers, town hall clerks, mayors, policemen, a crown prosecutor, a local doctor, teachers, barkeepers, monks, nuns and priests. And a very few who clearly hated their profession and the pilgrims it entailed dealing with.

I've learned much more about Spain's literature, music, language, architecture, landscape, culture and history, and come to love (almost) all of it much more, and only scratched the surface. I've also learned a lot more about my three relations who came out here to fight, and in one case die, in 1936.

If there is a better way of getting to see and know a different Spain, then I probably haven't got enough time or energy left to find it out.

Adelante.
What a beautiful experience it must’ve been / you’re having...... I’m kinda jealous and full of admiration at the same time. I love the experience you’ve had/having some negative but mostly positive. As the great comic Dave Allen always said “May your god go with you!”
Nicky
 

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