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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
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Glad you are home, but I will miss following along on your travels. Sounds like you are there in time to miss the winter weather that @mspath posted about.
Thank you -- though that's mainly stormy weather in Northern France, well away from the route I would have taken, even had I walked it. The normal Winter weather did hit the Pyrenees right at the end of it, but that's not the extreme weather in the North that the article discusses.
 
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3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc

mspath

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
JabbaPapa,

Thank you for sharing your extraordinary camino via this forum. Your tenaciity and perseverance have been remarkable. Now that you have taken off those special hiking boots may you relax and enjoy the comforts of home.

Carpe diem and, as always, Ultreia!
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
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Now that you have taken off those special hiking boots
The soles and heels are pretty much destroyed, so they're going in the trash -- but I have my other pair on right now. Same (UK) size 14½ French Army boots.

I trashed my formerly inflatable mattress after waking up yesterday, having used it one final time. Backpack's going the same way, it's been dying as well (both shoulder straps broke, and the zipper barely functions), once I triple check that it's empty.

Although I carried three different sizes of trousers with me, I had purchased a fourth pair that was the smallest, wearing those now, plus t-shirt without accumulated Camino grime.

And some 100% woollen socks that I had bought now fit, from less inflammation on the ankles. So I'd say that the health purpose of that Camino was a success !!
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
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There are several follow-up posts I'd like to type, but as things stand I'm really just letting my body recover and relax.

Back to my one steak a day, which is fantastic, but I've been wolfing down pork belly and eggs far more than normal.

I can still see the Camino just by looking out of my window, and it is as beautiful as always.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
I've been wolfing down pork belly and eggs far more than normal.
Well you have to be a budding millionaire to be able to afford "bacon and eggs" now in the US. Regular eggs were $6 per dozen at the store this week. Interestingly enough the "organic" eggs which are usually much higher were about $3.50 so have not gone up in price that much. Bacon, pork belly, etc. are now about as much as steak here as well. Enjoy your time savoring the memories of your journey (along with your meals) and when you feel up to it, share your follow up. I, for one, will be waiting.
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
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Well you have to be a budding millionaire to be able to afford "bacon and eggs" now in the US. Regular eggs were $6 per dozen at the store this week. Interestingly enough the "organic" eggs which are usually much higher were about $3.50 so have not gone up in price that much. Bacon, pork belly, etc. are now about as much as steak here as well. Enjoy your time savoring the memories of your journey (along with your meals) and when you feel up to it, share your follow up. I, for one, will be waiting.
The meat is up about 15%-20%, but that's from a very good starting price. About €5 for a steak the size of my plate instead of €4 and a bit. The pork belly is nowhere near the price of steak !! Eggs are up to €5 for 15 ; not organic as such but never been refrigerated though, so good enough.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
The meat is up about 15%-20%, but that's from a very good starting price. About €5 for a steak the size of my plate instead of €4 and a bit. The pork belly is nowhere near the price of steak !! Eggs are up to €5 for 15 ; not organic as such but never been refrigerated though, so good enough.
Ah...a good boneless ribeye here is about $15 per pound at the grocery store and at least double that at a steakhouse. Bacon is about $5-7 lbs so you are right, it's still cheaper to have bacon and eggs!
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
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The aches and pains still haven't quite gotten back to normal baseline, left shoulder has some backpack strap stuff, knees, ankles, muscles still complaining.

I have been stuffing my face though, catching up on the various series that I like, eight months worth, gaming again, and generally just staying in and resting.

Such a relief to be without the Albergues and extra food expenses on top of my rent and bills though !!

There's a qualitative differenc to this return home compared to the others, a lot from having walked back to France, but also from having walked for such a long time continuously, double any previous, and also for so far.

I still have the Camino fatigue like any pilgrim, still feel like I need to get my pack in order to head on out.

This is in contrast to previous arrivals, when it was just done and behind me.

Some Camino attitudes have also become even more deeply ingrained, a certain sense of continuous and yet stable impermanence especially.

One thing is certain though - - of the three major pilgrimages of this Camino, the most important by far turned out to be Santiago.
 
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Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
I still have the Camino fatigue like any pilgrim, still feel like I need to get my pack in order to head on out.
That sounds familiar. Although I have never been on the road continuously for quite as long as you did I found it hard to return to a stationary "normal" after spending just over two months walking. Just waking up in the morning with nowhere else to be that day was strange and unsettling. No words of wisdom to offer you - just to say that you are not alone on that one. Ultreia!
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
The aches and pains still haven't quite gotten back to normal baseline, left shoulder has some backpack strap stuff, knees, ankles, muscles still complaining.

I have been stuffing my face though, catching up on the various series that I like, eight months worth, gaming again, and generally just staying in and resting.

Such a relief to be without the Albergues and extra food expenses on top of my rent and bills though !!

There's a qualitative differenc to this return home compared to the others, a lot from having walked back to France, but also from having walked for such a long time continuously, double any previous, and also for so far.

I still have the Camino fatigue like any pilgrim, still feel like I need to get my pack in order to head on out.

This is in contrast to previous arrivals, when it was just done and behind me.

Some Camino attitudes have also become even more deeply ingrained, a certain sense of continuous and yet stable impermanence especially.

One thing is certain though - - of the three major pilgrimages of this Camino, the most important by far turned out to be Santiago.
JabbaPapa,
How nice it is to read a new post on your extraordinary thread! So glad that you are resting after so many long days and kilometers traveled. Like you many of your readers probably also feel a "sense of continuous and yet stable impermanence" ; we all ponder what the future might be .

Take care and Carpe diem!
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
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Finances for the final Camino month were tough again, train fares from Lourdes in particular, but I made it through -- no more Albergues nor pilgrim menus on top of rent and bills is a huge difference.

Got enough for tomorrow, and Tuesday is payday. Hooray !!

A great help is that there is a local fund to help the elderly and disabled at Christentide, that I had forgotten about, but I went to see someone in the local services to say hello, and there were a nice €40 waiting for me (they lasted long), and a box of chocolates, well-timed indeed as that was on my birthday !!

On the topic though, this fourth stage of my Camino did get more and more difficult after the first three months ; sure, there was a lot of sleeping outdoors in that period of it, so less expenditure, but even so. 5 days of difficulty, 10 days the following month, 15 the month after. And I got through December with a great deal of help from some forum members, whom I am deeply grateful towards, and also a few nights outdoors, and it did help that Castilla y León is not so costly as Galicia.

I'd never attempt a Camino with no money, that's ridiculous, but the truth is that my income that was sufficient in the early Summer of 2022 ceased to be enough over the course of Autumn to Winter 2022-23.

The only two I came across with no money as such were one clinically insane pseudo-pilgrim tramp, living on the Camino ping-pong manner going back and forth between the Albergues that would put him up for free because they feel sorry for him, and he is very disturbed ; and one "True Pilgrim" I met twice, first at Santiago, then weeks later in Mansilla de las Mulas, on his Way from Santiago to Rome with his two dogs and sleeping nearly always outside. Brilliant guy, and definitely a pilgrim, no pseudo- about him.

One German peregrina though looked at me in disgust and disdain, "if you haven't enough money, don't go on the Camino" according to her.

Nonsense, but this is the risk now with grotesque inflation plus the increasingly generalised touristification of the Camino, in a redefinition as a privilege for the rich, and no longer a Catholic Christian Pilgrims' Way, that all are welcome in, rich or poor. This has been the tendency for many years, but a tipping point seems to have been reached.

Of course there's a personal situational element to these comments, a certain bias, as I myself am now less capable of just sleeping outdoors than I was, 30 years after my first Camino, and with complicated dietary needs that are not dirt cheap as things were previously ; and the walking takes longer and longer ; but even so, daily Camino expenditure did increase substantially over the course of 2022.

I certainly do not begrudge those pilgrims wishing for more comforts along the Way, may they be enjoyed !! But a certain equilibrium that had emerged, a positive cohabitation in good will, is in the process of being ruined by the current financial crisis.

I think some sort of solution is inevitable, for the Camino anyway, but I do hope it doesn't get *too* bad in the meantime ... If it becomes for the wealthy alone, the fewer pilgrims there will be, the less custom at each place along the Way, then establishments will be forced into closure from not enough pilgrims. If things get worse.

We walk these Pilgrim Ways in Faith, not in cost/benefit ratio !!
 

Flog

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
Congratulations on completing your epic pilgrimage. You recounted many challenging and difficult times and overcame considerable hardship along the way, yet your faith prevailed and you persevered to meet your three goals, Fatima, Santiago and finally Lourdes..
One German peregrina though looked at me in disgust and disdain, "if you haven't enough money, don't go on the Camino" according to her.
But do try to see it in the eyes of others. Perhaps she meant if you haven't enough money, don't expect your fellow pilgrims or others to subsidize you? I'm with her. Being asked for money puts most of us on the spot.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
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Perhaps she meant if you haven't enough money, don't expect your fellow pilgrims or others to subsidize you? I'm with her. Being asked for money puts most of us on the spot.
Not what she said. And you weren't there.

And just saying "no" isn't hard, and I expect nothing from nobody, unless it should be some common courtesy, decency, and respect.

The Way of Saint James is not a tally of expenditures.

Anyway, she did help me.
 
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Flog

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
Who knows what she said? Not wishing to belabour a point but having to 'just say no' in the first place puts many of us in an uncomfortable position, and besides, 'in my opinion' walking a pilgrimage however long and arduous, doesn't automatically entitle us to charity.

But I do agree with you:
the traditional ethos/values/spirit, what have you, of the ways of St James are being eroded and replaced by the unrelenting demands of tourism at an alarming rate now. It feels very different to me now than it did when I first walked just eight short years ago. Harder to find, yet these values still survive and it's up to us as pilgrims to help nurture them and keep them alive. But I also feel it's true of society in general, we have lost the run of ourselves..
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Finances for the final Camino month were tough again, train fares from Lourdes in particular, but I made it through -- no more Albergues nor pilgrim menus on top of rent and bills is a huge difference.

Got enough for tomorrow, and Tuesday is payday. Hooray !!

A great help is that there is a local fund to help the elderly and disabled at Christentide, that I had forgotten about, but I went to see someone in the local services to say hello, and there were a nice €40 waiting for me (they lasted long), and a box of chocolates, well-timed indeed as that was on my birthday !!

On the topic though, this fourth stage of my Camino did get more and more difficult after the first three months ; sure, there was a lot of sleeping outdoors in that period of it, so less expenditure, but even so. 5 days of difficulty, 10 days the following month, 15 the month after. And I got through December with a great deal of help from some forum members, whom I am deeply grateful towards, and also a few nights outdoors, and it did help that Castilla y León is not so costly as Galicia.

I'd never attempt a Camino with no money, that's ridiculous, but the truth is that my income that was sufficient in the early Summer of 2022 ceased to be enough over the course of Autumn to Winter 2022-23.

The only two I came across with no money as such were one clinically insane pseudo-pilgrim tramp, living on the Camino ping-pong manner going back and forth between the Albergues that would put him up for free because they feel sorry for him, and he is very disturbed ; and one "True Pilgrim" I met twice, first at Santiago, then weeks later in Mansilla de las Mulas, on his Way from Santiago to Rome with his two dogs and sleeping nearly always outside. Brilliant guy, and definitely a pilgrim, no pseudo- about him.

One German peregrina though looked at me in disgust and disdain, "if you haven't enough money, don't go on the Camino" according to her.

Nonsense, but this is the risk now with grotesque inflation plus the increasingly generalised touristification of the Camino, in a redefinition as a privilege for the rich, and no longer a Catholic Christian Pilgrims' Way, that all are welcome in, rich or poor. This has been the tendency for many years, but a tipping point seems to have been reached.

Of course there's a personal situational element to these comments, a certain bias, as I myself am now less capable of just sleeping outdoors than I was, 30 years after my first Camino, and with complicated dietary needs that are not dirt cheap as things were previously ; and the walking takes longer and longer ; but even so, daily Camino expenditure did increase substantially over the course of 2022.

I certainly do not begrudge those pilgrims wishing for more comforts along the Way, may they be enjoyed !! But a certain equilibrium that had emerged, a positive cohabitation in good will, is in the process of being ruined by the current financial crisis.

I think some sort of solution is inevitable, for the Camino anyway, but I do hope it doesn't get *too* bad in the meantime ... If it becomes for the wealthy alone, the fewer pilgrims there will be, the less custom at each place along the Way, then establishments will be forced into closure from not enough pilgrims. If things get worse.

We walk these Pilgrim Ways in Faith, not in cost/benefit ratio !!
JabbaPapa,

Joyeux anniversaire! May you continue to enjoy many meaningful future years.

Thank you for sharing your poignant thoughts re the current changes on the camino and the resultant dual losses of availability for all and the unique camino spirit.

Like you many of us who have walked camino paths realize how important it is that such paths exist forevermore for all to follow.

I recall what you so beautifully wrote early in December as you left Belorado regarding memories of the good ways "with care and attention to that which has long been and that we hope to see continue" .

Indeed, may the good ways continue.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
CF (2015), CP (2016), part of Vasco (2019)
@Flog, you write that 'walking a pilgrimage however long and arduous, doesn't automatically entitle us to charity.' Perhaps it would have been better to preface this statement with 'in my opinion' as others on the forum or on the Way may have a different take on this.

So, 'in my opinion, if one has ample money, it is not charity to give to another pilgrim, nor is it a hardship to share it - and I would emphasise the word 'share'. Back in the seventies, with a youthful idealism based loosely on the example of the Bruderhof and people experimenting with new ways of living on the land in the USA, my family and I joined an embryo commune in Scotland. It was more farming, families and craft-based than the stereotype of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. Sadly the group soon foundered because of differences in how to rear our children, but we never ever fell out about money, which was shared without question.

Back in 2015 and 2016 when I walked the Camino, there were occasions when I might pay for coffee or food for other people I had met while walking, and sometimes others would do the same for me, not on a balance sheet basis as it was not necessarily a reciprocal arrangement more 'pay it forward' and because the pleasure of being able to share - be it food, encouragement or experiences - seems to be doubly valued and intensified on the Camino. Many of us walk alone and being separated from our families are especially heartened by the comradeship and the knowledge of strangers looking out for one another that becomes part of 'becoming' a pilgrim. If a cup of coffee, food or money isn't something a fellow pilgrim is in a position to offer, kind words cost nothing but they also warm hearts and lift the spirits of travellers when they are far from home.

I consider that to help a peregrina/peregrino to continue their journey is a privilege, not charity. Think of the work that Rebekah & Paddy Scott do at their home in Moratinos & organising the 'ditch pigs' clean up, or the donativo albergues staffed by volunteers, some who fly thousands of miles to serve pilgrims (as do some of the 'ditch pig' volunteers). I thank them for all that they give of themselves and their generosity towards us. Ultreia!
 
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The 2023 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
the increasingly generalised touristification of the Camino, in a redefinition as a privilege for the rich, and no longer a Catholic Christian Pilgrims' Way, that all are welcome in, rich or poor. This has been the tendency for many years, but a tipping point seems to have been reached.
This is the feeling I get here on the forum, too - with more and more questions about itineraries and booking. An indication of the general trend. When I get bored or cynical it helps to remember the camino has always had a touristic element. And I do thet sometines too, on the camino.

What does get to me, though, is the intolerance and entitlement that money can bring - a sense of superiority as compared to those who have less. And it's out there, no doubt about it. Money is nothing compared to purity of heart. And being a pilgrim is about heart, not pocketbook.

But a certain equilibrium that had emerged, a positive cohabitation in good will, is in the process of being ruined by the current financial crisis.
Or maybe just the relative proportion of those with means, who never knew the way it was before?

I expect nothing from nobody, unless it should be some common courtesy, decency, and respect.
Amen. Unfortunately for most people, the respect one gets is directly proportional to the money one has. That's the world, sadly.

Perhaps it would have been better to preface this statement with 'in my opinion' as others on the forum or on the Way may have a different take on this.
the pleasure of being able to share
Beautiful post, @SEB2.
There's an inability to be generous that comes with disrespect for those without means, calling them all 'freeloaders.' Some perhaps. But by no means all. Contributing to the betterment of all does not necessarily have anything to do with money.

And regardless - it is a joy to share, much more than to accumulate.
 

Pelerina

Camino Walker
Time of past OR future Camino
since 2011, ongoing.
There's an inability to be generous that comes with disrespect for those without means, calling them all 'freeloaders.'

Very true. It’s worth remembering that the distance between having sufficient and being without means can be a very small step indeed. 🙏

And regardless - it is a joy to share, much more than to accumulate
Yes 🙏
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Tonight, once the money comes in, I will start with the business of fixing the stuff that was broken on the Camino, first my glasses and my phone. I've found a source for the spare part that I need for the latter, plus in the meantime I'll get a new battery for my older Windows Phone, as that will arrive sooner, so get me up and running again. It was good that I had the Android device as backup, it saved the final weeks of this Camino, but I do dislike Android as a smartphone OS.

The specs are more simple, but I'll have to get a new frame from China, then down to my optician for one new lens plus mount the lenses on the new frame.

Don't know if I'll walk another Camino again, though there is the Roman Jubilee in 2025, but I'll still get replacements for the inflatable mattress (which deflated) and the backpack (broken straps and broken zip).

At least I had a spare pair of army boots, a new pair of trousers, and sundry items of non-Camino-wrecked clothing waiting for me when I got home !!
 
Camino Way markers in Bronze
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that makes the ones you see on your walk.

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Fixing phone and glasses...really important.
Fixing other broken bits...well, that Roman Jubilee is far enough ahead to give time to do that. By the time that rolls around may you have more ease of body!
I actually found a French supplier for the broken smartphone piece, and cheaper, so I'll have that in a couple of days, and can skip the battery for my backup Windows Phone for the time being.

The glasses frame won't arrive until probably the end of the month, so it may only be the beginning of March for that repair job.

I did forget to mention that the hem of my big black pilgrim cape is frayed, so that will need taking in to the seamstress for a little shortening.

Yeah, there's no rush to replace the hiking kit, the backpack is probably still OK for my normal training hikes (on the historic Via Aurelia, so the local historic Camino/Via Romea route) that I'll be starting with again soon ; which is a great change, because after my Stages 1, 2, & 3 I was hurt/injured each time and couldn't do so that quickly, though post Stage 1, I was still "in training", so it didn't matter. This time, the few weeks' post-Camino rest was sufficient.
 

Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
Just been reading the new book "Waybread" by Laurie Dennett. In one of the articles she talks about the history and significance of the Compostela. As someone who made the journey in both directions you might appreciate this part. :cool:

"The compostela had uses outside the city of the Apostle, besides merely proving that the bearer had been there. Since pilgrims in earlier centuries had to return home by the same means as they arrived, the compostela may have served as an additional form of safe-conduct, especially if the return journey took their owners off the established routes where they enjoyed considerable legal protection. Whether on the well-worn pilgrim roads or farther afield, the possession of a compostela may have resulted in spontaneous offers of meals, beds and favours from local people that eased the homeward way. The rules of the religious foundations at Roncesvalles and Aubrac allowed for the special treatment of accredited pilgrims on their way home, which included warm water for washing and better wine."

Dennett, Laurie . Waybread: Memories of the Camino for the Onward Journey (p. 206). Peaceable Publishing. Kindle Edition.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Just been reading the new book "Waybread" by Laurie Dennett. In one of the articles she talks about the history and significance of the Compostela. As someone who made the journey in both directions you might appreciate this part. :cool:

"The compostela had uses outside the city of the Apostle, besides merely proving that the bearer had been there. Since pilgrims in earlier centuries had to return home by the same means as they arrived, the compostela may have served as an additional form of safe-conduct, especially if the return journey took their owners off the established routes where they enjoyed considerable legal protection. Whether on the well-worn pilgrim roads or farther afield, the possession of a compostela may have resulted in spontaneous offers of meals, beds and favours from local people that eased the homeward way. The rules of the religious foundations at Roncesvalles and Aubrac allowed for the special treatment of accredited pilgrims on their way home, which included warm water for washing and better wine."

Dennett, Laurie . Waybread: Memories of the Camino for the Onward Journey (p. 206). Peaceable Publishing. Kindle Edition.
I have encountered just such several times over the years, and thank you for this.

---

Otherwise, my Lumia 950XL Windows Phone is fixed and back in action.

Hooray !!
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
JabbaPapa,
It is such a pleasure to see you so fit and content next to the splendid roundel commemorating Saint Jacques and the tower of the église Saint Jacques de la Boucherie. Thank you for sharing this photo here on the forum.

 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Good day today.

Cool and overcast, so I went into town for my shopping in the coat i.e. my great big black pilgrim cape.

Meat and eggs first, then read a bit (Tom Clancy stuff at the moment) -- then going to the supermarket for the rest of the provender, a gentleman passing in his car, "are you a pilgrim ?", yes but I've finished, reply from him : Bon Chemin ...

To then out of the supermarket, then I was stopped by two lovely bourgeoise beauties, sisters, "are you a pilgrim ?" ; yes, chatting a bit more this time, do you need to sit down somewhere, why not in here ? The tea room. They offered something to eat, had some themselves, Quiche Lorraine for me, and some Earl Grey.

Good Camino talk, good pilgrimage talk, good Christian talk, and maybe these two lovelies will walk the Camino. Every little step helps, and the Camino provides.

----

And something has clearly changed over this very lengthy Camino of mine ; I'm certainly more kindly towards others than I was, despite my grumpiness, but others seem generally to be more kindly towards me, mostly, albeit that some who were less so are now ignoring me, but there's some increased respect there too in the absence of lack thereof.

The more important of my various purposes this time was health, and it has definitely improved, but there's a curious spiritual change that I hadn't quite expected.
 
Camino Way markers in Bronze
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that makes the ones you see on your walk.

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
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Technically, today, I finished the material part of this Camino.

Since getting back home, many weeks ago, I have been unable to get into church for multiple reasons, but mostly from too much overall pain.

Others may certainly view things differently, but as to me, convert that I am, chronic pain has been a serious obstacle ever since getting back.

But today, I was finally strong enough to get in, present myself to the Altar and the Tabernacle, speak with our Parish Priest.

I have walked from the Altar, and I have presented myself before the Altar -- Part 1.

Still need Confession and Holy Eucharist.

Interference from this disability continues to be very annoying indeed !!
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
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I am finally starting to get a sense of the physical changes to me from this very lengthy Camino.

I've still not quite recovered from the ordeal, and the fact that my glasses broke about six months ago is more than just an annoyance now that I'm home (far less problematic when I was still walking -- though the fix for that is done tomorrow), but I am starting to get a comparative notion about my 2018 before and my 2023 after.

My 2014 Camino led to losing 15 kilos (a year of training plus the walk), and from the Grotto at Lourdes and with some Grace of God through our Lady Saint Mary, the end of my need for knee braces while walking. Good stuff.

This time, less dramatic, but still positive healthwise.

25 kilos lost, so better, and I have recovered much of the muscle that I had lost after the onset of this horrid period of disease in the late 2000s.

My body is stronger than it was when I started the Camino four years ago. But OTOH my walking is slower. So I'm stronger but slower, which feels rather counterintuitive.

On my first two stages in 2019, my daily average was about 15K, and my longest one was a 35K towards the end of stage 2. That was a fun day, even though it was full tarmac and horrid rain, and resting places few and far between, main road next to a motorway to boot. My memories of that day's hike are nevertheless quite pleasant ones. Mainly due to a slow crescendo from dire dull scenery to absolutely amazing.

Then 2020 -- a bout of the covid over 2019-2020, and whilst legally I could have walked in the Summer, truth is my "long covid" and the post-viral syndrome killed that possibility.

The 2021 stage 3 had its particular difficulties, including from being a stage not from home, nor getting to any of the pilgrimage destinations. Daily averages were down to my still current 12K to 13K averages, though I could still manage the occasional 25K+. A frustrating stage, but at least I made it that year back onto the Francès, and a decent hike along that route between Logroño and Moratinos. In the Meseta.

Whatever health benefits that year were mostly countermanded by some emerging nutritional problems that I still had not under proper control, and some injury during the home journey plus the covid 2.0 stopped my plan to start stage 4 in Autumn 2021.

I do have great memories of the various pilgrims and others that I met in 2019 and 2021 after I reached the Camí Catalàn, including some particularly brilliant hospitaleras/os. Two brilliant meals stand out as among the top five of all of my Caminos ; and another was the conceptual perfection of a simple, ordinary, Spanish menú del dia having neither anything special about it, but also exactly nothing wrong with it either. A flawless ordinary on a plate.

Then the 2022 stage 4 leading into early 2023 -- I got my act together at last, and despite those 2021 problems, I had strengthened my body sufficiently to make this one work.

Yes I was slower than three years previous at the start of it, but my muscles were better, and I ended up strong enough to get me to Fátima, then Santiago de Compostela, SJPP and Lourdes.

Overall though, I have lost around 40 kilos during the ten years or so since my 2013 training and 2014 Camino, and during this 2019 - 2021, 2022, 2023.

So stronger but slower at the end of it all -- the pain is about the same, but it's the fact that I'm slowing down that makes the prospects of any other foot pilgrimages in the future rather more difficult now ; though that's still a much better situation than in the early 2010s when I was thinking that my walking days were completely over. Certainly though, this was the third but very last of my truly long Caminos.

We'll see if I can possibly go from Home to Rome in two years' time, but that's just 800K, and walking back Home from Rome simply isn't something I'd want to do even in better health circumstances, the walk back here from Genova would be just too ghastly. OK on the way out though, as a difficulty to get past, plus some very pleasant villages and towns along the Way. But we'll see.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
It is sometimes quite gratifying to be a former IT professional --

From misclick, I thought that the following was lost. And then my IT brain kicked in.

--------------------

I think it's still going to take me a while to really recover and return from this one.

Some of it is just climate and weather -- finishing in Winter, even in the mild sort that we have down here, does make things harder versus a normal Camino situation, regardless weather, of having limbs and joints warmed up from walking every day, rain or shine. It stops, and then your body cools down.

Psychologically -- unintended, this one extended between 2018 and 2023, which makes six years. Not even considering the 373 days of Camino as such, nor the many extra days around that -- but now, that's no longer in the present nor the future, but in memory and in the past.

This, I have to say, is a real lesson.

The journey home, even though I could not physically complete it all of the way, has given me a deeper sense of completion than on even my two previous very long Caminos. There and Back Again, even were that just SJPP > SJPP, does seem to be a better Way ; not just more satisfying materially, but also ultimately more peaceful in purpose and reward. Some of you long-timers and repeat artists may wish to reflect upon that idea ...

The one really unexpected thing though, even after 30 years or so on these silly Camino Ways, is that people generally just don't look at me the same way as before. More kindness, more spontaneous help, more general respect, more laissez-faire, more forgive and forget, and really just more love.

Not as radically different as the before and after of my 1994 ; but perhaps deeper, and gentler.

---

There was, of course, my 2005 ; after which multiple people who knew me could not recognise me, and I had to actually reintroduce myself to them !!

That one was truly weird ...
 
How to Successfully Prepare for Your Camino
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Music to go with that image is the soundtrack for The Way.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Music to go with that image is the soundtrack for The Way.
JabbaqPapa,
Thank you for sharing your sincere thoughts regarding your journey home and the happy facts that it was " more satisfying materially, but also ultimately more peaceful in purpose and reward".
It is a pleasure for those of us who followed you to share your pleasure now.
 
How to avoid failure "be prepared"
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
Some of you long-timers and repeat artists may wish to reflect upon that idea .
It's a very good idea!
And it's not so easy for anyone not resident in the schengen zone - we need visas! Or for people in North America who can only get a mingy fortnight off work each year. TBH I envy people living in the EU who have time to do this.:oops:
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Got my new pair of glasses this afternoon, exactly the same as the old, very good, and among other things at least I can now use my computer monitor with less peering into it and less strain on my neck and shoulders.

Hooray !!
 

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