Everyone who does El Camino does it for a reason


Everyone who does El Camino does it for a reason. Nobody just turns up and happens to do it. It requires planning, commitment and a good pair of walking boots. No matter what the reason for your journey, just being there following the flechas is the most important thing.

You can spend a day in solitude thinking your thoughts or meditating. Others can be spent locked in high conversation with fellow peregrinos. All sorts of things can come up – sport, politics, food & drink, pets, weather, economics. There is never a dull conversation. From my experience, comedic conversations were the ones that stood out and my level of Spanish improved by the hour. I was lucky enough to bump into two sisters from Sevilla and complete the rest of El Camino with them. My Spanish was better than their English so we talked in Spanish for the majority of time. I was very happy to help with their English! I always recall some funny moments lost in translation. How we all came together was a classic case on El Camino and I was all too happy this happened. I was pumping up a massive hill and the two sisters were trying to take a picture of themselves and the town in the background. I offered to take it for them and we started to chat in Spanish and continued to walk and talk all the way to the next town.

They took me to a place that was recommended to them by a friend who had done it before. It was here that I had my first taste of pimientos de padron. Grilled whole and seasoned with salt is the only way to have them. This was my first taste of the local dishes of Galicia. Mariscada, sopa gallego pulpo, tarta de Santiago. There is much more to get into. After this night, all I ate was local not to mention Estella Galicia (tasty beer) and Ribeira (sweet white wine). I can definitely confirm my top three hangover in Santiago after celebrating all over town in the bars with fellow peregrinos from my hostel.

I found an incredible amount of satisfaction (Mick Jagger look away) and gratification upon arriving in Santiago and standing in front of the imposing cathedral in the plaza then taking a seat on the cobbles for a good while and aired out my feet.

It has been said that El Camino can be life changing and is something that I think about daily. I can say it has had a profound impact on me, so much so I am planning to return to do a monster hike from Le Puy to Finisterre late 2013. Buen Camino!

Eddie Heakin

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