251 Miles Complete
by Julie Lancaster View Bio
Back home from the Camino – 251 miles done
The Camino gives the opportunity to connect with what peaks your interests and fuels your curiosity. Perhaps each college freshman should do the walk to discover where passions lie. There is opportunity for indulging in history, religion, agriculture, geography, ecology, map making, architecture, culinary, anthropology, Spanish language, masonry, physical therapy, and the one that was the most interesting to me, sociology & anthropology. Here are a few things that stood out to me in Spain:
There were bidets beside toilets in most hotel bathrooms. There was only one long pillow extending the width of the bed for full-size beds. There was much resource conservation in the form of amount of ice in drinks, air conditioning used, and motion sensors for lights were everywhere (and often too short). It was often a learning experience navigating flushing the toilet & turning on the shower faucet. Siesta time is real; entire small towns seemed to close their shutters & storefronts to look like a ghost town from 1-3pm. And common diner time is 8pm. There were no hotel rooms for 4 people; apparently people in Spain only travel in 2s or 3s. Bread is plentiful, and butter is not. A large coffee is 6 oz, compared to our larges of 20 oz. Of 8 beer options at a bar, 3 of them were non-alcoholic! In the grocery store, there were 8 non-alcoholic options, compared to 1 or 2 in the states (can you tell we don’t drink?). Road signs differ per country, and to me, many of them don’t make sense without context clues (I blame my left-handedness, or right-brained thinking for this). At the laundromat, the washing machines dispense their own soap. Swim caps are required in the pools. The staples, found in plethora at the grocery store, were fish (canned, fresh, you name it), ham, bread, preserved white asparagus, and olives. Also at the grocery, there were 2 peanut butter choices taking up very little shelf space to 8 varieties of hazelnut spread/Nutella. Fresh squeezed orange juice in common at coffee shops.
There is a wistfulness I feel now. Being back home in Flagstaff, the comforts of my bed, access to my own food, and not having aching feet all day and night are gifts. Yes. But a feel longing for the simplicity of one step in front of the other. And for using my body more than my mind. Having expansive views instead of sitting at my computer in Zoom meetings, writing curriculum, and managing contracts. But I guess that’s the beauty of having adventures. They are magnificent, and they are not the everyday. And the metaphors of The Camino are endless. Magnificent ascents and flat monotonous stretches. Coming togethers and solitude. Pain and joy. As I look back, I can also look forward. I look forward with changed perspective, desires to formulate new plans, deeper love, and more space.
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