When I said I was going on the Camino everyone told me that it would be life changing. From personal experience I can now say that the Camino forced me to slow down and provided the gift of time for myself. In my regular lives the chattering monkeys of my mind are rarely stilled as there are constant outside demands on my time and even through I might have the very best self-care strategies in place I never have a whole week or more to indulge just to my own personal reflections.

Symbol of the camino
Symbol of the camino

On the ‘way’ the only really pressing concerns are where is the next coffee shop/bar, will my feet hold up for another day and making sure we do not get lost. However getting lost is not a major concern and even the route markers seem relaxed. Yellow arrows and the symbol of the shell are placed haphazardly, but always in the right direction, on items that range from stone fences, the road, house walls, gates, trees, and more.  Some are really easy to see, others are more faded and almost hidden, but they are there. Worst case just wait  a few moments and someone else will come walking along and together you continue. There are also the occasional marker stones counting down the kilometers and as my feet grew wearier these become a sight to look forward to – some come decorated with evidence of past walker with blown out shoes.

blown out shoe
A marker stone complete with blown out shoe

The Camino trek sees us traverse ‘undulating’ hills (well that is what we were told but some are more like great BIG hills and then we had to get down the other side too!), beautiful shaded wooded trails and across streams.  It is very rural, farming country complete with wafting farmyard aroma in certain spots.  We share the track with plenty of cattle, a few horses, ducks and more.

Some of the villages and tiny churches date back to medieval times and the yellow markers of the way lead us down cobblestone paths right through farm yards and past front doors and open windows from which locals pleasantly wave and wish us buen camino. The Camino is most definitely not commercial and those who live along the route genuinely welcome the perigrinos and we do not feel like intruders in their lives. Then again this has been happening for thousands of years so it is no doubt just a part of their lives.



What should become part 3 of my Camino story? Food of course! It was very large part of the Camino Adventure as obviously we needed sufficient sustenance for our daily walks but we were completely delighted with the range of culinary experiences! Along the way enjoyed delicious trout caught from bubbling fresh local streams, delicate wild mushrooms, Iberian ham served for breakfast and lunch but always delicious, salmon cooked in a wood oven, Spanish omelette of various varieties, gorgeous pasties, Galician soup and chunky bread. In Melides we sampled the famous local fare – pulpo –  very delicious and tender which came as a surprise to some of our group who had never experienced octopus before.

Pulpo on display fresh from the pot
Pulpo on display fresh from the pot so all who walked by could see exactly what was on offer!

Meals were accompanied by various wines, and on hot days, as we tramped the countryside towards our destination of Santiago de Compostela,  Galician cider or a cold beer went down very well.

Dinner was always eaten late – never before 8 pm as nothing was open earlier. A glass of cava offered a great start to an evening as we waited for meal time and in the cool of the evenings some of us accepted our hosts gracious hospitality and finished off our meals by enjoying a tipple of local ‘fire water’ thrown in for good measure and our guide Andres gave us an entertaining explanation in Andringlish – his version of English which I have to say was much better than any of our Spanish – about the qualities of ‘fire water’ and home-made liqueurs which vary greatly from place to place.

Such great memories – making me hungry!