Day 10 : San Vicente de la Barquera
Nobody said it was easy
It’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh, take me back to the start
In many ways we can blame Rick Stein. Almost 9 years ago to the day the BBC aired Rick Stein’s Spain. The programme promised Rick driving his chum’s rather clapped out camper van, embarking on a culinary journey laced with history, literature and stunning photography through Spain. Gerry loves Rick Stein and after watching this series he was hooked. I knew and loved Andalucia from my first visits in the early 1980’s but apart from a few visits to the Costa’s and Barcelona we didn’t really know any other part of this country.
We made our journey across Northern Spain in our old camper in 2013. We followed the Spanish Coast along from France, dropped down to Burgos and on to Leon, Fisterra and the Galician Coast. In less than two weeks I’d become a camino addict and the rest, as they say, is history.
Our adventure with the Camino Lebaniego and Camino Vadiniense ended yesterday amongst the glorious flowers and landscapes of the high Picos mountains. Today we slept late, had brunch and not breakfast and decided to drive back down to the coast. Of course it rained but we were expecting this.
We always turn left at our junction because google tells us to… today we turned right. That was foolish. I almost climbed into the back of the car and hid. Never take this road. It’s high and narrow and uncared for and high and no barriers and way too narrow for two cars to pass and has awful switch backs and z-bends (and x and y bends too) and it’s high, very high. Turn left. Do as google says!
Apart from the section where I swore for 10 to 15 minutes and wanted to cry like a baby, we generally talked about our holiday. A few days ago on one of the camino groups there was a thread where someone said that those walking now were selfish or ignorant. That walking is a recreational activity and by walking now we put everyone at risk. That we should stay at home. Of course this wasn’t directed at me and it was only one voice but the thread has stayed in my thoughts. As we drove through and around these mountains today and back to the coast we talked about how great our camino has been. We talked about how much we have loved walking this path and the views and the variety of landscapes. We haven’t loved the road walking so much or the long drives but there have been some outstanding days and some moments we’ll always treasure…. not least Gerry trying to pet a wolf!
This has not been a conventional camino but it has been a camino nonetheless. We’ve walked every day, even at times when we didn’t feel like it. We stuck to our plan and we walked. We have absolutely no regrets that we came and we absolutely feel so lucky to have had this opportunity. We talked about the paths we’d like to walk, we talked about our retirement and the places we’d like to visit. We talked about our plans at home; I feel inspired to create a wildflower garden now after walking in these amazing meadows!
We stopped at the coast, looking for a place to enjoy one last cuppa from our flasks. It was grey and misty. It kind of matched my mood, I’m sad that this camino over. I played Coldplay – The Scientist. Lets drive back to San Vicente and look out at the view again.
This has been a little escape. Everyday we read the news about the COVID cases and world politics and division and sadness and Brexit and illness and pollution and financial woes. There is so much sadness in the world. We stepped out and onto this wonderful path and now we have to return.
The world has changed in just a few weeks and it will indeed keep changing. I wish I could click my heels like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and instead of going back to Kansas just go back to last December before the world changed.
Thank you so much for reading my thoughts. Thank you so much for all the messages on here and Facebook and Camino Forums… I am totally blown away by this. My blog has been read almost 7,000 times in July and I find that staggering. WordPress provides site stats and a map of the world showing where the blog has been read; how amazing that the camino can bring together so many strangers from all corners of the world?
I am wishing and hoping that my next three walks will still happen this year. Walking with a group along the Portuguese camino, and really hoping to walk the Camino Aragones with a pilgrim friend and a late autumn group walk along the Camino Frances. I have no idea if these walks can happen. Will the world be safer by then? I hope and dream that it will be. In the meantime stay safe pilgrims.
Ultreia e suseia
Deus adjuva nos