It’s true: I can’t get a few days to return to the Camino. And less so now that the good weather is approaching (with permission of the storms). Short outings, less traveled areas, … just enough to let the summer pass and the cold weather return.
But it is also true, and this is known to all those who have been “touched” by the Camino, that there is always a background process that keeps the feeling alive. In my case, these posts, checking some YouTube channel or skim reading the Twitter account I have dedicated.
Or plan. Always planning my next trip. After the last one from Burgos to Frómista I am building a small list of the days needed to cover the stages that are connected by train stations. I don’t care about the transfers or the length of the trip: once you put on your backpack you enter another mood. No more rushing, patience returns and above all the ease of connecting with the people you come across. I’m getting better at that as I get older.
This stretch that I was telling you about through the Castilian plateau, despite the cold and even sleeping in unheated hostels, or maybe because of that, is one of those that mark. They all have their peculiarities but these, which many pilgrims abhor for their monotony, have the charm of the obligatory introspection. You can’t escape. It’s kilometers in solitary crossing just a few words in front of a coffee to warm you up. You end up talking to yourself. Wondering things out loud. And you don’t always like the answers.
At the end of each day, sharing a dinner, a coffee with the stories of the day or of home or of life becomes something much more intimate than in good weather. Perhaps it is what has always happened in the villages in winter: sharing the warmth of the fireplace while listening to the wind in the street and surrounded by darkness makes us lower the barriers.
And that connection is hooking.