Saturday, August 31, 2013

Camino 2013: Thoughts On Walking A Second Camino

It's coming.  I can count the number of days before I leave on one hand.  The approaching Camino is stirring up many feelings - anticipation, dread, hope, concern - all a boiling cauldron of mixed emotions.  The questions that haunts me: Will this Camino be as enjoyable as the last or will it be a disappointment?  Will the new Camino enhance the experience I had last time or diminish it?  Worry, Worry, Worry.

 Last Camino I went with a blank slate and just absorbed everything with wonder and excitement.  This time I will know what I'm getting myself into.  Will the wonder still be there?  I am consoled by the fact that I met so many people who were on their second, third, or fourth Camino - None of them seemed disappointed.

So to counter these negative feelings I started to make a list of all the things I want to do that I didn't do last time and will now have the chance to accomplish.  As I put the list together I realized that there are many things I am looking forward to.
  • Visiting the Monastery of San Juan de la Peña.  The monastery is located under a cliff and people say it is incredible.  We will be taking a bus to the monastery on the fifth day and walking from the monastery back to the Camino Aragones.
  • Walking part of the Arles and the whole of the Camino Aragones, all nine days worth, will be new and is described by some as beautiful.
  • Taking a tour of the chocolate factory in Astorga.  I missed it last time but this time ... this time there are free samples with my name on them.
  • Visiting the Monastery of  San Julián de Samos and the nearby abbey the Real Abadía de Samos.  Last Camino I bypassed Samos.  Looking at pictures and stories about these places, I will not miss it this time.  As a matter of fact this will be our longest walking day because we really want to visit Samos.
  • Taking the roof tour of the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.  I know people who have done it and it sounds interesting.
  • Doing a walking tour of Santiago de Compostela.  I found one that takes you up to a nearby hilltop with panoramic views of the city.
And then there are the immaterial things.
  • Seeing the fall colors across northern Spain.  Though I will miss the Spring flowers I experienced last time, autumn had it's own color palette.
  • Topping the crest of the hill on the way to Cee and seeing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.  It was special on my first Camino and I know it will be just as special this time.
  • Seeing the sunrise over the plains of the meseta and the mountains of Galicia.  Heck, I just want to see the sunrise everyday.  I like the quiet of the morning and the feeling of a fresh start.  I like to watch the world wake up around me.
  •  Seeing the sunset, something I never did during my first Camino.  When I walked last time the sun set after I was in my bunk.  This time the sun will be setting at a more reasonable time.  I'm especially looking forward to seeing the sun set over the Atlantic Ocean at Faro Fisterra.  When we get there the sun will be setting before 8:00PM.
  • Seeing the stars on a clear night.  The word Compostella is derived from the Spanish phrase meaning Field of Stars.  The remoteness of many places along the Camino should give a spectacular star show.  I'm especially looking forward to Albergue San Bol located by itself on the Meseta far from any town, and La Faba on a mountain trail in Galicia.  Hoping for clear skies at night.
What would the new be without the old?  I anticipate a flood of memories of the first time I walked the Camino Frances.  I look forward to overlaying new memories on the old.

Every journey is different, even if you follow the same path.  I will be following new trails, staying in new places, and meeting new people and that is enough for me.

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