Updated: Jan 15
August 1, 2018
I had a great walk today on the Camino de Santiago. The first third was by myself except for when I talked to Ole from Denmark for a couple of brief conversations. More about Ole later. But I walked 20.47 miles from Burgos to Hontanas on Day 13. I can’t believe tomorrow will be two straight weeks of walking.
As I mentioned, I walked by myself for most of the first third until I stopped for breakfast. After breakfast, I was either with Astrid from Austria, Basil from London, or Patrick from London for most of the remainder of the day.
However, during the first third I had a chance to talk with 70-year Ole from Denmark. This happens to be his fourth Camino. I noticed he had a limp, but he kept a decent pace and was faster than most Pilgrims. Later in the morning I commented that his limp was less noticeable.
Along the way, Ole shared that walking the Camino represents freedom. He clarified that everything he needed was in his backpack but he would stop for food and a bed when it was necessary. Of course, what he said was true. How much stuff do we own that we don’t really need. The life of a pilgrim is very simple. But don’t think I am selling everything and becoming a Pilgrim for the rest of my life.
Ole also said we can always do 15% more than we think we can and 100% more than our mothers thought we could. That is something that he learned when he served in the Danish Army.
I do believe that a person can do 15 to 25% more than they think they can. As for doing 100% more than our mothers thought we could, I wasn’t sure. I suppose our mothers may not want us to fail so maybe they don’t push us. I know my mother would be very proud of me but am not going to say that I have done 100% more than she thought I could or would do. She believed in me.
I mentioned yesterday that all day I heard various Pilgrims talk about the terrible Meseta. Some referred to it as a desert. I heard another Pilgrim mention she heard Pilgrims should not walk alone as they may be ambushed. And I kept telling people I was going grab the Meseta by the throat and subdue it. However, I must confess that those expressed fears planted a seed of doubt in my mind. I kept asking myself how I overlooked the dreaded Meseta.
And on the first third of today’s walk, two things came to mind. First, I realized it takes a lot of work to remove negativity from your mind once someone plants that seed. I kept trying to push those negative thoughts out of my mind but they continued to surface. But on the walk I gave thanks that I am not a person prone to negativity and fearfulness.
The second thing I realized was how important it was to only allow people in your Inner Circle who support and encourage you. This is true for me and made me give thanks for the business leaders, leadership team, and friends in my life. It is also extremely important for our youth. We want our youth to be surrounded by people who encourage them to shoot for the stars. Like the adage goes “You can’t soar with the eagles if you’re hanging with the turkeys.” I can probably do a better job of encouraging others.
To summarize, I conquered the first day of the Meseta, and I plan on doing the same for the next nine days as I walk through the Meseta.
I will share that this town of Hontanas is interesting. I imagine it would have been difficult for the early Pilgrims to find. You are walking and see no evidence of civilization for miles around you. But all of a sudden there is a “hidden” valley and the village is there.
I also made my first Mass since the first day. I walked into the small Cathedral and immediately became the target of one of the village ladies. She didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Spanish. But I quickly realized she was pointing to a group of programs where the Spanish text is in one column and one’s native language is in another. I grabbed the English version. But then it became apparent that she wanted me to read some Scripture during the Service. I was able the follow the order of the Service and read I Corinthians 13. And at the end of the Service the Pilgrims were invited to approach the front and they placed a cross around each of our necks. Cool. However, I did feel guilty about not pausing at the Altar before I went up to read. But I am pretty sure God won’t hold it against me.
And lastly, the photo is one of the sunflower fields I walked by today.
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See additional photos from August 1st below:
Brief descriptions of the photos:
Here is a pilgrim statue in Burgos.
Here is scallop shell marker in the village of Villalbilla letting pilgrims know they are on the trail to Santiago de Compostela.
Here is a field of sunflowers along the Camino de Santiago.
Here is a field of sunflowers along the Camino de Santiago.
Here is a cross in an intersection in the village of Rabé de las Calzadas.
Here is a small church with a cemetery behind it in the village of Rabé de las Calzadas.
Here are pilgrims and bicyclists on the Camino de Santiago.
Here is a lone tree (almost) in a wheat field along the Camino.
Here is the Camino leading into the village of Hornillos del Camino.
Here is a street in the village of Hornillos del Camino.
Here is a marker along the Camino outside the village of Hornillos del Camino.
Here are Patrick, Basil, and Astrid walking on the Camino.
Here is a view of wheat fields and sunflower fields along the Camino.
Here is a combine harvesting a wheat. This reminded me of home during the wheat harvest.
Here is a view of the Camino de Santiago.
Here is a view from the Camino with a Santiago cross in the foreground and wheat fields in the background.
Here is the village of Hontanas. What was particularly impressive is that we walked across the prairie without any visible sign of Hontanas. You didn't see it until you were almost on it since it is located in a small valley. Italian pilgrim Domenico Laffi wrote in the 1670s "With God's help we crossed this deserted waste land and reached the village of Hontanas. It lies hidden in the valley of a little river, so that you scarcely see it until you have reached it."
Here is the trail entering the village of Hontanas.