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Day 20: Hiking My Camino de Santiago

Updated: Jan 16, 2023

August 8, 2018

As I left León this morning I noticed there were more pilgrims on the trail than I normally see. I was warned that we would see more pilgrims because León is a starting point for many pilgrims. I think they were right.

As I was walking out of León I was approaching a pilgrim. I started a conversation and learned her name was Paula (not sure if she spells it this way) and she was from Italy. She just started her Camino today from León. It turns out that she did no preparation and only bought her gear days ago when she decided to do the Camino de Santiago. Internally, I was grimacing and concerned for her. But I tried to encourage her and told her not to walk someone else’s Camino but to walk her pace and appreciate each moment. Unfortunately, she mentioned she was getting a blister and I told her to address it quickly. I helped as much as I could and then stopped for breakfast. I ran into her later at another cafe and she had other blisters already. I wished her the best, told her to take care of herself, and kept going. As I left, I said a little prayer for her. I truly hope she makes it to Santiago de Compostela and has a good Camino.

This did emphasize to me the importance of planning. In my case, I did a reasonable amount of walking almost every weekend in 2018. And even then I was concerned I did not walk enough.

I also tried seven or eight pairs of shoes before I settled on the pair of shoes I have. If I did no training and if I came to Spain with the first pair of shoes I tried, I can only imagine the number of blisters I would have and the pain I would be in.

This is really a lesson on the importance of planning whether it is to walk the Camino, plan for retirement, plan for college education, plan for an exit from a business, etc.

As I continued walking I met another person who started in León and am pretty sure there were other people who started in León based on how they interacted and walked on the Camino. I also saw Pilgrims walking without backpacks. I know I could pay to have my backpack transported to that day’s stopping point. I also know there are groups who will coordinate everything so a person can walk without a backpack. For me, however, I know my Camino experience would not have been the same if I only did 300 kilometers before Santiago or if I wasn’t carrying a 20+ pound backpack. I am truly grateful and thankful for the experience I have had so far on my Camino.

For today my plan was to do approximately 13 miles today on the alternate route but I got to my destination around 11:00 AM and rested in the church plaza where I saw the image of this Pilgrim statue. I took off my shoes and socks (think of the pilgrim statue from yesterday) to rest. After a few minutes I continued to walk for six miles approximately.

Overall, I walked 19.3 miles from León to Villavante. Tomorrow will be shorter, and I will plan to stay in Astorga.

With regards to the photo, I love trying to capture various images of statues or sculptures of pilgrims I see along the Camino. I am sure I missed some but look forward to sharing them on Facebook and sharing other images when I post more photos after I return home.

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See additional photos from August 8th below:

Brief descriptions of the photos:

  1. This is a pilgrim sculpture near La Virgen del Camino.

  2. This is a view of part of the trail I walked today.

  3. This is a view of part of the trail I walked today.

  4. This is a view of a marker as well as some abandoned, worn out shoes left by a pilgrim.

  5. This is a mosaic at the Casa Museo Antolin in Villar de Mazarife.

  6. Here is a fence around the Casa Museo Antolin in Villar de Mazarife.

  7. This is a small pilgrim statue outside of the Casa Museo Antolin in Villar de Mazarife.

  8. This is a pilgrim statue near a church in Villar de Mazarife.

  9. This is a mudbrick church Villar de Mazarife called Iglesia de Santiago. Look at the stork nest on the top.

  10. This is a pilgrim sculpture in Villar de Mazarife.

  11. This is a view of part of the trail I walked today.

  12. This is a church in Villavante.

  13. This is another photo of abandoned shoes near Villavante.

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