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Day 5: Hiking My Camino de Santiago

Updated: Jan 14, 2023

July 24, 2018

Today was an interesting day in more ways than one. But let me start with last night’s albergue—the one with the pool. When we checked into the facility, the room with the bunk beds was reasonably cool. My first thought was that I will finally get a good night’s sleep. A pool and a good night’s sleep are precious on the Camino de Santiago. Unfortunately, when I returned after dinner it was uncomfortably warm. When I was a kid I could sleep under almost any condition. But I like my atmosphere at home and find I don’t sleep well if the temperature and air movement doesn’t closely match my home. It must be my 58-year old body. Therefore, I am in a hotel with a private room and air conditioning. I am hoping I get a good night’s rest for the first time since I left the USA.

Despite the sleep deprivation I am loving every minute of the Camino. It sounds crazy but walking 15 to 20 miles daily in this crazy Spain heat doesn’t depress me.

Speaking of walking, I walked 15.19 miles from Puente la Reina to Estella. The good news is that I kept my breaks short so I arrived in Estella before 1:00 PM and the intense afternoon heat.

I loved being able to shower in the early afternoon and then walk around the city. I eventually sat in a plaza to reflect and record a thank you video to BWM Clients. The plan was for me to record the video, send it to my executive assistant, and have her send it to clients. The reason this was important to me was because tomorrow—July 25th—will be the 24th birthday of Bernhardt Wealth Management. However, I found this to be quite emotional and had to stop and restart multiple times. This initially surprised me because I prepare and send thank you videos all of the time. I think the Camino made it extra emotional simply because I am here having this unique experience thanks to our clients and the BWM team. I am truly the luckiest guy in the world to be able to work with the BWM team and serve our clients. If you are reading this and are a valued client or BWM team member, THANK YOU!

A couple of days ago I mentioned the importance of relationships of all sorts. I believe everything I said in it but my related take away is that you have to be true to yourself and can’t live the life someone wants you to live. In other words, I have to walk MY Camino. At the same time, someone walking a different Camino than your Camino doesn’t make them wrong.

Let me give a couple examples. First, I was reading a book recently about one woman’s walk. In her book, she mentioned her injured ankle and the fact she skipped a few stages so she could remain on schedule to fly back to the USA and her husband. In my mind, I made her wrong for not walking the entire distance. The bottom line is she walked the Camino she was meant to walk and she learned things about herself that she wouldn’t have learned if she was uninjured and walked the entire distance.

Being true to yourself (walking your walk) became relevant to me today. As I mentioned, I am walking with my Fellowship. And I love them and consider myself fortunate to have a relationship with them. They are younger than me, are faster than me on inclines, and probably handle the heat better than I handle it. Therefore, after stopping for breakfast after three to four miles, I excused myself after I was done with my meal. I knew I needed to start for all the reasons I noted above plus it was typically what I did on my training hikes. I needed to walk MY walk. And just as important, there is nothing wrong for anyone taking longer breaks or more frequent breaks.

Of course, being true to yourself is not always right. There are times I should seek wise counsel. For example, I set a goal of running in the Marine Corps Marathon in 2006. In my mind, completing a marathon meant you ran all 26.2 miles. I made everyone who walked any portion of it wrong because they didn’t run the entire distance. I wasn’t a trained runner and never had a coach but I thought I knew what completing a marathon meant. I was arrogant and injured my knees and have never felt the same since. If I had listened to an expert, I may have protected my knees and completed the marathon.

The same applies in my line of work. I grimace when someone is convinced they are only going to invest in a certain way because it is how their grandfather, parent, or spouse told them to invest. In reality the roots of their investment decisions are based on a time when over 70% of the daily volume of stocks bought and sold was from individual investors compared to today when well over 90% of the daily volume is from institutional investors. And they ignore the academic evidence that exists today.

There is a lot of truth to the Bible verse in Proverbs 13:10 that states: “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”

By the way, the photo in this image is a bridge at Puenta la Reina that was taken at around 6:30 AM before sunrise.

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See additional photos from July 24th below:

Brief descriptions of the photos:

  1. This is a view of Puenta la Reina from a hill where I spent the night.

  2. This is a view of the bridge out of Puenta la Reina before sunrise.

  3. This is part of the trail we walked today.

  4. This is a church steeple in one of the villages we walked through on the Camino.

  5. A view of the village of Cirauqui

  6. Part of today's trail was on an actual Roman Road

  7. Part of today's trail was on an actual Roman Road and bridge

  8. A marker along the trail

  9. Rocks are a big part of the Camino. Pilgrims leave them everywhere. But I don't know the meaning of the bolt and nut.

  10. Pilgrims walking on the Camino trail

  11. A windmill along the Camino trail

  12. One of many memorial markers along the Camino

  13. This stone column and cross was near the trail as I was about to enter Estella.

  14. This was a fountain across from the cross in the previous photo. Again, there were many fountains along the trail where pilgrims could refill their water bottle.

  15. This is a historic church building in Estella.

  16. This is a historic church building in Estella.

  17. This is another historic church building in Estella.

  18. Here is a street in Estella.

  19. This is another historic church next to the hotel where I stayed in Estella.

  20. This is another church in Estella and is where I made multiple attempts to record a thank you video to clients.

  21. A historic, old wall that separates an old part of Estella from a new part.

  22. A church in Estella

  23. Interesting steps in Estella

  24. This is part of a church I photographed before sunset.

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