If I could, I would …

Hope you are all well out there, keeping safe and sane and planning marvellous adventures. I have been watching lots of camino videos, got a few new guidebooks, currently weeding out surplus items from my kit box and (don’t shout) adding a few new ones (the perfect hiking dress!).

Today I’m having the most horrendous camino withdrawal symptoms. Not camino envy, though I have hoovered up any little snippet of info from people walking recently, and not walking withdrawal, because I can walk at home, but it’s not what I want. What I want is the camino. And if I could, I would …

  • Make sure I saw more sunrises and sunsets! I don’t like walking in the dark, not even with a lamp, but sometimes when I see other bloggers’ photos of glorious sunrises, I promise myself that next time, I will make sure I am up and out and catch the sun rising behind me. Should be easy enough to time it to coincide with a breakfast coffee, or a sitdown somewhere without risking my ankles!
  • See all the castles. I would take time to walk up to the castles in St Jean, in Burgos, in Castrojeriz, and walk around the walls of Pamplona, and linger longer at Castromayor … any old stone fortification, I’d be there.
The Top Things To See And Do In Burgos
  • Visit more churches. As an atheist (don’t shout) I tend to avoid the bigger cathedrals – the overdose of gold and control puts me off. I do love the smaller churches in the countryside though, the simpler, smaller, down-to-earth divinity, if there is such a thing. Because I believe in people, not a god. And, I guess, because of old stone. I do love old stone. Is Eunate open?
  • Visit more museums. I’ve never even been to the chocolate one in Astorga! I did enjoy my visit to the Museum of Human Evolution in Burgos though. I’d rather walk shorter days or add more days off so I can visit all these castles, palaces, churches, museums and places of interest.
  • Take a sitmat and sit down outside more often, rather than wait until I get to the next café bar. Just sit. Stare. Feel the wind and sun on my face and have a banana and enjoy the moment.
  • Take a journal! I always see people sitting around journalling after their walks, and sometimes wonder what it is they are writing. Then I come home and go through my photos and memories to write blog posts and realise how much I’ve probably forgotten. I really wish I had had a dog-eared, worn soft little notebook for each of my travels, and imagine it would have had people’s names and maybe email addresses in them, and leaves, and receipts for wonderful meals, and little bits and bobs to remind me of good times and great people … time to find myself a nice travel journal. Maybe pop some paperclips in. And a good pen.
  • Stop in different places – I do have my favourite stops, favourite albergues, favourite restaurants … If I could, I would stop in places I never have before, and sleep in some of the albergues I have heard people rave about but that never fit with my plans. I’d like to spend a night in San Anton, in that albergue with the tipis, in Foncebadón to see the sun set and rise, in Casa de Sonrisas in Grañón and albergue Susi in Trabadelo. And not least, Albergue Rosalia in Castrojeriz, where I have a bed but have changed the date three times already (plus it’s just a stone’s throw from San Anton … I might have to stay and visit the castle?)
  • And I would walk to Muxia and then down to Fisterra, and walk back to Santiago. That hill up from Cee is going to be a killer, but we did meet people coming that way. Just have to take my time (and my poles).
  • Last, but not least, try more different foods. I remember the waiter who suggested we let him pick our tapas, and we reluctantly did … he brought us bread with cheese and anchovies, which was unexpectedly delicious! Irene in O Cebreiro said I should try the local cheese with membrillo and honey – it is fantastic. The zamburiñas, small scallops with butter, was always going to be a winner, but I was not too sure about ‘drunken chicken’ cooked in beer. Turns out I love it, and cook it at home now. I have enjoyed trying new things and I will do so again. (It’s a no for the maragato though sadly.)

That helped. I feel better now. And when the day comes when I can go back, safely and slowly, I will wind my way across Spain enjoying even more of it.

What would you do different, or more?

6 thoughts on “If I could, I would …

      1. I miss walking so much… one lesson learned from this is that next to my loved ones… walking is just part of who I am x

      2. Me too, and I don’t think I quite realised how much until I couldn’t just grab my pack and go whenever I got some spare time and cash. I am making plans though, things to look forward to to keep my spirits up. What joy it will be to be back, one way or the other!

  1. And as is the camino’s way, I just came across a new word today – a Galician fish called xouvas, a ‘much younger sibling of the sardine’ which is traditionally eaten whole. In the accompanying photo it looked like they were given a sprinkle of pimenton before or after being fried or deep fried – yum! Definitely one for my ‘foods to try’ list on the planning pages at the back of the journal I will be taking with me.

  2. When I got home from the Camino, I planned my next long-distance trek and read several books written by Camino veterans. I knew I had a different story to tell, so, over the next 18 months, I wrote Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows. Maybe it will help you cope with Camino withdrawal. Regardless, my best wishes.

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