This Camino has been an interesting one. We unexpectedly seem to have walked a sort of hybrid Camino where we chose the freedom to choose what stages we walked, and how far we would walk on those stages. Surprisingly everything worked out just fine. We had set our sights on walking into Salamanca from Seville, but as we moved along recurring knee and hip pains for me and mostly hip pains for Robin started to nibble away at our schedule. We had some beautiful stages and others that were less inspiring. When we walked into Baños we thought we would hang out for a couple of days, walk locally and then bus to Salamanca. As it turned out the weather was wet and foggy and we opted to skip the walking and hop an ALSA bus to Salamanca instead.
I guess we were never in the true Camino groove this trip where body and spirit carry the day and the kms just slip by. We had good days and then some that were more challenging. It just seemed we never found the familiar footing of past caminos. This isn’t to say we were in despair, but it was curious to note how things have slowly changed over the many years we have been walking these routes.
I suppose it is the same at home. Each day, like it or not, our capabilities are degraded. Aging demands its payment and it will get it no matter how strong willed we might be. Nobody gets out of this alive, and (news flash) as you grow older you don’t grow healthier you can only hope to manage your decline. But, all is not lost. Keeping focused on going forward with a joyful exuberance even as our daily walking distances slip or other physical metrics erode is essential. These caminos are not, in my mind, meant to be a painful penance, they are meant to be fun. I feel that is a key point. We all will have to make some accommodations to aging if we want to continue to enjoy this kind of activity, so why resist it. Your body will let you know when something has to change. Just don’t fight it. Be smart and you will extend your days outside doing what what you enjoy. This is where Robin and I are at this point. We test, evaluate and adjust and with a dash of God’s grace we will continue to go forward. Ultreia.
We are having breakfast in Zamora as I finish these thoughts. In an hour or so we will catch a train to Santiago where will have some further time to reflect on what our future Camino journeys might look like. For now we are looking forward to reconnecting with the city that has been such a transformative part of our lives and our friends there who call Santiago home. Time to get moving. All is well.
Plaza Mayor Salamanca