This month we have all heard dramatic news and seen images that have probably changed us forever. For this reason, we would like to share with you some of our best memories of the Camino de Santiago. And more precisely Chiara, who loves the Camino, will talk about her experience.
We would also like to ask you to share your experiences to help to enrich this message. Are you in?
My best memories of the Camino de Santiago
I think we are all aware that we are living an exceptional historical moment. For the first time, my generation was hit by a sudden and painful event in the first person and all this made me reflect in general on my life and my experiences.
Each one of us faces this circumstance in a different way, for me it is through writing.
By nature I am a positive person and now more than ever I find myself thinking about those happy moments that I have lived in the last year and one of the experiences that most knocks on the door of memories of the Camino de Santiago. I believe that I can start from here to rebuild with energy the return to normality.
I would like to share with all of you, the feeling of hope and the good memories that this experience has left me. If possible, I would like to help you awaken your memories as well. I am sure that if you can share them, they would be welcomed by all those who have made the same journey, or want to do it.
These are some of the things that have marked me most during my experience on the Portuguese Coastal Route, from Baiona to Santiago. Let’s see if they sound familiar 🙂
1. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago
I will never forget the beginning of my journey along the Galician coast, just before the coastal town of Baiona. If I think about it again, a smile keeps appearing and a warm feeling invades my body. Which is why the best memories of the Camino de Santiago are always related to the people.
I had just started walking, full of energy as you only feel when you start a journey. Full of expectations, the ocean was waiting for me on my left, the sun was warming my face, I was ready to start my adventure.
After putting on my headphones and starting the playlist I had prepared, I began walking on the dirt road indicated by the well known yellow arrow.
And there, I heard a voice behind me: “girl… girl”. At first I couldn’t understand exactly what this lady was saying to me, because of the music, but I still turned around, intrigued.
I will never forget that seventy year old lady who was chasing me, with a tray of homemade, freshly baked pastries, and who was offering me, insistently, to carry them on my way. I can assure you that they were some of the most delicious pastries I have ever tasted, so full of sweetness, of that special humanity that charged me with new energy to start my journey.
It may seem banal, I know, but for me this opportunity to discover the most human side of people, which unfortunately we often forget, is probably the true meaning of the journey to Santiago.
I showed her a smile full of gratitude, not only for the kindness of this lady, but also because somehow I knew that the whole community of pilgrims who would have walked this and the other roads to Santiago would be lucky enough to feel spoilt in the same way, to feel that closeness that I had witnessed.
After this first meeting, I had the opportunity to meet many other pilgrims, from other countries, and that was also something exceptional. Every time I met another pilgrim, I felt that we shared something and that this, in some way, brought us closer.
It’s rare, but it’s like being part of a community moved by the same feeling.
But let’s continue, I want to tell you about the time when I met the second wonder, that became one of the best memories of the Camino de Santiago.
2. The nature that surrounded me along the Camino
I must admit that I have a weakness for everything that belongs to the natural world, the mountain landscapes, the forests with their charm and mystery, the sky that is glimpsed among the branches of the trees but above all the sea. I have always been particularly fascinated by this immense expanse of water, the waves on the coast, the sand between my feet.
For this reason I chose to follow the Portuguese Coastal Way. Sometimes, I had to stop and contemplate the beauty of the ocean because it was simply too incredible to walk on its side. I was so happy to be able to walk on the Atlantic Ocean that I often surprised myself with a smile full of wonder.
I have such clear memories that it seems to me that it happened just yesterday. What an incredible phenomenon, our memory! Don’t you think?
How many times do we remember only the most beautiful things of an event of the past? As if we unconsciously want to retain only what makes us happy. I honestly don’t think it’s by chance…
That is, if I stop to think about it in detail, I remember that my feet and right knee hurt on the way, but to remember these things I have to make an effort. On the other hand, the impression of amazement that I experienced during the journey, and the positive thoughts triggered by this experience are automatic, invade me without having to search.
I am curious to know if the same thing is happening to you…
Continuing with my journey, we arrive at the third of my memories of the Camino de Santiago, that has marked my journey.
3. The moments of personal reflection
I believe that this is the reality most often experienced during a journey as unique as the Camino de Santiago.
Far from everything we know and define as everyday life, routine, the daily stress, we are finally alone in front of ourselves.
There are no commitments to hide, no business meetings, no deadlines to meet, no appointments we can’t be late for. It is just us and our thoughts. Alone, without masks, completely honest with ourselves.
Maybe some people are afraid of that. This silence, this quietness can be frightening because we’re not used to it. However, once we have overcome the first obstacle, absorbed in that inner conversation, it is fantastic to get lost in our deepest thoughts.
If we are free to manifest our true and deepest self, we have the opportunity to know who we are and what we refuse to be. Memories arise. Those same memories that we have locked away so that they don’t bother us. But that have not been forgotten.
The problems we have decided not to face are repeated and perhaps now we will find a way to solve them because we give space to a dialogue that until now we had denied.
It is not a coincidence that many philosophers thought that the greatest thoughts were born during a journey.
As I walk along, absorbed in these reflections, I wonder if the same thing happens to all the other pilgrims.
Will they all have the same experience? Or is this happening just to me?
Finally, the last memory of my Camino de Santiago, one of the best things of this experience.
4. The delicious food I could taste on the way
I do not know if this memory has been altered by the fact that after any physical activity we are particularly hungry and everything that is offered to us seems to taste even better, but I think that I am not too far from reality. In some way the gastronomy of Galicia is unique, compared to the rest of Spain. Which is why it became one of my best memories of the Camino de Santiago.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the cuisine of the whole Iberian Peninsula and I have rarely felt unsatisfied with the typical dishes, but there is something unique about Galician gastronomy.
Maybe it’s because of the love they put into the preparation, because of the quality of the typical products, I can’t say… but during my experience I had the opportunity to try a typical local dish every day and I remember with great pleasure these meals (and wines).
I finish here this exploration to the box of memories and I hope I have provoked at least a small smile by sharing these brief personal experiences.
If you could comment on what impressed you most during your trip, or during a similar experience, perhaps we can help create a positive memory and perhaps overcome this situation along with a smile.
If we are together all this will pass easier and we will be able to live soon many other unique adventures along the Way. What about you, would you like to share your best memories of the Camino de Santiago?
Thank you all and Buen Camino!