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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Buen Camino: Day 1

Lao-tzu said, 'A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.' In my case, it was one local and two international flights, and one overnight train to Sarria (Galicia) before I could start my walk to Santiago De Compostella.


My mother, who has been walking the Camino from St Jean Pied De Port (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port) since 25 April, met me at the station this morning at 7am. We hit the road immediately after that, with our walking group - two Dutch and two Belgian - eagerly enquiring to my wellbeing and enthusiasm for this adventure. We each talk in our own language - mine being Afrikaans - but somehow language isn't really a barrier. Lesson 1.

It soon started to rain, continuing to do so with bouts of sunshine during the day. To put it in perspective, I walked in 13 degree pelting rain with intermittent sunny periods in my poncho sauna. Lesson 2: how to take your poncho off without breaking your stride.


With 9km to go to our destination for Day 1, Pontomarin, my feet felt the strain for the first time. 3km to Portomarin, and I stopped talking to everyone. When we started this morning, the tic-tack sound of our walking sticks drove me crazy, but this afternoon the mechanical swing of my arms and the steady beat kept me going. Lesson 3: go with the swing of things.

We arrived at Portomarin around lunch time, quickly heading for hot showers before lunch and, the highlight of my day, a siesta.

I did not expect today's 22km leg to leave me untouched - physically or emotionally - but fortunately it's nothing too extreme. I suppose the real test will be to do it again tomorrow.

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