My Camino de Santiago – Travel Diary – 1. Departure
Available in: Italiano
This is the Travel Diary of two pilgrims who only wanted to walk the Camino de Santiago, without too many pretensions. They thought it was a trek of 700 and more kilometres.
And along the way they have discovered that it is not a simple road marked by millions of yellow arrows. It is an inner journey that strikes you with yourself.
It all started when I came back from Ireland.
Gabriele, an excellent musician and aspiring cook, is his birthday party. He just escaped a bad accident, let’s say he saw death in the face. Or maybe he saw his life running in front of him along with the guard rail he destroyed. Something like that.
The important thing now is that we are all here to celebrate. After a drink, he takes me by the arm and proposes me point-blank:
“Alby, wanna go to do the Camino de Santiago?”.
Without thinking too much, my answer was another epic and sonorous “Why not?”.
And so it was that we spent the whole summer preparing ourselves, physically and mentally, for the departure towards a journey that takes so many people. But even if more and more people choose to set off for Santiago de Compostela, everyone has their own journey. A journey inside itself, which in one way or another will change it.
This is not a weekend away from home, even a week alone. The journey of Santiago is an experience difficult to explain in words. Some mythicize it, others underestimate it.
Here I want to tell you only my personal experience, hoping to put in writing the experiences I have lived.
Saint-Jean-Pied de Port – Camino de Santiago
The dead man almost ran away from the pilgrim’s office. Indeed, the dead. We could have started our adventure like this, feeling guilty for having traumatized the sweet and kind lady of the first “Sello”.
Why? Because as a child restless, which we are, we wanted to leave immediately from Saint Jean and start the Walk in the afternoon. It is well known that the weather in the Pyrenees is unstable, especially in the evening hours, but it scared us more from having to wait another night to start our journey.
And with the lady’s wish, a trembling “Buen Camino! Adelante, adelante! “We took our first step towards Santiago.
Roncisvalle – Camino de Santiago
I really think she was right. Starting around 13.00 we have covered almost all 25 km of the first stage in the afternoon with only a few threatening clouds.
We tasted the fatigue of the first steep and stony slopes that made me scream “Who the fuck did you do?” And “What the fuck did you put in your head? To climb the Pyrenees? Or idiot! ”
Yet despite my problems of rising self-esteem I did it! Problems that were quickly resolved when I could admire eagles from the top of the top and cross the border with Spain!
We continue to walk along the path, here are the first meetings with the pilgrims and the enthusiasm has immediately reached the stars. But only 4 km from the goal, Roncesvalles, rain thought to destroy our emotions.
Or at least to give us the first hard lesson of the journey. He swept us through the woods, sending so much water and hail down that we can not proceed. We are now completely wet, the path has become a torrent of water that exceeds the height of the feet.
There is no one around us anymore, we are alone. A small shelter saves us from the storm and we can call for help. Arrived in Roncesvalles aboard the jeep of firefighters we are already famous as the intrepid Italians in the middle of the storm.
Zubiri – Camino de Santiago
The second day of walking begins before dawn. We are in a medieval convent worthy of the Harry Potter films. It’s still dark outside, but we are impatient to redeem the mistakes made the day before. After the abrupt start, we have already left behind the steep stony slopes, the high mountains to climb and the unpleasant emotions.
In front of us opens an incredibly beautiful valley, made of gentle green slopes with pastures of cows and villages with wooden houses. Under our feet they flow one by one, these small mountain villages, up to Zubiri.
The recommended stage for the second day. With our pace we arrived at lunch time, it seems almost a waste of time to stop here until the next day. So we decide to continue to where it will be possible.
After Zubiri, the last albergue before Pamplona is about 4 km, in the village of Larrasoana. This means that if you pass Larrasoana you must go as far as Pamplona to find another one, then 42 km in total. And we proceed …
Pamplona – Camino de Santiago
We still feel able to continue, so we decide to reach the goal. We begin to go down to the valley bottom along the river Arga, coming across a mineral factory that seems to care about the beauty around it.
Continue to produce and to divert the gaze of the pilgrim for a moment. Proceeding we find ourselves in a small path that continues to follow the river, surrounded by thick vegetation and occasionally open on fields and pastures. We descend fast, more and more taken by our sense of discovery for a valley so beautiful and full of history.
All of a sudden, over the hill we see Pamplona! We’ve been walking so long that our feet are starting to hurt. A scream of euphoria leads us to the city after 42 km on foot.
Puente la Reina – Camino de Santiago
Leaving Pamplona you start walking through the endless fields. With the city behind us, an extensive wheat-colored plain opened up before us and in the distance we could already see the imposing plateau of “Alto del Perdòn”.
Right here is one of the most famous monuments of the Way dedicated to the pilgrim and here “Donde se cruza el camino del viento con el de las estrellas” without knowing it we knew what would become our fellow travelers.
From up there you can admire the whole valley, Pamplona, the endless fields, and even the mountains from which you have just arrived. And even if you know the road is still long, you start thinking about what you’re doing, trying to see the peaks of the Pyrenees you’ve climbed.
After every climb there is always a descent, and this is full of huge pebbles that do not facilitate things. Not to think about the difficulty of the descent we started singing Italian songs, and it worked! We managed to get off so fast.
Here we have earned the title of “jukebox of the path” boasting a musical repertoire ranging from Roman stornelli to songs that have made the history of international rock.
And that’s how we arrived in Puente la Reina, a small and charming village where according to an inscription “all the paths to Santiago become one”. Here, in fact, they cross the Roncisvalle pass with the Somport Pass, joining in one way that leads to the tomb of the apostle.