Today we were walking from Santo Domingo de Calzada, headed west–always west, always it seems uphill. After about 4 hours we came to a wonderful casa rural that had a bar/cafe. We went in for lunch and–as we sat down, a song burst forth from the stereo: “On a midnight train to Georgia.” I told Sandy, “I don´t think we are going to catch that train today.”
The cafe was full of locals and pilgrims, everyone talking, sharing and laughing their way through lunch. I was drinking an Estrella beer and eating the obligatory bocadillo con jamon i queso. Suddenly I had what I can only describe as an epiphany. The Camino de Santiago is a long and sometimes very difficult walk. But it isn´t about the walking, It is about the long contemplative experience in which the soul has awakened. My body often feels tired and beat down; but my soul is rejoicing in the wide vistas, snowy mountains, vast vineyards coming to life again after a long winter, fields of blooming rape that paint the hills bright yellow.
My soul seems to say, “Look, you ignored me for almost 70 years; so just keep moving. I want to feel the freedom and joy in traveling through these great expanses of natural beauty. You can rest after another 350 miles.”
So, here we are in the village of Viloria de Rioja, birthplace of Saint Dominic. Tomorrow we go as far as our souls want us to go. The journey is not about getting somewhere; it´s about being somewhere.