#Camino Day 7: on becoming a hedgehog

Avid readers of my blog (hi and thanks) will know that in Germany they don’t have the story of the hare and the tortoise. Instead two hedgehogs conspire together to win the race.

I have a confession. Today I stopped being a tortoise and started being a hedgehog.

My knee pain was not easing, so I decided to take the bus to the next big town of Burgos and rest up for a few days. As Elke has to head back to Germany she kindly took the bus with me so we could share our last pilgrims’ meal together.

It was strange to be on the bus especially as the route ran parallel to the Camino. First of all we sped past familiar faces who we had shared dinner with the night before.

Later the pilgrims became more distant. Stalwart little dots, recognisable by their brightly coloured backpack covers. Yellow, green, orange. Moving slowly through the mist.

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By bus we covered three days walking in a round about an hour. On arriving at Burgos we went to a café opposite the hostel and waited for it to open. There we met Imelda, another pilgrim, from Ireland. I told her about my bus journey and she reassured me that I’d done the right thing. “It’s a guide book, not a rule book” she said.

It’s true. And even now I’ve covered over 150km on foot, a feat for someone who is more used to sitting at a desk!

In the hostel I met other injured pilgrims. Sore knees, sore ankles, sore hips, feet raw with blisters.

I’ve noticed those who are a similar age to me are doing themselves the most damage. The youngest pilgrims bound along, invincible. Those over forty seem to be kinder to themselves and their bodies. Time to learn to do the latter!

In the evening, Elke and I went for a pilgrims’ meal with two other Germans and then went to the pilgrims’ mass at Burgos cathedral.

The mass was beautiful. At once strange and familiar. The priest spoke about the pilgrimages we all walk every day of our lives and wished us luck on the Camino. And the Camino de la vida.

My Camino may be on pause but it’s not over. And whatever happens I will always be walking the Camino of my life, but now it will be with the many new and lovely people I have met along the way.

Buen Camino to you all, especially to my dear friend Elke, who is now on her way home.

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