Camino Norte to Santiago de Compostela 2011

Camino Norte from Irun to Santiago de Compostela

Realizing that with my cycling, bike repair and navigational skills, the plan to cycle to North Cape was slightly over-ambitious, I soon found a good alternative: walk five weeks in Spain from Irun, on the French border, to Santiago de Compostela. This is a distance of around 800 kilometres, waymarking is excellent, bike repair skills not required. The route from Irun to SdC is not the main route. The main route, the Camino Frances, can be very hot and crowded in summer. The route from Irun is less popular and temperatures are moderate, so the choice was easy.

Unlike many others, I had no religious or spiritual reasons for walking the Camino. I just love nature, being outside, walking and that’s why I undertook it. Walking the Camino turned out to be one of the most wonderful experiences of my life so far. As Domenico, one of my Camino friends from Calabria, says: “it’s another world”. On the Camino, we are all pilgrims. Everybody’s sharing food and wine. Age doesn’t matter, nationalities don’t matter, your profession doesn’t matter. The best thing about the Camino was meeting all these people.

A very unique experience is having no plans or scheduled meetings for weeks in a row. You get up, have breakfast, start following the arrows and then you’ll just see. In the beginning, I wanted to plan ahead and had thoughts like “will there be a place to sleep?”, “should I arrange certain things beforehand?”. Gradually, this changed into “we’ll just see how it goes”. This effect stayed after the Camino, causing me to have hardly any thoughts about how things would work out in my new job in a completely unknown field. “We’ll just see”, I thought, in pure relaxation.

Another effect that lasted was a love for Spain. What a beautiful, interesting and diverse country!

July 5: from the Netherlands to Irun
July 6 – July 12: Basque Country
July 16 – July 22: Cantabria
July 23 – July 28: first part of Asturias
July 29 – August 2: second part of Asturias
August 3 – August 12: Galicia

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