Posted by: knitknigel | May 12, 2009

The Camino is the Training

Back in March and April, Geordie and I would get up early and after deciding if the weather was amenable, we would dress, then go off, first to find a coffee and then to train for the camino with a good long walk. Often Geordie would be out an hour before me, and we would take different routes around or through Stanley Park. There was rain sometimes, there was cool air, and occasionally we took ourselves up a hill. That was our training; that and a walk up to Melriches which was indeed uphill and took less than 10 minutes.

Others have different training regimens, with weights maybe, and some serious walking, but when it comes down to the Camino, the only way to prepare is to do it. There is no way that we can give ourselves training that includes a really good steep hill, and then another one above it, a steep downhill on slippery soil, a nice walk along a mud track where the mud sticks to your feet and pulls you in. There is no training that can prepare you for traversing a hillside on a stony track, to face a wind that pushes you back, to look out over a wild vista where you are the only thing around that talks – to yourself.

It´s been only 7 days and my training continues apace. The physical training is relentless – five or six hours walking over wild terrain is not easy. And the mental training is there too – as you tell yourself that you really can get up that slope, that the mud ahead will not go on forever, that somewhere, kilometers ahead there´s a flat path, and even a caffe con leche waiting at a bar in some little village where they are waiting for you to arrive.

And there is no way you can train for the camaraderie of the Camino. It is obligatory to greet those you pass with a buen camino or a buenas dias. When you arrive at the albergue, old friends from two days ago greet you with pleasure. You lunch with them, you eat dinner with them and if you are me, you sit around knitting socks and talking with them. And then, of course, you sleep with them – listening to the sounds of the night, snores, farts, grunts even sleep talking.

And it isn´t everywhere that you can arrive at a winery with a fountain to enjoy the wine on tap outside. I arrived at 8 this morning and the pleasure we had standing around that spigot taking our fill of good Irache wine cannot be duplicated.

So the Camino is training me. I will be strengthened by this.

Ultreia, my friends. Onward!


  1. Nigel you have expressed the meaning of the Camino so well. Love, Geordie

  2. Lots of memories of that part of the Camino from reading your blog, Nigel. I bet the other pelegrinos love watching you knit and I agree with Geordie about your description of the camaraderie and physical aspects of the Camino.

    Buen camino!!

  3. And the little engine said, “I think I can, I think I can.” Love reading your adventurous journey. Years ago I hiked a part of the Appalachian Trail, and it was no easy slugging. Keep safe, give you blisters some loving care and enjoy your accomplishments. Did you remember to bring sheep roving for your toes? Works wonders. Renate

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