The Camino de Santiago is a tough walk across northern Spain, from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, in France, over the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles, then to Santiago de Compostela itself.
We are almost there! In 2015, my friend and I set out on this epic walk of over 1000 km from our home in Castanet in the south west of France. We began with days out, then short holidays, then, as the distance to our starting point became much longer, overnight stays of up to ten days. In September, we reached Samos, a small village, roughly 100 km from the finish and we return this month to complete our journey.
We’ve conquered mountains, survived blistering heat, tramped the area in Spain known as the Meseta, where the land is barren and the path rolls out in front of you in an endless ribbon. Sleepless nights in dormitories for twenty people didn’t deter us, neither did the long tramps through the industrial areas of Logroño, Burgos and León. Blisters, aching feet and shoulders, seized-up tendons – we’ve had it all. Yet the motivation to keep going has been in the sheer enjoyment of putting one foot in front of the other, of listening to the stories of other pilgrims and ending each day with a sense of achievement. At times, the scenery has been incredible, uplifting, an ever-changing vista which never fails to surprise us.
I have been so moved by my experiences, that they are providing a backdrop for the next novel, a setting for the plot, played out by characters who have become close to me. I will put them through sore feet, frustration with a snoring sleeper, the delight of finding an interesting companion to share an evening with. They will gaze in awe at the mountains, end each day wearily, but with satisfaction and, in the end, the Camino may help them to understand their issues, find peace – hopefully a happy conclusion – who knows?
At this stage, not even myself, the author.