An adventure in the Spanish Wilderness
It was a warm, bright September morning. The air was crisp, the sunlight gentle as it streamed through the silvery leaves of tall eucalypts, which towered over me on either side of the walking track. It felt as though I could have been the only person in the world at that moment, the only one to ever follow that little track in the wilderness. It was difficult to believe that, in fact, the very opposite was true. I was walking a path that had been travelled by hundreds of thousands of people before me, since as far back as the twelfth century: The yellow scallop shell way marks that I passed every now and then were reminders that I was another pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain, making my way toward the sacred Cathedral of Santiago, where the relics of Saint James are visited by thousands every year.
Though the religious roots of the Camino fascinate me, my pilgrimage had a more simple purpose: to leave my everyday life behind and connect with the natural beauty of rural Spain and its northern coastline. I walked for kilometres alongside fields of maize and apple trees, through dense eucalypt plantations, over barren mountains and across rolling stretches of green farmland. The first few days were quite challenging, as the slopes were particularly steep and it took some time to get used to carrying all my belongings on my back. Luckily, I was blessed with blissfully warm, dry weather, and the wonderful generosity of other pilgrims, who would share their stories and their bread with me, and appreciate the scenery with me as we hiked together.
Each day I would begin my walk as soon as the sun was high enough to light the way, and spend the next six hours immersed in Spanish countryside. I loved the little farm houses, adorned with tomato-laden trellises and grapevines, where I would see chickens scratching around the sideway or cats lazing in the sun. The coast was reminiscent of Victoria’s pristine beaches. Near Ribadeo, I wandered along the Playa de Las Catedrales (Beach of Cathedrals), where giant rocks have formed majestic arches and deep caves that can only be accessed at low tide. The next day, the Camino veered south, away from the coast and into the hills, where I embraced the shade of oak and chestnut trees and enjoyed exploring the many ancient villages punctuating the route.
I finished my journey in Santiago with the sense that I had experienced true beauty, not only in the picturesque landscapes I had walked through, but also in the people I’d connected with along the way. The Camino was an unforgettable experience. Spain, I’ll be back!
- Emily, EarthSong’s social media coordinator
The october edition of eNotes is now available
Click here to view our latest eNotes. Please note that the Celebrating Thomas Berry Colloquium on 7th – 9th November is now fully booked.
The Spring edition of EarthSong, Earth’s Cry: Experience and Response is now available.
EarthSong is now on Facebook!
Click here to view our Facebook page.