125km from Sevilla
The day started off really well by going the wrong way for a good five minutes. Luckily, a couple of others had been following behind me and someone behind them had seen them go and ran to us to tell us. We sheepishly turned back and walked back; the route was a nasty slightly overgrown road verge (which had a trail, in my defence!) to find that we’d missed the turning just before the verge.
The Camino de Santiago is famous for its yellow arrows, which is how the trail is marked. Sometimes, though, especially on less popular routes and places that haven’t had an update in a while, the arrows are faded or small or the route has changed and hasn’t been marked obviously.
Luckily we found the right way though because it was a wonderful walk. I also picked up a shell today finally! The scallop shell is the symbol of the Camino de Santiago, and pilgrims will often have one on their backpacks while they walk. I was really pleased that I’d been given one in the churro bar I’d stopped at for breakfast, when the owner (I think) saw that I didn’t have one.
Today was the first day I’d properly walked along with somebody - several somebodies - too; by the end, I’d walked with Pascale, I’d met Theo, a German guy, then come across two familiar faces who’d stopped for lunch - Anthony, a British guy, and Ŝpela, the Slovenian woman I’d met the day before (pictured in the header!), though we were so excited to see each other on the trail that it seemed we’d been good friends for years. Such a busy day! I think this had been the most people I’d seen and met on the trail in one day so far. As much as I enjoyed and mostly preferred walking alone, it's a lovely feeling when you have a little familiar group of familiar faces to say hello to, walk with and talk with.
Even now, so much time later, I think about Theo sometimes who’d been travelling for the summer with only €1000 and had been walking huge distances daily, camping most of the way, staying at the donation-only albergues every few days and even skipping meals so he could afford it. Everyone here has their own way of walking, their own limits and their own goals.
The walk was super simple (after almost getting lost), mostly downhill and heading north. I found that because I was walking with long-legged Theo, I wasn't taking as many breaks or stopping for so many photographs and set a fast pace. We got into town at lunchtime and I spent the rest of the day as usual; relaxing, washing up, and recovering in the sun.
We did go out for a big group dinner all together at the end of the day, at a lovely Spanish restaurant where I ended up translating for the entire table. It’s been ideal for practising my Spanish! At the end of the evening, a few of our group were half-cut and dilly-dallying. Our albergue this evening had a curfew of 10pm, and we had about five minutes to get there! After trying to get the slow drunk people to move, Pascale and I left them and ran to get to our beds in time. It was totally fine, but I woke up later in the night to an incredible storm… of snoring. There’s nothing which makes a bunch of tired, aching pilgrims angrier than snoring!
Until next time,
Hey! I’m a freelance portraiture and documentary photographer based in London. I enjoy telling stories about adventure, the outdoors, and our relationship with the natural world.
In this newsletter, I’m digitally retracing my steps on the Camino de Santiago. From March to May 2019, over 45 days, I walked over 900km along the Via de la Plata (the Silver Way) route of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain.
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