COUNTRY OF PROVENANCE
I said to myself: “Cri, how about leaving for Spain and taking the Camino of Santiago? and I answered to myself “Why not!”. Cristina, walking around.
I am a walker. I walk with my feet, with my mind and with my heart, but I haven’t always been a walker. Cristina, walking around.
My Camino de Santiago part 2
Cristina, the walker
Buen Camino de Santiago de Compostela
At this point, put on the headphones and play The Cinematic Orchestra as background music “Arrival of The Birds & Transformation” Let’s go.
Generally we start from Saint-Jean Pied de Port. Everything starts from the Pyrenees. Up to Santiago are about 800 km, it takes about a month to complete. Instead, my path was different. I had 12 days of vacation in total and just wanted to start my journey. I was not interested in reaching the goal, but on the road. Do you remember the little piece of inner peace I was looking for? With my time available I could not skip everything and arrive, it was not the philosophy of everything and immediately in which I am immersed every day that I wanted to continue to follow but that of the step by step. With my availability and my energies. So talking to my dear friend Clelia, expert in the “sector” and shining star, who helped me a lot, I developed all the stages and bought a flight Bergamo – Vitoria Gasteiz.
At that time, in addition to having started “practicing the art of walking” and I had enrolled in the pool and regularly attended pilates and yoga classes. The question of balance was fundamental to carry all the weight of the backpack and fatigue on him for 200 km and for the resistance of the legs, the swimming pool and the hydrobike are a holy hand.
From Vitoria Gasteiz, capital of the Basque Country, after spending the night and visiting the city thanks to the precious advice of Carlos, a wonderful and kind friend who welcomed me like a family member, I took a local bus and arrived in Puente la Reina. Where I would have left from tomorrow. A small village with a breathtaking 11th-century Romanesque bridge from which it all began. Crossing the bridge at 6.30 the next day with my 12 kg on, I said to myself: “I’m ready”.
Start slow, small steps.
Start slowly, with small steps, experiment.
I’m talking about a few kilometers but on average 20 or 25 that end up naturally increasing in the following days based on how you feel physically and how you are inside. It is an exercise in listening and taking care of yourself. You will be alone, but you will almost never be. It will be easy to flank or be flanked by people who, crossing you, will tell you: – Buen Camino! -, who will ask you where you will stop or who will tell you about their life. You will meet people as beautiful as bright stars and also boring, knowledgeable or distracted. I assure you that each of them will represent a part of you, it’s incredible. Along 200 km I have met and rediscovered myself, a thousand times. I met stray dogs attentive to their territories and that barked so loudly that they started making their last prayers in the middle of nowhere, I met famous people in their respective countries of origin, professionals, poor people, students, sick people, elderly people, families, even Love I met on the way to Santiago. Every day is new. Every human I met in 10 days left me so much that going back to my life I thought was normal before was hard.
Return to everyday life
I smile when I think of that feeling of being in the wrong place, just back from the Way, the curiosity of all the people who asked me about the experience and my pride in showing my sunburned calves or my face without a trace of makeup, everyday. But I also think back to the joy of having an always hot shower or a room not to be shared with 90 other people.
I feel lucky, If I think about what would have happened just two years later, so today, when I write, in the midst of a pandemic that has limited all the freedoms we were accustomed to and used to.
I am grateful for that tension that has pushed me up to there and that craving to always look for something else, elsewhere, to feel wrongly wrong for this. Grateful for my impatience for those who want us all to be equal and perfect, grateful for my being restless, for my hunger to read, not to give up. I was not a walking one. I’m not a sportswoman and I’m even lazy. I wonder how it could have happened and how much strength each of us have and how much we are all the same regardless of physical characteristics, origin, religion or language. I didn’t see different people but special people, I saw pilgrims. The Camino de Santiago is certainly linked to a religious path originally, but perhaps it has always been much more spiritual. Each of us has a visible and an invisible soul, without religions or categories in which to get stuck. For me at least it was like that.
I will return to conclude that little piece of the Way, I only traveled ¼ and it has already taught me a lot. There will still be much to write.
I walk, therefore I am.
I am a walker. I walk with my feet, with my mind and with my heart. I haven’t always been a walker. I started a few years ago, for fun and for a personal challenge: to walk on foot as many km as possible on the Camino de Santiago. The following year I walked in Peru on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and the following years I took many other walks, more or less known. Walking is a real passion for me and I can no longer do without it.
I love getting lost, only to find myself, along unknown city streets, endless woods or unexplored paths. I am two in one, two souls, two hearts. My name is Maria Cristina, I have two names and walking is one of my very personal forms of “Self-love“.
Will you come with me for a walk?