Mike Benson’s Observations on the Camino

Version 3

Camino Primitivo
Day 26 of our Adventure: Stay in Grandas de Salime
Wednesday September 27, 2017

Grandas de Salime ~ no walking today!                                                     We have a guest blogger today! Mike always has great insights, and he decided to give me a break! Thanks, Mike!!

My Contribution to Our Camino De Santiago Blog

By Mike Benson

Lisa has done an amazing job with her Camino De Santiago blog. She spends at least an hour every night posting the pictures we took that day and providing you with descriptions of our journey and some wonderful history of the Camino. So today I thought I would provide you with my views of our Camino.

First off I want to say how proud I am of Lisa, and how very impressed I am with her determination and stamina, as well as being a GREAT partner. As most of you know, the Camino was my idea; it took me quite a bit of prodding Lisa to do the journey. I said yes to all of her “demands”, which included 15 days in Italy as well as her choice of which Pilgrim Route to take: the Camino del Norte (the Northern Way).  She chose the northern route so that we could see her family in the Basque region.

The Camino, and in particular the Northern route, is very beautiful, and when we meet folks on the Camino they always ask us how many Caminos we have done. When we tell them this is our first they say that we are very brave to do the northern route because it is one of –  if not THE -hardest routes to do (thank God LISA chose the route and not me).

Our adventure has been extremely challenging as this is our first time we have truly been hiking.  We met a man who has done several Camino routes; he asked us how much hiking we’ve done in the past, and we told him about our hikes in the U.S. National Parks that were around 5 miles long. He told us that those are walks, not hikes, and I would have to agree with him. Each day we start our daily journey at around 7:30am and walk on average 7 hours with one 15-minute stop (for café con leche), with elevation gains on average of 2,000 feet and descents of 1,000 feet.

You know in the States when you come to a town or some village that isn’t very nice you might say that town stinks? Well, in Spain when you come to a small town or village it too might stink ~ but for a different reason than what you would think. Every place we come to, just before entering the town, we pass by at least two farms and smell the sweet aroma of the farm animals. We’re getting pretty good at determining the type of farm life based on that “sweet aroma”.

The people on the Camino are very friendly whether they are pilgrims doing the Camino or the people living on or near the route. We have not met a single person who has not offered us assistance or given us encouragement. Spain is a wonderful place.

Lastly, here are some observations so far on our Camino journey:

  1. Lisa can wake up and without a single cup of coffee walk at least six miles; and no, she is not sleep-walking.
  2. Lisa has thoroughly enjoyed being able to eat bread in Spain. The words “I am gluten-free” have not come out of her mouth.  I am a little concerned about how she will react without bread when see gets back to the US.
  3. Lisa is able to sit down for a mid-day meal without knowing what the actual meal is; all she knows is it’s the daily special. This is an unbelievable sight to see.
  4. Lisa is an amazing woman who I truly adore.

2 thoughts on “Mike Benson’s Observations on the Camino

  1. Luz and I have really enjoyed the blogs. I admire your achievement. The northern route looks spectacular. One difference, while on the Camino Frances We did run into some less friendly Spaniards, usually they were farmers out and about their farms, they were very cold and wary of the peregrinos. That really was the only negativity we ran across. The food was great, or it tasted great because you were so tired. You become less picky the more tired you get. We keep you in our prayers and wish you a buen Camino. Hector

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    1. ¡Gracias, Héctor! (Punctuation via Google Translate…) We’ll join the Camino Frances next Monday. Most of the peregrinos we’ve met are planning to get to Santiago by October 1. We’ll be a few days behind them. Thinking the last few stages won’t be that crowded.

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