Thought for the Week – Camino Pilgrimage

Audrey Sebatindira shares her thoughts as she walks the Camino de Santiago.

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Church Window Mask

I completed the Camino a week after this visit to Samos and have had some time for early reflections on the walk.

Spring had already sprung along much of the way. Hard treks were rewarded with vistas of snow-topped mountains, ever-present behind rolling hills boasting blushes of pink and purple flowers newly bloomed. The ubiquitous wind farms similarly present for most of the trip less an eyesore, more a promise to maintain the beauty of this landscape.

There was also this fun juxtaposition between the dailiness of local life and the state of flux in which many pilgrims found themselves. I watched the Taiwanese man who had quit his job to find inner peace eat breakfast alongside a gruff Spanish local whose morning espresso was set down at what I assume was his usual spot within seconds of his arrival in the bar. Or there was the priest at Melide who arrived late for 19:00 Mass; as we listened to him hurriedly don his robes in a side room I thought about an American couple I’d met who were cycling from Pamplona where they’d just helped their son welcome his seventh child.

But I spent most of the trip thinking about grief. After walking with Lasse (my walking buddy in the video) for 8 days, he pushed ahead to keep to his schedule. Feeling like I was missing a limb, I was grateful to bump into Theresa the next day, whom I had met several nights before and assumed I’d never see again. The coming and going of pilgrim friends throughout my journey felt like a microcosm of life – like life sped up. It made me think about how I deal with loss in wider life and has produced observations that feel apt for the coming Holy Week.

Doubtless many more reflections await, but all in all a fab and meditative time.