There are numerous Camino routes throughout Europe, including Camino Francés, the most popular walk and the one featured in a favorite movie of ours, The Way. So why, then, did we choose to walk one of the lesser known routes, Camino del Norte?
We had a particular vision for what we wanted in our Camino experience, and Dale did some serious homework to find the trail that most matched that vision:
The guidebook’s description of today’s leg of the journey was less than inspiring: “As you slog through the first half of today’s stage, remind yourself that by day’s end you will be in a beautiful place…. Sometimes bleak, often forgettable, the walk… is poorly way-marked and best finished quickly and put behind you.”
We were excited about today’s destination: Bilbao. The week before starting the Camino, Dale and I had spent a night in Bilbao with our friend Tamara, and it had been a great experience. We stayed at an Air B&B apartment in the city’s historic city center, known as the Seven Streets, and it was charming, with lots of restaurants, panaderias, pastelerias, and even a chocolateria or two. And it was in Bilbao that we were introduced to the sublime pleasure of eating Basque food.
It was bound to happen at some point during the hike: total meltdown.
All the PMA that I had channeled on the previous days wasn’t going to get me anywhere today. Not meditation, not smiling, not listening to the wind flowing through the branches or the birds singing in the trees. Uh-uh. None of it was working.