My plans for my next hike on a route of the Camino de Santiago are now made. I will be walking the 1,000 kilometres Via de la Plata route from Seville in southern Spain to Santiago in the north-west from September 11th to about October 26th
I leave on September 8th from Ottawa via Frankfurt and Barcelona arriving in Seville in the late afternoon of the next day. So I will be overnight for two nights in Seville to recover from jet lag and explore the city. I plan to walk an average of about 25 kilometres a day which will leave me a few extra days en route in case of mishap and to explore beautiful towns and cities I will be passing through such as Zamora and Salamanca.
This route is much less travelled than the Camino Frances which I walked in May 2008 and I understand that the majority of the walkers are Spanish. So this will be a much different experience for me because in 2008 I learned so much from my companions along the way. Despite my three Spanish language classes within the last nine months limited progress in learning means that my communication with fellow peregrinos will mainly consist of exchanges of basic information.
I am excited about this walk for these three reasons in order of priority. I will try to build on my relationship with God which was stimulated so forcefully in 2008 through prayer, meditation and listening in the age old spirit of a pilgrim. I look forward also to experiencing in relative solitude the much varied climate and landscape of the Via de la Plata from the heat of the desert in the early going to the cooler temperatures and precipitation (possibly in the form of snow) which will meet me as I go north and cross the mountain passes of Galicia. Finally, I will enjoy being immersed in the cultures of the varied Spanish communities I will pass through along the way.
I worked hard at writing and refining the book about my camino of 2008. Alas, I could not find a publisher who would agree to print and market the manuscript. However, I do not regret for an instant writing it because it was such a valuable exercise in defining my experience in terms of ground won in the journey of life and refining my values and priorities. I will write again about this camino with the same objectives – understanding the meaning the experience and possibly communicating to others through publication.
Physically, I have been training hard and unless I succumb to some illness or injury before my departure I will be ready for the challenge. Mentally and spiritually I am even more open and welcoming of this opportunity than I was in 2008.