Many people that walk the Camino de Santiago dream of one day living on it. And some are lucky enough to make that dream a reality.
I write this post today from my living room a mere one block away from the Camino de Santiago. Were there pilgrims walking the Camino del Norte route, I could see them from my living room window. Or my kitchen window. Or my bedroom window.
I have never walked the Camino del Norte.
Unless you count my walk this morning.
I found the yellow arrows and followed them a couple kilometers up to the church of San Juan de Amandi.
But I still felt it. The magic of being on the trail. If you’d walked past me, you probably would have seen me smiling.
As usual on the Camino, I stopped a lot. For pictures. To take a video. To just take it in. I was on the Camino.
“You can be on the Camino every day,” Michael reminded me.
Oh my gosh! I could!
And, in fact, we are. The arrows and shells marking the trail are all around us. As Michael and I sat for drinks this afternoon, he pointed in front of us and said, “There’s an arrow right on that bench! Why is there an arrow there?“
“Because we’re on the Camino,” I told him.
“But why put an arrow on a bench?”
“This is the old-fashioned Camino. The one where you follow yellow arrows painted on benches, rocks. I saw one on a garbage can this morning.”
I told him about walking the Camino Francés last September with my father. “They’ve put up these stone trail markers. No more painted arrows on fences and sidewalks.” I noticed it immediately back then. And it saddened me. There was something fun, comforting, comfortable, suspenseful about seeking out those yellow arrows.
So I am happy not to be living on the ever-more-popular Camino Francés (which saw over 190,000 pilgrims in 2019). I’ll take it’s quieter cousin (who saw just under 20,000 pilgrims in 2019).
I’m happy to walk the Camino to get to the library. Or the grocery store. I’m happy to sit at a bar along the route, hoping to spot a pilgrim.
And if you know anyone heading out on the Camino del Norte, point them my way. I’d love welcome them to my new hometown.