Fog City Boy on the Camino Francés.
San Francisco, California – March 27, 2015
“The Camino is calling to me . . . “ quoth daughter Elizabeth some months after she returned to San Francisco, having completed her Camino pilgrimage in April, 2010. I had a sense of what she meant. Now I know for sure. The Camino is calling to me, and has been for a time.
For many, the Camino is a religious pilgrimage. My Camino experience last year did not rise to that level, but there were spiritual aspects to it, and I completed the peregrinación with an enhanced clarity of purpose for the future.
And so, tomorrow I will travel from San Francisco and return to the Camino – this time the Camino Francés – the most traveled Way of St. James. It begins for most in the small town of St. Jean Pied de Port in France close by the border with Spain. The first stage is a climb up and over the Pyrenees to the small Spanish village of Roncesvalles. Then the Way turns west toward Santiago de Compostela.
There are many established Camino routes, though actually one may start from anywhere in the world. But all Caminos end in exactly the same place – the plaza in front of the Cathedral of Santiago. Some peregrinos go on from Santiago to Finisterre or “the end of the earth” as the Romans understood it. I’ll save that for another Camino.
I’ve been training for the Camino – rowing on the erg (the indoor rowing ergometer), cycling on the Spinner, and walking with my pack. Unlike last year, this year I know what I’m getting into. And I can’t wait!
(By the way, the snapshot of me above was taken by an obliging peregrino from Brazil on the last day of my Camino last year – shortly before I climbed into Santiago. I’m clean shaven today, but I will again leave the razor at home. After all, it weighs about 8 ounces, and who would want to carry all that extra weight?)
I’ll be posting to this blog about once a week – my first post will be from Pamplona, about 5 days after I depart St. Jean. I hope you will follow this chronicle, and share your thoughts as I go. If you wish to follow the blog – to receive notifications directly to you shortly after I publish – click on the button on the lower right side of the screen.
With best wishes, buen Camino!
And with that, I’m off.