Camino de Santiago – Getting Here

I was invited by my friend Michele to walk a portion of the Camino de Santiago with her and I said, sure, why not? I’m always up for an adventure. After watching the movie The Way, my friend Michele became a little obsessed with making this pilgrimage. She also found out about and partially funded a documentary “Life in the Walk” which was about a father and son who walked the Camino together.

The trip began with something I rarely every do….leave the details to another person. In the past I was a control freak, having every detail planned out, every move calculated, every bit of research made for every hotel, restaurant, location, whatever. This time, I let it all go. In fact, I really didn’t know anything about what was planned at all. Even now as I write on this train, I have no idea what our next move is except that we officially start our walk tomorrow morning. I have to admit that the process of learning to give up control has been the direct result of my running. In the sport of running, you really have no control over what happens. You can have a solid training plan and at the same time have it all go to shit because of an injury. You can be fully prepared to PR for a race and have Mother Nature decide to rain hail on your parade. After awhile, you learn to just go with the flow and this has transitioned over to my daily life. What a freeing feeling to just let go of control and just go with the flow of things. I like it a lot.

Traveling with Michele is always an experience. Things typically go wrong when I’m around, but things get bat-shit crazy when Michele is around. So the two of us together is just craziness waiting to happen. So far, all the little mishaps that has happened aren’t actually bad.

This is what we have learned so far…

– Never trust what’s on your boarding pass in Madrid. It’s not right. Even the person behind the information desk was like…don’t believe it. Look at the board for departures…but don’t believe that either. That can change up to an hour before you depart.

– Never wake a sleeping Michele, unless you have a death wish. The trick is to kick her legs and then run around the corner and peak to see if she moves. If she doesn’t, do it again until she comes too and releases the explisives that allow her to turn into human form.

Don’t wake her. Just don’t.

– Never take an umbrella that is offered to you. We thought someone was handing us a hotel umbrella, but it was actually someone else’s. As we were walking down the street, the owner of the said umbrella came chasing after us hooting and a hollerin’ and making the gesture of You have my F*cking Umbrella. Oops.

– If you buy an umbrella for 2.50 Eruos, don’t expect it to last through the first storm. If fact, don’t expect it to do anything but make it a nice spear to throw in the trash can.

This is what 2.50 Euros gets you.

– When at a restaurant, don’t ask for “the check.”instead, ask for the tab or the receipt. Asking for the check is the equivalent to asking for a false friend. We did that for a day and a half.

– Tripas is tripe in Partugese. Tripas = intestines. Order if you dare.

– Never EVER allow me to get hungry.  ALL of my runner friends know this. I forgot to warn Michele and let’s just say it was almost an end to our friendship. I need to be fed every 3 hours. ‘Nuff said.

A full Sandy is a happy Sandy.

– No matter what the weather, explore anyway. We saw some amazing views despite crazy winds and storms.

Things that were said that you don’t hear every day:

– Hold on. My eyebrow came off. – Michele S.

– If you poke out your eye you can’t walk tomorrow – Michele S.

So, tomorrow begins our journey on the Camino.   I’m going to keep you posted, but please forgive my spelling and the lack of editing…well…you’re already used to my screw ups, but this iPad is on its last leg and it’s giving me nothing but problems. I don’t know what this journey has in store for me, but I hear that it can be life changing. We shall see. Buen Camino!

6 thoughts on “Camino de Santiago – Getting Here

  1. My Mom just came back from a week on the Camino and had a blast. She said that she met a ton of Americans who were inspired by that movie. Now she wants to go back and do the whole thing!

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