Denver Botanical Gardens

Denver Botanical Gardens

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The three phases of the Camino

We heard a simple description of the Camino, when it is divided into three parts, each a little more than 150 miles.  The first third is "physical".  The second third is "mental".  The last third is "spiritual.  Of course, this is just one method of considering the walk.  But at this time it does seem to make sense.  The first couple weeks involve many days with big climbs and steep descents.  Both are difficult when required day after day.  We have just entered the middle phase.  The path is almost completely flat for 10 days.  No special scenery of any kind.  This is when many pilgrims take a bus or train.  Our bodies should be strong enough to handle it quite easily.  Our minds will be tested.  The last third is what we did in 2012.  There is the Leon Cathedral, evening vespers at the monastery in Rabinal, the Cruz de Ferro, the mass in Santiago, and hopefully the sunset over the Atlantic at Finisterre.  These spots can be very meaningful. 

Of course this classification is not exclusive.  The last third is also very physical, with the climb to O'Cebrero and the descent from Cruz de Ferro in our memory.  The first third has been very spiritual for us this year. The several pilgrims blessings, the intimate service in Zabaldika, the wisdom of our host Roberto in Logrono, and the chants in Tosantos all come to mind.  And all three parts take a significant mental determination.

It will be interesting to see how we reflect on this description in the next few weeks.

We are in the middle of a long rainy spell, whose worst day is to be Thursday, with rapid improvement over the weekend.  Last night we were in one of the nicest albergues we've been in, called En El Camino in the town of Boadilla del Camino.  It had a beautiful courtyard with a swimming pool (55 degrees and rain, the pool was closed).  These folks like multi-word town names: tonight we are in Villalcazar de Sirga, and we hope to make it to Caldadilla de la Cueza tomorrow.

Today was our first truly flat day. The meseta has begun.
A true pilgrim, yesterday's washed laundry drying on the backpack(Ruth).
A canal with previously functional locks for small boats.
Local wisdom reminding us of home.
Many of these villages honor pilgrims with artwork. 


  1. Awesome blog! Keep up the good work and stay strong!

    The TX Hoffmans

  2. Interesting take on the 3 phases of the camino.

  3. I'm undecided about whether taking 2 layers of long sleeve shirts and a camisole, all silk brand, for warmth with a rain jacket with pit zippers will be sufficient. And should I also bring my lightweight smartwool turtleneck. Seems walking helps warm you up a bit.