The plan without plans - my camino
For me, Santiago de Compostela’s pilgrimage wasn’t religious, but spiritual. My journey was inspired by, ”Täitsa pekkis’’ (Screwed-Up in English) podcast where one of the hosts Mihkel described the pilgrimage: ”The inner child says that he or she no longer wants that kind of life. He needs change, even though everything in life seems to be in place.” So I and two of my friends bought a plane tickets to Malaga for December, accompanied by KIRA boots and words of encouragement from Mihkel.
We rented a car from Malaga and started the journey. The first stop was the picturesque and mysterious Salamanca, where we arrived at night. Leaving Salamanca behind, we headed north to get the Camino Certificate, which requires collecting temples on paper along the way to prove your journey of at least 100 kilometers to the city of Santiago de Compostela. We really only had very limited time for the whole trip. Target in front of our eyes, mind ready, and our best friend and guide Camino Ninja in the pocket.
Day 1 – testing the equipment and my limits
Our journey began in the scenic small town of Baamonde.
The first day was spent testing the equipment and getting to know our limits. Since the pilgrimage requires a lot of walking, the most important thing is the right shoes. I wore KIRA boots that are suitable for pilgrimage every season. Also essential is the right hiking bag, which must be capacious. It has to hold water, equipment, and food, but most importantly – must be light on the shoulders and support the hips.
14 kilometers of fairytale forest took us to the town of Guiltriz, known for its mineral water spa.
Day 2 – bath at the top of the mountain
If I have to choose the hardest day, the prize will go to the second day – a journey from Guitriz to Sobrado.
We were greeted by 6 degrees and ruthless rain. You will not realize how powerful nature is before you go on the high peaks next to windmills and electricity generators, pour water out of your boots, and twist your pants drier. Free bath in nature! Nature showed itself from the side that was not helped by the best equipment, only determination, and positivity.
When we had 6 kilometers until my accommodation, we decided to make a pitstop in the pub and treat ourselves to an almond liqueur to somehow get rid of the cold in our bones. I dried my pants, socks, underwear, hats, boots, and blouse under the blower of the pub toilet. I had only one thought in my head – what an adventure!
After a hard day, we decided to award ourselves to a hotel room with a bath! The whole room quickly became my personal drying rack. I turned up the radiator and fell fast asleep.
Day 3 – chin up and forward alone!
By morning my room had become a damp basement – I had accidentally turned off a radiator and all of my clothes were dripping wet. Outside were two degrees and ruthless rain. Miraculously, KIRA’s boots had dried through the night and dried my essential clothes with a hairdryer for half an hour. Ready for the day!
Our ways parted with my companions of the pilgrimage, so I continued my journey alone. In all honesty, my biggest fear, instead of the weather, was being alone. That I can’t share my fears or just vent to other people. But the essence of the Camino’s safe journey lies in being alone with our thoughts and overcoming our fears.
In the end, the day was incredibly enjoyable. Nature was amazing and for a change, I was gifted with a warm sun. The third day and the fifth hour was the moment when I realized in the middle of the exotic eucalyptus forest how at home I felt in Spain. Crazy how was we were capable of adapting.
To get the full experience of the pilgrimage, I decided to put the smart device in the depths of my bag and let the yellow arrows guide me. By the time I reached the sunset, I was 12 kilometers away from my accommodation. Then I booked a new accommodation 2 kilometers away, which turned out to be even closer to the city of Santiago de Compostela. What a happy mistake!
Day 4 – two pieces of chocolate and a mandarine
Since my feet are not used to such mileage, I liked the possibility of adjusting the KIRA boots’ straps more widely. The end of the journey was quite easy, especially due to the lightness of the boots and the flexible sole. The last kilometers were already very nice!
And the long-awaited moment came. It was like a commercial – shone in the evening lights, there was the city of Santiago de Compostela! I sat on a bench at the top of the hill, gathered myself with a mandarin and two pieces of chocolates, and with a big smile, I started walking towards the city.
When I reached the cathedral square, I had very strong emotions. Everything around me disappeared and only my thoughts remained. I took my hiking bag as a chair, opened my notebook, and uttered all the written thoughts with an almighty feeling.
Thank you, light KIRA boots, a nice hiking bag, and incredible company!
Text: @karolinesibul I Photos: private, Ricardo Frantz, Jon Tyson