Very supportive quote. I will remember it in my soligare.
Yes. I need to hear this everyday. Read this everyday. Think this everyday. Do this everyday.
For many years I have been working as teacher in music with guitar as my specialty. Over the years I have developed new skills, added new fresh competencies in creative areas in theatre, music and drama. It´s a great job. Meeting young people, helping them to find their expression in the arts, is rewarding and sometimes I can miss it. But I have done that. Been there – done that.
So I changed. Six years ago I finished my teaching career to be one of two leaders for the artsschool where I have been working as teacher. For me, a big step and a big important one. Since then I haven´t touched my guitar. I have tried but stopped as I don´t find the pleasure.
After that I have been looking for new challenges within the arts, beeing creative is important for me, but what shall I do?
As I finished music I got a whole lottof time to do something else and this opening inside me has welcomed WRITING. THE WORDS. LE MOTS. Slowly, this new interrest, begins to occupy me. Occupy my time and space.
So. When I get this wonderful message – “You are accepted” – from the nearby university I understand that this comming year will be a year of writing for me. I have been accepted to attend a one year course in creative writing on university level. Good for me!
I need the change and when I open up myself to change, addresses my compass to change, my whole beeing goes in that direction and it works. It works so well. All I need to do is to open up, adress the direction, be open to what comes, accept what comes, follow the stream, avoid swimming against the stream, go with and I will come to a wonderful place. I am sure of this.
The reason for the beginning superlatives: I am happy for where I´m going. I look forward to the future. I don´t know what´s in there but I´m sure it´s something nice there.
There is more than I can imagine. What I imagine is just a small portion of the whole.
If you wish to follow me in this please do. I will tell you more as I keep swimming.
Six times in spain walking. Six times and something like 45-50 days. Thousand steps. Hundreds of liters with water down the throat and meeting people from all over the world sharing lifestories, sharing problems and joys, asking for help, beeing helped, prayer and tears, happiness and sadness and more. Still it´s an easy life. Not many possessions to carry around in the backpack just the necessary: underwear, socks, toiletries, a hat, sunglases, waterbottle, guidebook, towel, long- and short-trousers, sleeping sheet, poncho, moneybelt, a fleece, that´s about it. Seven kilo. I have my mobile with me and it is closed over the day, only open in the evening when I can read or send a message to home. It is a wonderful life, in the nature, walking. The tempo is the best for really appreciating it, the nature. Four to five km an hour and still it´s time to stop for a swim, put the feet in a cold stream, stop to look for a flower, talk with a pony or a donkey, stop at a café for a café con leche and a bocadillo or tortilla espanola, something to eat.
When arriving at the days stop/albergue or pension or where I will sleep, could be a cloister, could be a chapell, could be a church, it could even be in the portico.
The routine is to wash, clothes and body and care for the feet. Then a nice siesta before we eat our dinner. This dinner could be from the hosts. Like on 25 th july, St. Jakobs day, we were served a mixed dinner in the basement of the albergue. We were something like thirty/forty pilgrims, we´ve never met before, having a great time together up until ten, when the lights go of and silence is decreed. Or at another time we shop together and cook in the kitchen and serve ourselves good food. The comming morning up at five thirty/six o’clock. Grab a bit and off we go again. A new day has come, maybe we meet the sunrise and the little chilly morning is slowly changing into a hot day with the sun shining on our skin forcing the sweat out from our bodies into the eyes, salty water, hard. Going uphill and downhill over and over again. Climbing picas to se the marvelous landscape and the basque country, navarre, galicia, asturias. It is an easy life that helpes comming close to my self and others. The openness and trust is so relaxant for the soul and the mind it opens up spaces in the inner that is hidden in the everyday life where we always have distractions stopping us from digging deeper and deeper into our selves. It is a spiritual and a physical journey and the two can not be without the other. They are one, dependent of the other, no one more or less important tha the other. They nourish eachother. They help one another to grow. I love this life, and for every year I become better and better at bringing the experiences into my life back home. Now that I know I can have a good life with less, I find it easier to withstand the allurements from the comsumtion industry. I know what I need and it´s less than I thought many years ago.
So. Now I’ve had my week/ten days in spain walking a part of the camino norte. I flew to Biarritz. From there I got a bus to Hendaye, still in france. Walked over the Rio Bidaosa that the french/spanish border and finaly I Arrived in Irun. The starting point for el norte. My aim to reach Bilbao was achieved in six days. It was a tough walk with up’s and down and the heat, one day we had 38°, challenged us. I was surprised that I met so many pilgrims. I had a preunderstanding that this camino was less used. But, maybe, as the camino Frances is becomming more and more crowded, specially in august, more pilgrims find their way to the camino norte instead. The first three stops: San Sebastian, Zarautz and Deba, offered great possibilities for swimming in the Atlantic waters. Good for our tired and warm bodies. The path showed us wonderful views and beautiful panoramas. After Deba the path entered the inland passing nice pinetree forests and eacalyptus trees. One evening we visited a recommended restaurang in Getara, El Cano, said to be the very best fish restaurang in the basque county. It was! The local white wine, Txacoli, accompanied the fish. Never had it’s like. A curiosity: El Cano was the first to make a global roundtrip with a ship (1519 – 1522) under the captain Magellan, who died in Singapore before comming back. El Cano came back to spain and was a hero.
Back to track. Pinchos is the north variant of talas. They are served at many of the frequent bars along the camino. Bars that serve as places for break fast as the albergues seldom have breakfast. There are many small streams following us as we go and it’s a treat for the feat to go in the cool fresh water. Before comming to my destination Bilbao we stayed in Gernika. The city was bombed and totally destroyed in 1936 by the fascist. Picasso made the famous Guernika of wich there’s a copy i Gernika (the original is in Madrid). To se the big fresc closer up made a big and strong impression on me realizing the horrors and tremors of war. To end this years short camino was Bilbao the goal. Casco Vieja, the Guggenheim museum, Rio de Bilbao. The camino give me many occasions for reflecting on my own, collecting energy, meeting with people from many places round the world, talking, listening to stories from life, how different the stories are and how equal we all are. The local people are extremely helpful and acts as wonderful exampels to copy. It is a lesson for the life and for living.
Going back and leaving the camino is a sadness story, leaving the new friends and seeing them continue is hard. Next year I wish to go back and finish all the way to Santiago de Compostela.
I’m now in Bilbao where I have stopped this years walking. It’s been a great, wonderful, beautiful time with the spanish nature, culture and meeting with people from all over the world. I just wish that I, one year, will be able to stay longer in this country and on the camino. One month is a dream. Now I have sadness, since I have stopped and my new friends from the camino continue to Santander, Gijon, Oviedo and Santiago de Compostela. I miss them. But that’s the way it is. When walking, talking, eating, drinking, sleeping, waking, watching, experiancing and sharing together it tightens us, we become a “family”. We enjoy when we see each other in the morning, along the path, in the city, in the restaurant, cafe, in the nature. When we walk together, when we catch up or are beeing cought up by someone it is a joy, and we great each other with a smile and “Buen Camino”. The locals are extremely helpful to us camineiros. When where lost and can’t find our way through or out of a city or village there is always help. They are so helpful and observant, it brings me in a happy mood and all the physical and mental hardship is overcome. These last seven years I have been on the camino six times now and it makes me an experianced camineiro, beeing able to give advice and support from my experiance bank. But, I have still much to learn. I get advice, recommendations, both personal and practice. The personal, private advice I put in my personal development box. These are the most valueble treasures from all my walking in spain. First on the Camino Frances and this year on Camino Norte. I am so happy to have found this retreat and I’m thankful to everyone assisting me in making it possible. First and all to my wonderful and beloved wife who opens the door and supports me. Second to family and friends for their interrest and, often, challenging questions. And, last, but not least, all the other walkers, and local confraternities keeping the camino in such a good shape with directions and albergues. Thank you all. Love you all. /sten-ove