The last two weeks I’ve been walking with Audun, and discovered more of what walking really is. We walked as long as we felt comfortable with every day (which took some days with sore feet to sort out). With a backpack and while trying to keep our feet in condition for the next days walk, we averaged to 26 km – a distance that should take you around 15 minutes in a car – or one hour on a bicycle. Compared to many other animals, by nature, we humans move extremely slow. Still, we can walk fascinating distances if we just take our time.
There are many pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela. We met people who had walked all the way from northern France, from Holland and from Germany. Via Podiensis (GR65) is a route that starts in Le Puy-en-Velay in southern France. The different routes converge in the Pyrenees and join a single path that crosses northern Spain. We didn’t get so far this year, however. We got halfway to the Pyrenees, 360 km.
Why do one go on a pilgrimage? I can just say that I’m glad I went – and I’m sure I will continue another year. It’s a beautiful and slow way of traveling. We brought as little as we could, excluding even a map or a guidebook. We just followed the markings, and every day it was a surprise what the trail would bring, and where we would end up. Every day we bought the food we needed for that same day, walked, and found a place to sleep and talk to other pilgrims. What we didn’t bring, we didn’t miss.