When our thousand-mile Camino trek ended, Eric and I took a train east, from Santiago to Irun. The hills of Galicia and then the plains of the Meseta sped by in a blur of landscapes without details.
This was the only way I’d seen the world for years, I realized, from moving metal boxes that were climate controlled, comfortable, and going too fast for me to notice much.
For seventy-nine days, though, my only climate control had been a sun hat and rain jacket. I was rarely comfortable, and I moved so slowly that I could watch the seasons changing day by day and make solemn eye contact with cows.
A person can’t spend seventy-nine days making eye contact with cows and not see the world in a slightly different way.
(This post, by the way, was inspired by the Facebook group Way of St James – Via Podiensis – Chemin du Puy-en-Velay, where a few weeks ago a number of members shared their often hilarious pics of their own encounters with Cows of the Camino, and particularly the cows of France. If you are at all curious about walking the Le Puy route, check them out. They have a collection of resources from gite lists to active tracking of who’s walking and when.)