“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”
The climb was called Purgatorio for a reason. It was short—just 300 meters, but with 100 meters of elevation gain, it was less an uphill walk and more a hold-onto-tree-branches-to-pull-yourself-up ascent. But then I emerged from the trees, and there it was.
The ocean, far below us and yet so close.
That was my first day walking the Camino del Norte, the historic and UNESCO-recognized Way of Saint James that begins in Irun, on the French/Spanish border, and hugs Spain’s northern coast as it journeys west toward Santiago. In that 17-day walk, I found myself on cliffs or mountains, high above the ocean, almost every day.
These were my high points (the theme of today’s #CaminoTuesday), both emotionally as well as physically. The trails were often rough, the countryside wild, and the ocean a living companion for the journey—sometimes a brilliant and welcoming blue, sometimes crashing waves of gray. As the saying goes, I could watch it for days.
Oh, wait. I did. Because the Camino de Santiago is about slowing down, lingering, and moving at a pace that allows you to stay in the high points for days.