Camino de Santiago 2007 with updates

Walk with joy always!

First of six days on the Camino in June, 2007
Me in Roncesvalles on the first of
six days on the Camino in May, 2007.
(Picture by Marty Metras)
First of six days on the Camino in June, 2007
My brother, Marty as he begins his walk.
More pictures

Four years ago already

Today is June 19, 2007. Four years ago today I walked into Finisterra with Petra, only a fellow pilgrim then but now my wife of three and a half years. We knew nothing of that then. In the time since we have walked several pilgrimage paths together: this one twice more, once backwards from Santiago to Burgo Raneros and then across the Pyrenees into France in 2004; the Via de la Plata from Seville to Santiago in 2005; and from our home in Kisslegg, Germany to Rome in 2006-2007. The latter is documented here on my Rome pilgrimage pages. Add to that our everyday pilgrimage of life and we have a rich life. Thanks.

In the time between Petra has been teaching workshops titled "Hear the call and follow your heart" here in Germany. Read all about them at Pilgern beginnt im Herzen (in English at Pilgrimage begins in the heart). And we have given many slide shows on the same theme in both Germany and the US (Was war? (Deutsch) and History (English)). We are planning on moving to California later this year and taking the core of this pilgrimage workshop and slide show there to spread the Camino and pilgrimage message, Hear the call and follow your heart, wherever that takes you.

That's a quick look at our pilgrimage history for the last few years. The rest of this page is about my walk with my brother along the Camino de Santiago from Rancesvalles last month.

Walk with Marty this year

This year I walked six days with my brother, Marty. He has just retired and came to check out this wonderful walk. Not a long walker and somewhat less in shape than I am, he still walked very well all the way to Burgos. He says he will come back again to walk more.

It was Marty's pilgrimage. He was there for the original experience. He relates his experiences on his own website. I cannot do that for him. I can only truly tell you my experiences.

I was there to guide Marty a bit and help him get through the culture things he was not familiar with, to encourage him on when the going got difficult, to be a companion for his first few days. But this was my pilgrimage also. I was there to walk, to do that guiding, to see how it feels, to see how I would react to that role. It is very different from going alone. I no longer just walked my walk. I walked thinking of where Marty was on his walk. I learned a bit of shepherding, thinking of my one sheep.

I learned to walk slowly, very slowly. My breath was good from the beginning; his was not. It was good to practice that very slow walking watching everything around me, hearing everything, feeling so much. But the second day, I had enough of slow and had to walk my own speed. I walked a few hundred yards ahead, waited until he was an equal few hundred yards ahead of me and then walked my normal pace back ahead and repeated that through the afternoon. It let him be on his own and feel what that was like and it let me walk my own pace. You have to do that once in a while. You cannot always walk at another's pace. I slowed back down the next day. I never sweated. Marty did--all the time. That's one good thing about walking slowly.

In the end it took six days to get to Estella instead of the four it took me in 2003. But it was a good walk and Marty was ready to continue on his own. That was the goal. Thanks for everything, Marty. It was a good walk.

The old

What is as it was in 2003? It is still a heavy walk the first day out of Roncesvalles. Beyond that first day and a half, it is its same day-in-and-day-out walk of 20 to 25 kilometers. And when you try to do more, it still reminds you that that is too much. The scenery and the Spanish people are still a joy to experience.

The new

And what is new? There are a lot more people on the walk than were there in 2003. We had to stay in the youth hostel in Roncesvalles because the refugio (100 beds) was full. And in Zubiri we slept in the Jai-lai court on mats--but we were essentially alone and that actually was nicer than packed into the refugio.

In the Albergue Aterpea in Cirauqui the woman running it said it has been very busy this spring. Several days all the albergues and hotels up and down the Camino have been full many nights in April and May. She expected things to loosen up now but I do not know what crystal ball she was getting that information from. There are a lot of people out there.

There are many new plastic signs along the way replacing older ceramic ones that seem to have been the target of vandals; many old signs still there are broken. The one in the opening pictures are new.


There is a traditional ritual one can do at the Templar chapel at Eunate. It is an octagonal church surrounded by a portico paved with fairly widely separated fist-sized stones. In the ritual one takes off his/her shoes and walks around this torture walk three times and then walks into the center of the chapel and stands and waits for something to come to him/her. I did it this time and was hit with the flash from nowhere: "Walk joyously. Always walk in joy." I have put into my daily thoughts. Think about doing it for yourself.

Walk in and with joy.

Copyright © 2007-2012 Mike Metras,