Pilgrimpace's Blog

rest days
September 24, 2010, 9:03 am
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Chinchilla de Monte Aragon

An essential part of my Camino was taking the occasional rest day.  This was part of a pact I made with my body and it was wonderful to wake at 5.30 or 6.00am and to turn over and sleep again.  To spend the morning pottering around the town, getting rest, feasting my eyes and soul on the beauty that Spain offers, eating, taking siesta, praying.

Looking back, I always stopped for two nights in places that were nourishing.  Chinchilla, in the photo above, a stunning hilltop town with people who cared for me deeply and practically; the outstanding architecture and ambience of Toledo and Zamora (could one rush through these without stopping to look and look again?); Santa Croya de Tera with the care from Casa Anita and the statue of Santiago Peregrino; the profound silence and prayer of Mosterio de Oseira.

Statue of Our Lady, Osiera

These days were important.  My pilgrimage – and my being – would have been impoverished without them.  I am learning deep and important things from them.  To remember that life is not all about rushing onwards, that we should be shaped by leisure and prayer rather then work, that I need rest.  In short, things that are all about Sabbath.

The last six weeks have been frantically busy.  It has been one of those times when there has been no choice but to work to my limits.  But there is now the prospect of some space, of having time for reflection, of giving attention to the more gentle rhythms of being.  And, indeed, there is the prospect of a few days on a short walking pilgrimage next month.


3 Comments so far
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Those rest days are so important. On this year’s Spanish winter pilgrimage I took them in Merida, Caceres, Salamanca (2 nights – remember my spiritual crisis?), Zamora (great place!) and Puebla de Sanabria. Take it easy, Andy.

Comment by solitary walker

Thanks both of you for your comments – I think along with the responses generated on


I will do a follow up post in a few days. But just to say Robert that I do remember Salamanca well. I didn’t do anything but comment appreciation on your blog (which shows the importance of these things!)


Comment by pilgrimpace

I had four rest days in France. Two were ‘pre-planned’ in places I knew would have plenty to explore, Conques and Moissac. But the first was a result of lots of blisters- and was a ‘survival’ measure. I am so glad I gave my feet time to do some healing: it was amazing what a difference one day and some compeed made. I also had a rest day in SJPP- a sort of rest and ‘transition’ day between France and Spain.
In Spain I never had any actual rest days. Unless you were sick, it was hard to stay a second day in most albergues. But in any case, I felt summer coming on, and was in a hurry to get as far as I could before the heat really arrived. We had a semi-rest day after Burgos though, and only walked ten km. Strangely enough, once you were walking-fit, 10km felt like a rest day! But I know there was more to explore in some of the large places along the Camino Frances, and maybe one day I will return as a tourist..

Comment by Kiwinomad

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