Pilgrimpace's Blog


journeys of three parts

Seven years ago I made the Camino Levante from Valencia to Santiago.  This ended up being a pilgrimage of three parts.  A tramp from Valencia to Toledo through the summer heat.  There were no other pilgrims on the route.  Some days in La Mancha I walked in a straight line for 18 miles from the first pueblo to the second pueblo.  People were extraordinarily kind.  I found the inner strength to do it.  It was profoundly difficult, beautiful, stark and one of the best things I have done.

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In Toledo I met my friends Karen and Roy who had come to see me on holiday.  I spent time with them, visiting Avila and Segovia, being looked after, replacing albergues with hotels.  From Segovia I decided to get the train onto to Zamora.  This meant that I would be walking again from the point where the Levante joins the Via de la Plata, the route from Sevilla, and there would be other pilgrims.  It also meant I could take some time, rather then having to walk long stages every day before my family arrived in Santiago.

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I was able to enjoy walking with others, sometimes for a day, or just a meal, sometimes longer.  I walked a long way with my friend Jose Carlos.  I was able to spend a few days before Santiago with the Cistercians in Oseira praying it all.  Three parts, one experience, all profound.

It looks like this time with the Cistercian Way is going to be a journey in three parts too.  I walked with Penrhys to Whitland most of the way (I’m reading Walter Starkie’s seminal account of the Camino The Road to Santiago again; he is in cars, lorries and trains most of the time!). A badly hurt knee has meant several weeks at home healing and recuperating. I am hoping now for a third part – walking from Abergavenny to Penrhys in a week or so’s time.

But I think in all this there is something about ‘yessing’; finding what God has put before us and saying yes to it, accepting it, walking the way – whether we expected it or chose it or not.

Prayers and love.

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As I read this remembering I wanted to ask what going on pilgrimage means to you. Then I noticed the title, The Walking becomes the Praying and I think I will read that first.

Comment by stephencwinter




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