When the opportunity arose to head off to Spain to spend a week hiking the Camino de Santiago with a group of awesome travel bloggers (Cat, Charlotte and Sarah) and G Adventures, I literally jumped at the chance, only slightly put off by my lack of ‘proper’ kit and experience. Minor details, right?
We were set to be hiking the last 115km of what can be a 800km journey and bar the few bits I’d read in books I really had no idea of what to expect.
We arrived in Lugo super early and after refuelling with coffee (much needed after the 3:00am start!) we headed over to Sarria, our starting point, with a day to explore and begin carb loading for the hiking ahead! It was in Sarria that we got our first taste of the incredible gastronomy that laid ahead… Fresh pulpo cooked to perfection, padron peppers galore, melt in your mouth scallops – a subtle nod to the adventure ahead. Scallop shells have a special meaning along the Camino de Santiago, not only are they the symbol that guides you, quite literally but they are also part of the legend of one of the twelve apostles St James. There are many different versions of this legend and not being in the slightest bit religious, I’m probably not best to tell the story, so have a little read around for yourselves. On a more practical note, it is said that the shells were used to eat and drink from – now that I can get on board with!
Religious or not, hiking the Camino de Santiago can be an incredibly expansive and spiritual experience, for many reasons. People often set out on this adventure at a transitional time in their lives, when they’re not quite sure which direction to take. The act of walking many miles in gorgeous settings, often alone, really allows the mind time to think and to arrive naturally at the conclusion point it’s been searching for.
For me I chose to try something recommended by a friend… At the start of the journey I found a decent sized, fairly heavy rock. I sat with it for a moment and thought about all the things that have been holding me back, real, imagined or otherwise. The things that over the years, I have been unable to let go, I sat and thought about the most prominent of these as I held this rock. I then carried the rock in my backpack for the whole week of hiking. At the end of the trek, Santiago de Compostela, I set the rock down and left it behind, hopefully along with some of the things that I have been carrying for far longer than a week. I joked on the trip that I was having too much fun and that I felt like I should have been more contemplative, you know – put more effort into focusing on what I wanted to achieve mentally and spiritually. However, I’m home now and feeling calmer than ever, less anxious, less irritated… Was it the Camino or was it the change of scenery I’m currently experiencing? Who knows but either way I’ll take it, thank you very much!
Whatever your reasons for hiking the Camino Trail don’t forget that G Adventures are giving two of you the chance to head off on this adventure for yourselves! It’s ridiculously easy to enter, you just have to head to this page here and enter your basic details, it takes 2 seconds and the winner will be announced in the next couple of weeks! Good luck!
Also, as if the above giveaway wasn’t enough, G Adventures are also giving all of you 15% off any G Adventures trip, if booked by the 30th of September! (You can book for anytime up till the 31st July 2018!!) So, get those diaries out gang and start planning your next adventure, they have so many cool trips to choose from, Peru is definitely on my hit list!
Imagery in this post is a mixture of my own and our badass photographers, Greg Orsnell.
This content is sponsored by G Adventures but all thoughts and opinions are my own, as always.