The Real Camino Begins

I am existing in a state of disbelief. Did I really just spend the last month walking nearly 500 miles? Have I actually routinely awoken before sunrise to pack a 15 pound bag and walk, on average, 24 kilometers? Is it true that I have allowed myself to become numb to pain in my legs, hips, and feet? Have I truly befriended people from Denmark, Italy, England, South Korea, Spain, and elsewhere? Is it true that sitting in a Basilica on the western coast of Spain could feel like a homecoming as pilgrims from points all over the globe file in from all entrances?

As a thought and in reflection these questions seem implausible. I never imagined I would have the strength and stamina to walk such a distance. I never imagined I would have the willpower to push through unrelenting pain. I never imagined that a foreign church would feel like home and that so many people could feel like family.

Doubt has a way of etching into the realities of truth. I have walked a seemingly unsurmountable distance. My feet are callused and my legs are more defined. Something that once was thought impossible has been made possible. This last month has occurred and other than a few scars, little proof exists.

This is true in life, love, and faith. It is impossible to prove the love that one person has for another. It is impossible to exhibit the transformation that a relationship can have on a person. It is unlikely that someone can produce evidence for their faith. For all of these things however, we know them to be true because of the dynamic effect they have made on us internally.

In the days, weeks, months, and years ahead I will still be processing my time on the Camino de Santiago. The lure of the yellow arrows will continually mark the way towards welcoming hospitable relationships. The comfort of the seashells will forever draw my attention and cause me to remember my innate connection with other people. The breaking of good bread and sharing of a good meal will forever display the communion that can be celebrated with people across cultural, political, and linguistic divides.

I am not certain yet what this experience has done for me, but I know that while my road to Santiago de Compostela has come to an end the real Camino is just beginning.

Buen Camino!

1 June 11 St. Jean Pied de Port (Albergue Buen Camino) Roncesvalles Colegiata 24.1 km 30.8 km
2 June 12 Roncesvalles Larrosoaña San Nicolas 27.2 km 34.18 km
3 June 13 Larrosoaña Pamplona Casa Paderborn 15.6 km 32.41 km
4 June 14 Pamplona Puente la Reina Padres Reparadores 23.8 km 38.38 km
5 June 15 Puente la Reina Estella San Miguel (donativo) 21.9 km 34.96 km
6 June 16 Estella Los Arcos Isaac Santiago 21.5 km 24.52 km
7 June 17 Los Arcos Logroño Santiago Parish (donativo) 27.8 km 31.9 km
8 June 18 Logroño Nájera Nájera Municipal (donativo) 28.9 km 44.3 km
9 June 19 Nájera Grañón Iglesia de San Juan Bautista (donativo) 28 km 36.74 km
10 June 20 Grañón Belorado Cuatro Cantones 15.7 km 28.11 km
11 June 21 Belorado Agés San Rafael 27.8 km 33.3 km
12 June 22 Agés Burgos Divina Pastora 27.6 km 32.74 km
13 June 23 Burgos Hontanas Santa Brigida 31.5 km 36.75 km
14 June 24 Hontanas Itero del Castillo Ermita de San Nicolás, Italian Confraternity (donatovo) 18.5 km 19.74 km
15 June 25 Itero del Castillo Villalcázar de Sirga Villalcázar Municipal (donatovo) 30.5 km ?24.78 km?
16 June 26 Villalcázar de Sirga Ledigos La Morena (HEAVEN!) 29.1 km 35.24 km
17 June 27 Ledigos Bercianos del Real Camino Bercianos (donativo) 26.9 km 30.92 km
18 June 28 Bercianos del Real Camino Mansilla de las Mulas Bus Station San Francisco de Asís (Leon) 26.7 km 36.58 km
19 June 29 Leon Leon San Francisco de Asís 0 km 10.53 km
20 June 30 Leon Villar de Mazarife Casa de Jesús 21.8 km 22.86 km
21 July 1 Villar de Mazarife Astroga Siervas de María 31.2 km 35.76 km
22 July 2 Astroga Rabanal del Camino San Salvador del Monte Irago Monastery (donativo) 20.6 km 21.34 km
23 July 3 Rabanal del Camino Rabanal del Camino San Salvador del Monte Irago Monastery (donativo) 0 km 2.8 km
24 July 4 Rabanal del Camino Molinaseca Santa Marina 25.6 km 31.2 km
25 July 5 Molinaseca Villafranca del Bierzo Hospederia San Nicolás El Real 30.6 km 39.7 km
26 July 6 Villafranca del Bierzo O’Cebreiro O’Cebreiro Xunta 28.9 km 30.84 km
27 July 7 O’Cebreiro A Balsa El Beso 23 km 26.42 km
28 July 8 A Balsa Barbadelo Molino de Marzán 23.9 km 27.68 km
29 July 9 Barbadelo Gonzar Gonzar Xunta 22.4 km 25.49 km
30 July 10 Gonzar Melide San Antón 31.5 km 35.55 km
31 July 11 Melide Salceda Boni 25.5 km 28.45 km
32 July 12 Salceda Santiago de Compostela Seminario Menor La Asunción 28.2 km 37.38 km
The “Mercy Door” is open, granting all who enter the humble embrace of God’s forgiving love.

The Botafumeiro swings through the Cathedral incensing the congregation. Originally intended as a way to fumigate the smell, and possible disease, of the hoards of pilgrims that arrived each day, this thurible now blesses all with consuming flumes.


  1. Bobby*,
    I hope I get a chance to hear you talk sometime about this incredible journey that you have just completed. It has been an honor and a pleasure following you through your blogs every step of the way.
    Congratulations Again !!!

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Never a doubt in my mind that you would not accomplish this. You are a wonderful role model for our guys here at school. Look at what you will be able to share with them over the years and maybe someday one of them will take the same journey. You are paying it forward. Congratulations! All those years of running for us in the office paid off! Ha!
    Many blessings,
    Mary Smith


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