Stage 9: Nájera to Grañón
Official: 27.77km // iPhone Step Count: 29.6km
A pilgrim is different than a tourist. While the cities and towns may be our daily destinations, the solemn country side is where we spend most of our time. What would otherwise be a tourist destination, pilgrims spend most of their time with their feet in the air stretching their tired muscles.
Once rested, rather than spending their time visiting ancient ruins, shiny shopping districts, or famous attractions, pilgrims search for pharmacies for Spanish strength ibuprofen, the closest bar for a heavy meal, and churches for their nightly pilgrims’ mass.
A pilgrim is not a touristic.
Wondering from town to town, golden wheat fields are sprinkled with red poppy flowers that melt into rich green grape vines neatly arranged in rows. The colors and folds of the rolling hills dissolve into one another and the green grass fades into hues of blue before a boundlessly clear expansive sky.
What seems an impossible and endless journey through pastures and fields surprises you with everlasting tapestries of beauty. The smells and colors dazzle your senses invigorating you to take one more step.
The complete beauty of the Camino cannot be fully captured in any picture. It will never be able to hold the proper colors, the smells, nor the silence. A picture cannot speak of the aches. It cannot measure the steps taken to capture any moment. The picture will always lack the story of the people who you’ve met along the way.
A pilgrim is not a tourist.
A person makes a pilgrimage so as to experience and witness something unique. To uncover something deeply personal and intensely communal about life. A tourist takes pictures to remember the monuments, while a pilgrim will never be able to shake the monumental moments discovered along the way.
We each walk our own Camino. Whether in Spain, in marriage, in business, with friends, or in a family, we are each pilgrims walking to discover truths about ourselves. We attempt to hold onto pictures of the past—parents, grandparents, and friends who have died—yet they fail to reveal the emotion contained in those images. We cling to objects, diplomas, ticket stubs, and souvenirs to prove we accomplish something, but that simple scrap of paper fails to contain the breadth of the experience.
A pilgrimage teaches us to walk.
A pilgrimage teaches us to be.
A pilgrimage teaches us to let go.
A pilgrimage teaches us to see.
The beauty of the Camino captures our hearts and minds a prints and indelible image that will forever be framed in our life experiences.