On Friday morning I was stretched out in my bed, my computer on my lap, a giant mug of coffee in my hands. I had about 5 minutes before I needed to start getting ready for work, and almost a bit mindlessly I clicked over to Kayak’s site to check on prices for flights to France/Spain.
I’ve been checking flights every day for almost a month, and the only changes I’d noticed were that certain flights were filled, and others had increased their price.
So when the Kayak page was fully loaded, I blinked in confusion at my computer screen, and triple checked my flight criteria. Were my cities correct, did I have the right dates?
Because overnight, not only had prices dropped by over $200, but I was looking at a direct flight, from Philadelphia to Paris. For as much fun as my long layovers in Iceland and Denmark had been… they added time and expense and a bit of stress. A direct flight is a dream.
In fact, the whole thing seemed like a dream. Could this price be right? I decided that I couldn’t risk waiting- not another second- to miss out on this deal. So I flew around my apartment: grabbing my wallet and throwing on work clothes and signing up for rewards programs and, finally, clicking “Purchase” on a flight to Europe.
So it’s done. I’m going back. Camino de Santiago, Round Two.
The specifics are completely up in the air. For the past few months I’ve been dreaming about the Norte- the path that runs along the very top of Spain and often offers dazzling views of the ocean- but suddenly I’m changing my mind. Or, considering my options.
Ever since starting this writing class and slowly making tiny steps of progress towards my goal of writing a book, I worry about the momentum I might lose if I take 5-weeks off this summer to walk another Camino. And I remember my three-weeks at the writer’s retreat in the south of France: the incredible view from the window of my room, the quiet mornings drinking coffee on the terrace, the inspiring conversations with other artists and residents, the hours spent hiking through the mountains. I had time to write, time to hike, and time to connect with other people.
And then I think about the Camino, and the incredible freedom I felt each morning as I set off with my pack and onto a path that took me closer to the edge of Spain. How happy I was to simply walk, every single day. I’d bonded with some of the other residents at my writer’s retreat, but I BONDED with people on the Camino. I remember how I felt when I arrived in Santiago; that I wanted to keep walking, that I felt like, in some ways, I’d only just begun.
So how do I choose? How do I know which option is best, when each feels so right and so perfect?
Well, what if I could do both?
That’s where my head is, at the moment. I just spent hours reading about the Camino Primitivo, a route which could fit very nicely into the 11-day time frame I’d have before needing to head to France and over to the writer’s retreat. I’ve read that 12 days would be better on the Primitivo, but that 11 could work. And I would have exactly 11 days.
The Camino Primitivo– the Original Way- was actually the very first Camino route to Santiago. It’s challenging, with lots of mountain walking, but judging from the descriptions and photos I saw from the hours of “research” I did yesterday afternoon, the scenery is stunning.
There’s still so much I don’t know. I haven’t given up on walking the Norte, not at all. So much of me wants to do another long Camino- 11 days doesn’t feel like quite enough, not when I know I have the time to do more. And, I don’t know if I could do another writer’s retreat, even if I wanted to: if they still have space, if my availability will work with their schedule.
But regardless of what I decide, here is what I do know: in June, I’ll be flying to Paris. Part of my time in Europe will involve walking another Camino. There’s already a spring in my step just thinking about it.
Any thoughts from those of you who have walked the Primitivo?