Castaneda to Amenal…beauty is all around us

Oviedo –> Grado –> Salas –> Tineo –> Sumblismo –> Berducedo –> Castro –> A Fonsagrada –> O Cadavo –> Lugo –> Ferreira –> Castaneda –> Amenal –> Santiago de Compostela


Dear Friends and Family,

I hope this note finds you happy, healthy and enjoying life and everything around you.

As I get closer to Santiago, I feel the love and beauty all around me more than ever before. Ever since I started this journey in Oviedo, I have grown more aware of the things around me, from breathing in the fresh air of the mountains, to enjoying the vivid colors and aromatic fragrances of the flowers, to noticing the sunlight shining through the trees. I have often wondered why I feel this way on the Camino, and the only thing I can think of — besides the spiritual — is that for the first time in many, many years I have slowed down for an extended period of time and, as I said in a previous, I am just being. I think, however, that this beauty is all around us, even in our every day life, if we just slow down, even for a brief moment, and simply experience and appreciate it. No matter where we live, we can see beauty all around us, because I think life inherently is beautiful. When we all wake up in the morning, we can breathe deeply and be grateful for being alive; we can enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of a home just starting to wake up in the morning; we can drive, bike, or walk to work and enjoy the morning sunshine (or rain ;-)); and we can enjoy our work and be thankful for our colleagues. I guess I am saying this “out loud” as a reminder to myself to do more of this at home; to slow down, to just be, and to notice the beauty all around me. If I do this, then I will never actually leave the Camino and the Camino will never actually leave me. Beauty is everywhere if we just take the time to see it and experience it, that’s the lesson of the Camino for today.

The walk from Castaneda to Amenal was a pleasant enough walk, but most of all was full of beauty…

The beauty of the flowers on the Camino…

The beauty — and the incredible straight line-ness — of the trees in Galicia on the Camino…

And the beauty of the people on the Camino…

The day ended with a lovely meal at the hotel of my friends from Italy. Martin, my friend from Berlin, joined me in walking the two kilometers to the restaurant to meet our friends. After a lovely dinner full of good food, wine and laughter, Martin and I needed to either walk back to the hotel or call a taxi. At this point it was pretty late and getting a taxi was iffy, and this leads to a story the just reinforces several of the lessons I have already learned from the Camino. The waitress, who spoke broken english but was fully engaged in our table all night, offered to give us a ride to the hotel where we were staying because it was on her way home! She told us her husband and daughters were waiting for her to come home and that she had to leave soon, but was happy to take us to our hotel as it was right on the way. It was an amazing offer and one we readily accepted. Another Camino Angel…

As I closed for the evening, I reflected on the day and the beauty I experienced and felt a sense of joy and gratitude for the day. It may have seemed like an unremarkable day by some standards, but by my Camino way of thinking, it was an absolutely perfect day, filled with beauty and love, which I believe was the lesson of the Camino.



3 thoughts on “Castaneda to Amenal…beauty is all around us”

  1. Brian,

    Loving your updates, living vicariously back here on the “EL Camino” (Real, in Los Altos). Would love to hear how your body is holding up. You’ve been walking for days–you must either have great shoes/socks, or you are refraining from commenting on your pain and suffering. Post a pic of your feet, please!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bill, Thank you very much, my friend, for your positive and encouraging note! My body has been holding up well, and my feet only have a couple of blisters, but please know that there are certain things that should never be posted online…like pics of my feet! 😉 Here is the trick I learned about proper foot care when walking 15-20 miles per day: Hike Goo for your feet, followed by Injinji toe socks, followed by good wool socks, and lastly a good set of boots that have a wide toe box to accommodate foot swelling after walking so long (I used Merrill’s). All led to a successful walk across northern Spain. See you soon my friend, Brian


  2. Those photos of the patches with the trees in Galicia … it’s like mother nature laying out a red carpet. I’m going to ask you to send me a couple of those please. How amazing that you had that waitress give you a ride… angels everywhere.


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