An accordion player in Plaza Santa Ana is working his way through “My Way” as I write this. I just finished jamming all the stuff we accumulated in Madrid, Torrons, holy cards, art books and dried fruit for the plane, into my backpack. The thing was just over ten pounds total when we left Rochester, maybe eleven with the last minute addition of a sketchbook. I’m pushing twenty now.
We’re waiting for the Real Madrid/Bayern München match to start and I’m thinking about all the things we accumulate. You become acutely aware of your belongings when you carry them on your back for twenty miles a day. You also get a real taste of the stress that is put on your feet, your knees and your back when you start carrying that ten extra pounds.
There is a satisfying purity to the minimal lifestyle. I already leaned that way but have gained a deeper appreciation of it. And I am in awe of the beauty of this country after walking halfway across it. Entering towns through Roman walls, stopping at statues and monuments, you begin to feel the impact of history. Following this ancient pilgrimage route with others you get a fuller understanding of the power of legend and faith. We will make it to Santiago after a short break.