Day 29 – The Camino is full of OLD PEOPLE.

I had dinner last night with Bob and Joan, two retired educators from Berkley. Bob is 69 and Joan is 71. (You wouldn't believe their ages to look at them both.)

I left half an hour before them this morning, and today I really cranked it out. I was hooting along at near to 5 kms / hr, which for me is verging on the speed of light.

They passed me three hours into the day. And they'd also stopped for morning tea.

I had a rest stop and spoke to this fellow who'd come through from south of Madrid. He was 64, and this was his fourth Camino.

Yesterday I got talking to a couple who'd come from Nimes, in France. Already they'd done 1200 kms, and by the time they finish they'll have done 1300 kms. Jean Marc is 61 and his sister Genevieve is 64.

And then there's Soren, from Switzerland. He's 67, and he climbed up O Cebreiro a couple of days ago leaving me bobbing in his wake.

The Camino is full of OLD PEOPLE.

Note the caps, note the italics, note the underlying tone of disdain, and bewilderment. Bewilderment because they're all faster than me.

My definition of old? Anyone over 60.

For the record, I'm 59 years and 9 months, so I write from the relative perspective of youth.

It's not surprising a lot of old folk walk the Camino. They have the time – most are retired – and most have a degree of financial security. (Mind you, you don't need to spend a lot of money to walk the Camino.)

Some are looking for answers to the Big Questions of Life, others see it as a way of keeping active and staving off the degenerative symptoms of old age. Some see it as the ultimate FU to getting old.

But, if you saw one of these people standing in a crowded bus, you'd get up and offer them your seat. They look like they should be getting Meals on Wheels. You feel that some should be accompanied by Carers. With bed pans.

And yet these oldies are blitzing the Camino.

They're leaving the young folk, like me, reeling in their backdraft.

You never see them getting buses, or taxis, or shipping their backpacks on ahead. Nope, they are hard core. Seriously hard core.

They have stamina, resilience, and the wisdom to listen to their bodies, and judge the demands of The Way. Often they are people who've lived active lives – but I'm astonished by those who've just turned up and done it, with very little training.

They are amazing.

Today –

Today I hardly took any photos, because I couldn't find much that was really interesting. The path followed roads for most of the way. I'm now at Palas de Rei, with only 64 kms to Santiago.

I did though meet up with Lazlo, the Hungarian fellow that I started the Camino with – the friend of Balazs. I last saw him in Pamplona. It was great seeing him again!

Here are a couple of shots that I kind of liked:

 

11 thoughts on “Day 29 – The Camino is full of OLD PEOPLE.

  1. I’m going to try to keep the old folk image going as I will be 71 two days after I finish the Camino in June. Seems like I will have some great company. Jill will turn 58 while on the Camino. How cool is that for a memorable birthday? Good luck to all you oldsters.

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  2. Hi Bill I have been following you in silence until now we leave Australia on the 27 th of May to start our Camino I will be 62 on the 22nd of May ๐Ÿ™‚ so that makes me an oldie:) I came across the link below while browsing my FB.
    I must say from what I read in your blogs I have been having second thoughts then realize what you went through and you are nearly at the end I am sure I can make it as well. You should be very proud of your achivement .
    BBC Documentary: Calling All Pilgrims
    http://www.caminodesantiago.me/board/el-camino-frances/topic18199.html

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    • Thank you. I’m not sure that I’ll necessarily be proud of my achievement – people in far more dire physical circumstances than mine do the Camino regularly – however, I will carry memories I will cherish until the day I die. bb

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  3. Thanks for the morning giggle Bill, you are such a “baby”. ๐Ÿ˜‰ My saving arch angle was an 81 year young Scott named Stuart, who adopted me around the stretch you are walking now. Would not have made it to Santiago in time to turn an old 60. I like your humour and they way you look at things. Nice for you to catch up to your first camino angel Lazlo, you got your wish.

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    • It’s true Ingrid – after posting that piece this morning about the towel, and Balazs and Lazlo, who should I see walking past the amazing church in Portomarin but Lazlo! bb

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    • On one level I’ll be sad to finish – on another, I’ll be thankful that I’ve got through it with the injuries I’ve had. bb

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  4. I am in my forties and walked thisnpast Fall…was a state track runner in another life (twenty plus years ago) and while walking was amazed at the sixty plus year olds that put me to shame. I said your exact words…and I have learned being 60 must be real COOL!!!!!!!

    I have thought often of this…is it the mind over youth…do we reach a point at age sixty that gives us an advantage….I am happy I witnessed this very thing.

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  5. I adore your daily news! Leaving in 4 days to start camino frances!!!

    Lazlo has lost some weight since Pamplona?

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  6. Pingback: PC#30 – You’re never too old… | PGS – The Way

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