The French Way
The title to this piece may be confusing, so let’s clear it up right now — I mean the Camino in France, and not the Camino Francès. And I mainly mean my own Camino from Lourdes to Somport than anything else.
About the Camino itself, the thing that has really struck me is how Catholic the Way from Lourdes to Somport actually is — I have never seen such a strong Catholic presence anywhere else along any Camino routes, and I do not mean just locally, but over this entire section of the Way.
This did not strike me simply as some sort of anthropological curiosity — No.
My passage from Lourdes to Spain has truly been a passage from the familiar to the foreign via the religious and via the spiritual that makes all of these disparate things, from whichever modern point of view of our minds, into the deeply religious Christian Worship of God as He provides us with such a simple Wealth.
I cannot help but be delighted that somewhere, at least, on this Camino, its Catholic Christian nature is openly celebrated, and not hidden away.
As for the Somport Way in and for itself, in its non-religious aspects, there are around 1% of the Pilgrims at SJPP and &c. The GR version of this Way is even more annoying than usual, as the French Hiking Federation volunteers seem as keen as always to send their victims into sundry mud slides, up some uselessly difficult 5 km detours up whichever mountain madness, and to generally assume that all Santiago Pilgrims are lunatic masochists. Except no, some of us aren’t !!!
My days seem to be gradually lessening in difficulty, though it’s a long slog — I am nevertheless very pleased to report that my knees appear not to be bothering me on this Camino too much …
So Far !!!
I have feasted my departure from France as well as my arrival in Spain — these Borderlands may be spiritually nourishing, as suggested hereabove ; but they also mess up your normalcy !!!