Patterns – Calzadilla de los Hermanillos to Mansilla de las Mulas

It is hard to notice patterns we have in our lives until we are forced to break them. When we eat. When we sleep. What level of activity we have. Whom we spend out time with. For me, this Camino seems to be a time of of breaking patterns.

Th most obvious thing in Spain is the daily schedule. Aside from a really long lunch time (Noon until 3:30 p.m.) almost everything else shuts down in this country. Museums and churches are closed. Pharmacies and banks lock their doors. The streets look deserted. The Spanish really get going after eight at night. It presents an interesting challenge for people who are used to the daily patterns of American life.

On top of this, there is another new pattern, “Pilgrim hours.” Get up at 6:30 a.m. Eat a small breakfast. Walk seventeen miles (with a coffee and snack break along the way). Find a place to stay. Get a shower. Wash some clothes. Find something to eat – maybe a big lunch. Try not to drink too much wine. Walk around and see the sights (as if you haven’t already done enough of that.) Get an evening snack. Read and communicate a bit. Sleep at 8:00 p.m. Repeat.

I think I have finally hit my groove. I am learning how important it is to put my feet up. Learning how helpful it is not to eat a large, late meal. I am learning to be flexible with what is, rather than demanding what I want or what I am used to. I think that is part of the key to joyful travel. That doesn’t mean I don’t ask for what I need or want, it just means I take the perspective of a learner, a beginner, of someone who is open to what comes. If I don’t want to do this, why travel anyway?

And so I go to bed earlier than I am used to. I walk farther than is my common practice. I stay in rooms with many more people than I ordinarily choose to. I talk with people along the way even though I might prefer silence. I try to speak a language that I find difficult. I eat different food, at different times, in different ways than has ever been my pattern. It is fun, it is frustrating, it is filling. Really.

Today we travelled about 15 miles of what is said to be part of the Calzada romana, one of the longest remaining stretches of the Roman road in Spain today. Not like the big paver stones of Roman roads in Italy, but a different kind of stone, almost river rock, carefully spread and compacted. Interesting, and not as easy on the feet as you might hope. Those Romans are everywhere.

Author: Jim Zazzera

I find myself thinking about the past, wondering about the future, and doing my best to live in the present.

7 thoughts on “Patterns – Calzadilla de los Hermanillos to Mansilla de las Mulas”

  1. Awesome pictures! This walking looks good on you both! Maybe it’s the earlier to bed that makes you both look so rested after walking 15miles or so. Patterns or habits are very difficult to see and change but sometimes well worth the attempt! We so much enjoy your thoughts and pictures. Thank you for sharing with us all. If your back pack is heavy, it’s because you have all of us with you there! Buen Camino 💞


  2. I know what you are talking about. When we visited Spain, we thought their eating hours were weird. You all are learning how to work and play in a different place that takes adjustment. Think you will be a little more flexible when you get home?


  3. In the country where I lived for 23 years, white asparagus are the treat of the season. If the top of the asparagus was touched by a short time of light, it turns a little green, and is then sold as a second grade and cheaper. It takes a special soil to grow it and where I lived, the farmer who had the most of that kind of soil also had a store nearby. We bought the asparagus harvested at daybreak the day of the purchase. I still don’t like green asparagus.


  4. Dallas Willard says that resistance to change is one of our greatest spiritual enemies…that our resistance is based on fear and pride rather than embracing change as a source of trust, love, and humility. The first time I read that, I thought, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Easy for you to say! But it’s killing me.” But you are so right, Jim. Change is difficult and frustrating, but it brings so much to our lives and our spirits. I thank God that you can experience this on a pilgrimage…where a journey of growth and enlightenment occurs, and where you feel like you are traveling through, beside, with, and towards a destination of spiritual fulfillment and accomplishment. I am growing so much from your experiences and insights and feelings. Thank you so much for all your willingness and efforts to share!


  5. Reading today’s post reminds me that I need to get better at embracing change. Traveling to Guatemala in January with 8 CA’s will be a mini pilgrimage for me. I’m soaking up all you’ve been so kind to share and keeping in mind that I too, was always on the way.
    You both look wonderful! Walking becomes you 🚶‍♀️🚶‍♂️🚶‍♀️🚶‍♂️✌


  6. Jim & Lena–You are an inspiration to all of us on Team World Vision as we prepare for the half marathon next weekend! We’ll walk one day; you travel 13.5 miles before lunch almost EVERYDAY!!!👟😇

    I so look forward to reading each “new chapter” of your adventure;
    God bless you for sharing!!

    “As your days, so shall your strength be..” Deuteronomy 33:25
    Cathy Healow


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