Buen Camino

Kiana Molitor
March 24, 2018

One day in my IES Abroad Acting Workshop class, I was practicing my melodramatic lines in Federico Garcia Lorca’s play, Bodas de Sangre, when I became distracted in conversation about weekend plans. My friend Drew and I momentarily abandoned our parts as Leonardo and La Novia to compare the prospective adventures of the weekend to come. After hearing Drew’s plan to hike a portion of the Camino de Santiago I recognized that his weekend was going to greatly exceed my humble plans of hanging out in Madrid. With the remaining time in class, I quickly purchased a one-way train ticket to Pamplona, Spain, departing the next day in order to join Drew and his friends as they embarked on the world famous religious pilgrimage. The only thing I could hope for is that our hiking skills would be better than our acting skills!

The Camino de Santiago is network of hiking trails that traverse the countryside and small villages of Southern France and Northern Spain. Typically, the journey takes hikers approximately 30-35 days to complete the most popular route of the Camino, which spans some 500 miles. Historically, the route serves as one of the most important religious pilgrimages and culminates in a town called Santiago de Compostela, the resting place of St James the Apostle. Today the passageway attracts hundreds of thousands of travelers from all areas of the world. The reasons and inspirations of trekkers to embark on the path are wide and varied. Some adventurers are seeking a spiritual transformation and an opportunity to connect with oneself and a greater divinity beyond. While others seek to experience the pure beauty of the passage and the thrill of the physical and mental challenge. Regardless for the intentions for the hike, the journey is sure to offer breathtaking scenery, the opportunity to meet interesting people from all corners of the globe, and a shining sense of accomplishment.

The beginning of our trip started off with more excitement than we would have liked as we found ourselves sprinting to the train station where we boarded our train with just minutes to spare. We enjoyed the Spanish countryside as we sped to Pamplona, a mere three hours away. We spent the night in a cozy hostel filled with several other travelers doing portions of the Camino. After calling it an early night, we were prepped and ready for the day of hiking.

On our first stretch we hiked from Pamplona to Puente La Reina, a distance of 15 miles. We toured our way through green rolling hills and quaint Spanish towns. The hike was more enjoyable and leisurely than truly difficult. This allowed us to really appreciate the beauty of the trail and the conversations shared between the four of us. After spending the day walking some 6 or 7 hours we found ourselves fairly exhausted and more than ready for a good dinner and goods night rest.

Regardless of the ease of the hike, you can bet I woke up sore the next day. During day two we enjoyed a sun soaked trek alongside a small creek. The trail then veered through several farmers’ fields and ended in a town called Estrella, a stretch of 13 miles. My favorite thing about the Camino was the small, unexpected moments. Somewhere along the path, we found ourselves watching a pickup soccer game amongst locals in one small town and became just as animated about cheering as the town folks. A few hours later we found ourselves enjoying a picnic in the sun on a stone bridge. In my opinion, the Camino offers the perfect mix of precipitated planning and the unknown. You may know how many miles you expect to complete in a day, but you never really know what those miles may have in store.

I suppose in that sense the Camino, like most journeys, serves as a metaphor for life. One should understand that along the path there will be challenges, triumphs, and transformation. The fun part is discovering the unique manner in which those events unfold.

As we finished our small portion of the Camino de Santiago, I felt privileged to have had the opportunity to experience even just a tidbit of the trail. Yet still, I felt a blazing curiosity as to the remaining duration of the path and the potential adventures that would occur along the way. Something tells me that one day I’ll find myself back on the path, hopefully to complete it entirely. Until then, buen camino!

With Gratitude,


Kiana Molitor

<p class="MsoBodyText" style="margin-top:2.35pt; margin-right:10.6pt; margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin-left:5.0pt"><span style="line-height:115%">I'm Kiana Molitor, a young 20-something year old who happens to be many things, including but not limited to: an optimistic idealist, an adventure enthusiast, a jet set travel bug, and a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I am also a Global business student at the University of Redlands. I jump at all opportunities that push me outside of my comfort zone and try to embrace the unknown.</span></p>

2018 Spring
Home University:
University of Redlands
Walla Walla, WA
International Business
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