How strange humans! After a long way, I would even say fun, we arrive in Santiago, and we queue for an hour at the workshop pilgrim to Santiago, in this place where humans collect the Compostela "the diploma that certifies the journey". Before collecting the document, he is asked a question: why did you make the journey? What was the motivation that pushed you to that much? The answers are: spiritual, cultural, sporting, etc ... My human replied "MY DOG", the answer seems silly and almost blasphemous, but it is so, I am really lucky to have found such a family, that in the idea of crowning a dream did not put me aside, but even at the center of the scene ... I am happy to be here now.
I was a wad of fur who was wandering on the Rome ring road now more than 3 years ago, when I found Oriana who changed my life. And to think that they were afraid to keep me, they were afraid of not being able to give me a right life, they thought that living in an apartment was difficult for me, luckily it didn't take me long to make him understand that I was so happy. After a few days that I was with them I would knock on the door with my paw to make them understand that it was time for needs, luckily they understood immediately, a few months later I would open the door directly by myself. When we return from the walk on the landing they take off their shoes I offer them my paws to have them clean because I don't want to dirty the house and many of these things…. But above all they walk, my humans walk. When we go out for walks we usually walk 5/6 km a day, to the point that one day I hear them talking about a dream, of making the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. I didn't really know what it was and I was worried, but then I realized that they would take me with them, that their dream could also come true with me and I was calm.
All beautiful but behind this dream there is a lot of work, a year of physical preparation, gradually increasing the distances to get to reach 20/25 km per day, which are more or less the distances of each stage on the way. The search for creams, one to soften and improve the elasticity of my fingertips and to avoid cracking, to be used at rest at the end of each day and another protective, to be applied before each stage, so that they do not wear out too much the bearings. The choice of technical shoes with a lot of non-slip rubberized sole for long stretches of asphalt or very rough terrain, how fun to wear them and how lucky to have them, without we would never have arrived! A backpack, where to put all these things, even if at some point, the backpack ended up at the bottom of their backpack because the road is long and there was no reason for me to carry it all day, the supplement pills for the cartilage and an anti-inflammatory.
The hardest thing was the search for dog-friendly hotels. Believe us after 25 km you think you can't find a place to sleep and have to sleep in a camping tent (which humans will have to bring in case of emergency), in a patio or on the ground in a garage as happened to us, you do it because you love too much. your humans to leave them alone. But the next morning there are another 25 km waiting for you so having a list of albergue that accept dogs, to book stage by stage, well it changes the perspective a lot. Humans, knowing that at the end of the stage they will find a hot shower, a washing machine and a bed are much more peaceful and, if I have to be honest, it also makes me feel safe to sleep near their bed. (ed here you will find a search engine for dog-friendly hotels).
35 days, 800 km this is the French way from Saint Jean Pied de Port, a village at the foot of the French Pyrenees, to Santiago de Compostela, crossing all forms of nature with its beauties, colors, scents and difficulties.
From the Navarre of Pamplona and its Basque pride, passing through the Rioja of Logrogño between expanses of wheat fields and vineyards, arriving at Castilla Y Leon, the largest and most difficult region with its mesetas, arid plateaus difficult to cross due to lack of trees where the sun and the heat put the journey to a very hard test, and that Leon and Astorga are the two cities where you can find a bit of mental relaxation, questioned in the long kilometers of expanses of plowed fields and nothing more. Then the magic of Galicia between mountains and fairy woods in search of gnomes and elves where time stops… maybe you slow down to enjoy the last days or kilometers, where the only certainty is that it will rain otherwise you have taken the wrong road; and finally then Santiago, a wonderful city where everyone smiles and hugs each other, as you approach the cathedral accompanied by the bagpipe music of wayfarers looking for some change, you see the emotion of humans and the feeling of having arrived materializes in that magical square, magical for millennia. The hugs with the travel companions, the tears together with those like you who have finished the Way and this thing, in short, it made me laugh, as if they did not know that at some point we would necessarily have arrived there, you just have to make them kneel to hug them for a few minutes.
Yeah, we have really arrived in Santiago and you realize, from their tears, that they have understood how much the fidelity of an animal is far greater than their folly to leave.
We have purposely tried to be unclear about what awaits you because it is right that whoever makes their own path has the opportunity to enjoy it for how it will come to meet him, what we can say more is that making the journey to Santiago with humans is not at all simple but at the same time wonderful, where in 40 days together with them day and night you will learn to understand hundreds of things about him and her that escape you in everyday life, where you must also be prepared to sleep on the ground if necessary, but everything will be repaid in the end we assure you.
A couple more practical things, the first my eating. I eat wet, but the speech is the same for croquettes even if the latter are easier to find. In big cities there is no problem, you can usually find cans, a little more difficult is the search in small towns and there you have to be good at stocking up enough to get to the next country. Keep in mind that along the way, much more energy is consumed therefore, it is advisable to increase the doses or meals. Often for convenience and because they are very easy to find, I have eaten cans of tuna, which I love, or packets of wurstel, as a break during the day as an interlude to meals.
The second, and I swear the last, is our travel tip not to do it with just one human, it would be advisable never to be alone in taking care of a dog. You need to know that in Spain it is forbidden for dogs to enter practically any closed place, as well as not being able to get on buses or trains (unless you are a small little doggie). Apart from the convenience for shopping and visits, for example of churches and cathedrals, the problem becomes a little more serious in an emergency. For example, if the human needs a visit to the emergency room or even a hospitalization, if he does not have the opportunity to leave us with someone, we risk ending up in some Perrera (kennels) and it is not a good prospect.
We at "4 legs on the way to Santiago", We leave you hoping to have been of some help to you and perhaps have, as happened to us, lit that flame and that makes you feel alive and that pushes you to realize a unique dream.
A warm wagging greeting to all,
4 legs on the way to Santiago