If you want to walk the Camino but are time poor, ask most people which part to skip and they will invariably say the stretch from Burgos to Leon, primarily occupied by the Meseta. For me, this is like going to Egypt but skipping the pyramids.
Essentially the Meseta is a long straight 220km stretch of well, nothingness, really. Dry, barren, featureless, with a seemingly endless path stretched out before you leading to who knows where.
As unappealing as this sounds it’s in the experience that the Meseta comes into its own. The Camino to me is about going within. Introspection. Sorting your stuff out. Nowhere on the Camino is this more prevalent than in these vast expanses where there is nothing to distract you.
Nothing to do but go within. And just keep walking.
Depending on the time of year you walk, the Meseta could be one of many colours. From the brown ugliness of ploughed dirt to the bright yellow of sunflowers to the rich greens of freshly planted crops. Whatever you are looking at, chances are that is ALL you can see. Variety is not a term often associated with the Meseta.
But it is this very monotony that is also its greatest strength. You walk the Camino to lose the distractions of everyday life. You walk the Meseta in particular to lose the distractions of spectacular scenery that are commonplace elsewhere on the Camino.
For me, the Meseta is quintessential Camino. Thoughts are rampant without any distractions. You contemplate. You ponder. You evaluate. Ideas for the future and memories of the past are ever present. Your imagination tends to have a mind of its own when stripped of literally all distractions. And all the while you just keep walking.
Obviously not everyone has the time to do the Camino in its entirety. And granted, if you have never walked the Camino before this is the logical stretch to omit. It’s not aesthetically pleasing. The road stretches miles ahead with very little variant. It can be a mental battle to keep going. But for me, that’s the point.
So before you dismiss the Meseta as unnecessary, take the time to evaluate why you are taking this life-changing journey. Are you here to enjoy the scenery, the vino tinto and have a nice break from your daily grind? Or are you here to go within, to test your limits and to find something that’s missing? Will you return to your busy life and lose the true meaning of the Camino? Or will you take what you have discovered about yourself home with you, incorporate the lessons into your daily life, and just keep walking?
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A few inspirational options to consider.
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