Traveling as a twosome is very different to traveling as a family – no surprises there! It has meant we could rent a little attic room in Santiago instead of staying in a big dormitory. See the skylight up there on the left in the picture? That’s our room. Here it is from the inside – perfect for two:
Traveling without kids also means you’re not looking for playgrounds or stopping to catch lizards or having to be particular about always having food available. On the downside, when there are only two of you, you cannot buy a large wedge of Brie because you simply can’t eat it all at once, and if you buy muesli you have to carry it for three days for the same reason. The real disadvantage of having no kids with regards to muesli is that Rob gets to choose and he doesn’t pick the nuts and chocolate variety;-) And without kids here it’s hard to justify buying a six-pack of icecreams (although we did buy a three-pack at the seaside town of Arcade and managed to demolish them all before running in to Art and Mike with whom we would have had to share the spare!) On the upside, when traveling sans sprogs you can splash out on fancy icecreams:
You can linger in the square listening to musicians instead of looking for aforementioned playgrounds.
(Although to be completely fair to our kids, it must be mentioned that they have happily listened to hours of street musicians in our travels). These two elderly gentlemen were so understated, perched on the stone pavement, strumming and fiddling in perfect harmony, expertly, modestly.
I stopped to watch a brass band for a while, too – beautiful rich music that filled the summer’s afternoon wafting up to the cloudless blue sky. If I’d known I would blog about it, I’d have snapped a picture, but I just enjoyed being present in the moment.
The musical interlude was disturbed when Mr Brazil, the second pilgrim we walked with back at the beginning, appeared along with a nameless pilgrim we shared the first monastery with. They arrived in Santiago this morning. Friendly greetings and chance encounters are some of the magic of this town.
Because I was thinking about traveling without kids, it was natural to consider the question “is doing the camino without kids different?” The answer would have to be yes and no, but more no than yes. When Rob was walking with me and the four youngest children last year – and when we walked with all eight children and Grandpa too – we were a more self-contained group and people did not approach us quite as much as when it was just the kids and me or Rob and me. That is not to say we had no interaction with others – far from it! There is just MORE when the group is smaller; in fact, I think it has more to do with the size of the group than the age of its members. When Rob went home last year, other pilgrims looked out for us. Pilgrims seem to treat other pilgrims as a class of their own, not as adult versus child. That was something our children enjoyed.
The two biggest differences in walking without them would be 1) being more relaxed about food availability (we adults can skip breakfast if necessary as we did yesterday or we can wait until 9pm for dinner as we did after mass at the Herbon monastery), and 2) simply not having responsibility for them (even though they did all their own clothes washing, and looked after and carried their gear, and helped with cooking, and filled their water bottles there were mental/emotional considerations, but this time we had only to – perhaps selfishly – think of ourselves) So, while traveling per se is quite different as a couple, doing the camino as a couple is not so different to doing it with children. Both are good! I’m guessing going solo would be different again.
But I must say enjoying a leisurely tapas session in the Praza de Cervantes at 8pm is hard to beat!
So we have walked without kids (although there has been daily contact so they don’t feel entirely abandoned). We have walked to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and we have asked if 25 people would join us in lending $25 to Kiva…..right now our campaign is at 24%. That’s got a ring to it, but we’d love it if you’d help us make it 100% sometime in the next nine days when the campaign will end. You can find out more by clicking here.