Wild, rough, gentle and breathtakingly beautiful: this is northern Spain! A wonderful spot and a paradise for surfing.
Two weeks ago I entered northern Spain in Irun, hundreds of kilometres later I was sitting in a café in Santiago de Compostela and reviewing time. Thousands of meters of altitude difference we went up and down again – a constant up and down. Wonderful coastal roads, dreamlike bays and monotonous main roads impressed themselves in my mind and body. I have suffered and laughed, let myself be enchanted by the country and have taken the people into my heart.
Only where you’ve been on foot, you’ve really been.
Many kilometres I was on the Camino del Norte or Camino de la Costa. One of many Way of St James leading to Santiago de Compostela. But neither an imposed bus, the fulfillment of a vow or a spiritual deepening was and is the goal of my journey. My geographical destination is therefore not a pilgrimage church, but the perfect wave that spurred me on to go further west every day – or in the words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “Only where you were on foot did you really go”.
The search for the perfect wave was on ice. I had neither the strength nor the coordination to surf.
The almost 1,000 kilometres along the north coast of Spain were not always easy. At the beginning I was struck by heavy storms and rain showers, the Pyrenean runoffs challenged my body and many an ascent brought me to the brink of despair. But there was only one way out: getting up and walking on. The surfing of the perfect wave moved far, far into the distance. But it couldn’t rain all the time and when it goes up, it has to go down again sometime. After a week the weather calmed down and also the hilly landscape subsided more and more, so that I had again enough power reserves left to go surfing.
If language is the key to the soul of a people, many a door remained closed to me.
My original plan in the previous country to learn the language of the next country was pretty much in my pants and so I entered Spain without any language knowledge. While I was able to get by in France with my school French, many a dialogue fell silent after the greeting and a “lo siento no hablo español” at the roadside. A world closed for me and so I will agree with Ludwig Wittgenstein for this and all my future micro expeditions: “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”.
Journey with Thomas
You can follow his entire journey here. In regular intervals Thomas provides us with travel reports, pictures and videos, which are published here and on Facebook under the Hashtag #OANATRIP. Stay tuned!