• Ryan Newman

Slowing Down the Ballgame

Day 3 (Akerreta to Pamplona)

Distance: 9.6 miles (15.5KM)

Steps: 22,000

Time: 3 hours, 47 minutes.

Some days you tame the tiger. And some days the tiger has you for lunch." --Tug McGraw (Former MLB Player)

Short does not always mean easy on the Camino. The four-hour hike to Pamplona was to be a quick and simple journey—a “rest day” on the Camino per say. As my mind and heart journeyed to Pamplona, my legs stayed in Akerreta.

I thought today would be a stroll, but it felt more like a slog. Tired legs and blisters on both my pinky toes were a small reminder that I don’t rule the Camino, the Camino rules me!

Despite the physical trials, the conversations and connections were profoundly moving. Last night in Akerreta, I met Andy and Brian from England—best friends for 40+ years. We enjoyed a great evening of conversation over dinner followed by breakfast and a few hours together on the Camino. Among the topics, we discussed the woes of the English Premier League and our struggling teams, which did slow us down a little bit on the Camino.

Yesterday in my blog, I mentioned the formation of my “Camino Family.” Today, I spent a great deal of time talking with the grandfather and father of the Camino’s newest superstar; the nine-year-old girl hiking the Camino.

Tom Gamboa (Grandpa) is doing his second Camino and spent 40 years working for Major League Baseball teams as a scout, coach, and manager. He wrote a book called, “My Life in Baseball.” Guess what my father-in-law is getting for Fathers’ Day? Tom and I talked baseball and religion—both topics I know a little bit about.

His son, Brett, is no slouch. Like me, Brett was born and raised in Southern California. He eventually went onto UC Berkeley and got straight “A+” all four years (his dad, “grandpa” shared that fact). Who gets straight A+ ... at Berkeley nevertheless? Brett went onto Harvard for his M.A. and Ph.D. and now is a professor of English at Dartmouth. His wife is a medical doctor.

We have a great deal in common both professionally and personally (honestly!!) except Brett is a genius (knows every line in every Shakespeare play by heart—another “grandpa shared fact”), teaches at an Ivy League university, and got straight A+ in college.

I might not ever see these people after today, but each of them have made a huge impact on my Camino experience—and my life.

Lesson of the Day: Slow down and listen—the world is full of great and interesting people.


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