Santiago

A full day in Santiago getting my few tasks done, greeting fellow pilgrims from New Hampshire and the Netherlands, and enjoying another beautiful day.

 

My third Compostela certificate means just as much as my other two. My distance was shorter, but it was shared with my brother and my new friends. At the cathedral for Pulgrim mass we got to experience the swinging of the botifumero incense ball. I have an inadequate photo, but if you would like to know what the experience is like go back towards the end of the movie “The Way.” I wish I could say that my improving knowledge of Spanish meant that I could understand a lot of the service but I always enjoy it. Shirley was very moved by the service and the experience.

 

I’m renting a car tomorrow, and 3 of us will go to the coast to experience Finesterre and Muxia, then we will ride in trains to Burgos and Léon before returning to Madrid to fly home.

I’ll post more thoughts on walking and what I learned about the Camino over the coming weeks.

 

Thanks to all of you ho have followed my travels and supported my writing. It means a lot.

 

 

 

 

 

Santa Irene to Vilamaior

 

As we approach Santiago the numbers of pilgrims keeps increasing. I still stop now and then to realize how fortunate I am to be in Spain, and to share the experience with my brother and friends (new and old). The realization makes me happy.

 

Dinner last night with Margaret from Holland, a beautiful soul who is walking alone….. But never lonely.

 

The hills were tough today, but Jim is learning how to do frequent stops on the climbs. Sometimes it’s tough for me to watch him struggle, but his Camino belongs to him and I believe it’s more precious because it’s hard.

 

Shirley Funnamark learned about my walk on meetup. Her knee hurts every day but she keeps on walking and says she doesn’t want the experience to end.

 

I met David Lawson on meetup hikes in OC. David is a wizard with Google and a very strong walker. I believe (as Bogart once said) this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

 

We are at another artisanal Pension/Albergue just 9 km from Santiago. Casa de Amancio👣I’ve loved bringing a diverse group together to share my love of Spain and the Camino.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arzua to Santa Irene

 

A continuation of rolling farmland with tree-lined trails up and down hills approaching Santiago. We’ve managed to avoid the rain so far, but Shirley and I had just a bit of moisture late in the afternoon. 14 km today followed 18 yesterday. Now only around 23 km to go to the cathedral. Date palms, hydrangeas, and fuschias in one yard. My mother would h ave loved it. We keep meeting the two nuns from San Jose. Their spirit and compassion are apparent to everyone they meet.

 

I was reminded of the mixed emotions and thoughts most pilgrims have as they walk along. Plenty of time to think of the lives we have lived and to dream of the lives we hope to still live in the future. 

 

There were two memorial sites right along the trail honoring the lives of pilgrims who have passed…too young. A wall of wisdom farther along cited quotes which would likely be considered trite or simplistic in our modern world, but pilgrims lined up to reflect and consider. I have to say I like the person I am as I walk, and I try to retain a bit of the idealism I recapture when I’m here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melide to Arzua

 

Good pulpo and lots of laughter last night at dinner, as we celebrated half way on our little journey. 

 

Today off before dawn, and a good thing since the combination of long up-hills and warm weather made for tough going. Saw a palm tree today 😎 but mostly just gorgeous farmland with small creeks  running through.

 

 

I’m seeing the Camino through the eyes of walkers who are having difficulty with the terrain. This has made me appreciate the need for real fitness for those who undertake this adventure. Even though the distances are shorter than my previous walks, the hills are still there and they need to be climbed and descended. If one is very young it’s possible to muscle through on general strength. For those who are carrying a few more years, regular walking up and down steep hills must be added to everyday flat walking for proper preparation.