An unusual end to to the walking part of my Camino – Yes – Over too Soon ?
I suppose it’s because the Camino Inglés is the shortest complete Camino.
A lot compressed into one week
Adventure, Exercise , Physical ✅
Mental , Wellbeing , Meditative ✅
Spiritual , Religious , Supportive ✅
Groups formed , friendships made ,
Help given and received , open hearted support , shared goals and objectives,
Big laughs , deep conversations ,
Good food / just food ,
Good wine / hysterically bad wine ,
Achy feet / injured feet .
Good Sleep in a quiet room or So-So sleep in a squeaky , snorey , cramped and cut price Alberque .
IT’S ALL PART OF THE EXPERIENCE- and thank your “god” for that !
Following last nights first aid for Christiana ; we checked and re-dressed the most impressive 😣 open blisters she had been walking on for some days now. Stoic and very determined she shouldn’t have been walking at all for 3 days – but in fine Pelegríno spirit ……. Santiago beckons ….. so she walks ……. credit due 👏.
(😱 Can you see from my expression to AnTonia just how bad this is ? – you’ll thank me for sparing you the details – : you’re welcome 😉)
Once finished and an amusing “Apodo del Camino” earned …….. thanks Sandra 👨⚕️
We start to measure our progress – from Spooky Pilgrim sculpture outside the still dark Alberque – and then from each Way Post …
As we count down the kilometres …… they take on an increasing importance.
Especially as we get below the magic 10k each stone sees a cluster of excited selfies 🤩 . Motivation is high – feet lighter – blisters forgotten. ( I hope 🤞)
And when you have energy – it’s no problem to jump into a nearby cornfield to visit the local Zombie-Rasta- Scarecrow…….. Bizarre 👻! – 😆
This leads to my favourite photo of the trip – at 9 k out – say hello to :- ( L to R )
Dr Bob , Chrissy , Joschka , Ebba , AnTonia , Christiana , Sandra . You would think they had known each other for ever ? Only 2 of this brilliant , close group had actually known each other before their Camino .
In the best traveller style , they had met on the plane or in the queue at the bus station; recognised a fellow Pelegríno , or a fellow adventurer , or simply just been open to the possibility that “hello” costs nothing , risks nothing but can enhance your life’s experiences in a thousand different ways.
….. it’s a new one on me – I’ve not approached Santiago from this direction before , new streets , new views , new glimpses of the Cathedral towers – is it or isn’t it ? Or just simply an elaborate church ?
(See the “we’re almost there” smiles ? )
And then – FOR SURE – NO DOUBT – the rain glazed streets reveal the famous imposing granite towers of the Romanesque Catedral Igrexa de Santiago
I’ve left out the more wonderful emotional scenes from the girls as we hear the famous piper . That’s for them to share 😘. I understand it’s just overwhelming to finally arrive for the first time after such a mental and physical trial .
Part of the strong Celtic / Galician tradition – I love this piper . Never met him before – so I thought I’d change that situation. What a top bloke ! 🤣🤣🤣
( There’s a video embedded here if you press ) 👍
Past him ( with one of the worlds most profitable busking sites ! 👏 ) and into Plaza de Obradoiro and there – the end :
………….. but also the start of Camino life as the girls will find out when they return home . Many things change from now.
Love these classic celebrations 💕💕
We part company until the evening – some in Hotels – especially Joschka in St Martin Pinario – an old monastery and also a living museum – 👍 very nice . Some in Hostels – one stage down – but still nice .
And me – in Alberqué land 😆 . I’ve wanted to try out this well known alberque called “Roots and Boots ” for some time as I’ve met people who loved it . A party atmosphere, classic camino people , a real melting pot of seasoned adventurers , first timers , hippys, 80 year olds , students and tech-strewn , lycra clad , muscular globe trotters.
Usual packed bunk arrangement BUT a rare garden to chill out , sleep , chat and drink beer 🍺 Yey !!
Except ( oh yes ) – it’s raining again so the alberque lounge is full instead , all drinking €1 chilled Estella Galicia from the vending machine 🤣 – by far the best end to this type of off-grid strole.
We meet up and grab some food – the Menu Pelegríno / Menu del Dia at a basic bar restaurant near the Pilgrims office .
I get a surprise phone call – I had previously added an extra stop-over in Vienna to my return home to have dinner and long overdue catch up with my good friends Brigitta , Martin and Carolina from the Camino Francés in previous years. They are spread across europe – Germany , Switzerland and Austria – so its a rare chance.
It’s an excited call to say it looks like Martin is with Devi still driving a camper van through Tuscany ( where else ? 😉) but otherwise they’ll all be there – but with a surprise .
Carolina has arranged to play with her orchestra , made it match my dates and the performance will be in Vienna – at the Opera house tomorrow night – OMG ! – Seriously ?? !!
Yes – it’s a “Camino Moment” – being a moment so far out of your normal life that you just have to laugh. It wouldn’t have happened unless you’d put yourself on the trail .
I go back into the restaurant and tell my friends ……….( One of whom AnTonia works at the Berlin Opera House remember ) ….. guess what ? I’m going to see 3.5 hours of Don Giovani at the Opera ! the Wien Oper Huis tomorrow . What ? !
A very elegant occasion I predict – and all I have is well worn hiking gear and the best I can do is zip the legs back on to my hiking shorts ! 😆🤣😆🤣 . Love it . Let’s see.
3 hours later , after a team tour of the city and the always moving moments in the Cathedral to visit the saint , hugging the statue , pray in the crypt , gently navigate the steps with 1000 years of wear from 30 generations of pilgrims whose travels and tribulations make mine insignificant.
Even with the renovations for 2021 celebrations – it’s such a monumental destination. It’s time to leave .
In my time I’ve 🔥 lit a few ( hundred) votive candles for people on my mind – In chapels , temples , shrines , edifices large and small across multiple faiths and the act of lighting a candle holds true across them all .
Not surprisingly after that suitably pensive moment the evening leads us to a bar for a farewell drink – hugs all round to this lovely walking group brought together by the trail . Each one has brightened my days , shared thoughts , stories and blisters.
Got to go ! …… Early is too small a word for how achingly , crushingly , guaranteed to forget somethingly early I have to get up tomorrow……….