Almost a half year has passed since Dionisia and I returned to Canada.I know, I should have updated our journey earlier, I owe it to you. Somehow I still felt the impact, yes even the stress, which affected me being back home again.
Let me pick up the wonderful last days on el Camino from O’Cebreiro in Galicia.
I felt like walking on top of the world going over the mountains toward Galicia. The first little town in Galicia made me dance to Celtic music and other pilgrims danced with me on the street with overwhelming joy.
The last 140 Km through Galicia have not only given a boost to Dionisia and me, but also to our Pilgrim Friends, we all felt charged by new energy and knew, we almost made it!
From the border of Galicia the Km-Markers (Milestones) went backwards and showed us how many Km we have to walk to Santiago now. Each 500 meters apart is written on stones how far it is to our goal. I have to mention that sometimes it was annoying when you felt like you walked a couple of Km, but the next milestone showed that you walked only 500 meters. Oh boy!
The weather of our final journal helped us to enjoy the different landscape and panoramic views. I personally was looking forward to seeing Portomarin where I celebrated, on my first walk on the Camino, my 68th birthday. Now, 4 years later, again on my birthday, we were in Portomarin.
In Gonzar Manfred and Knut arrived and we celebrated my birthday. It was heartwarming to have both brothers with us again. It is quite often on the Camino that you meet the same people in different places along the way. Knut and Manfred appeared so often on our Pilgrimage in unexpected places that we wondered if this was by accident or, as you say on the Camino, “Nothing is by accident, it has a reason”.
One day after my birthday, later than I planned, we arrived on the Milestone “72” and Dionisia took my birthday picture. And ! “72 km” to Santiago de Compostela !
We passed a woody area and those big trees seemed as if walking through a big cathedral.
The weather changed and fog painted our Camino kind of misty and spooky. I felt the big impact nature has on me. On one of those days I felt in comfortable agreement with Dionisia’s religious believe. I realized, when she says “God” I say “Nature”.
At this point I should mention that Dionisia was a great Pilgrim Partner, she took this great adventure on by walking the 500 km from Burgos to Santiago de Compostela under sometimes very hard physical conditions. She surprised me with her patience with me (I know, I can be difficult) and got me back on track when I was down. We had fun and laughed a lot. We are good friends, who can steal horses now, partners in crime.
On the way closer to our goal, we hiked with more Pilgrims because more roads from different directions joined on the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. In Monte del Gozo, with a view to Santiago already, we stayed in the biggest Albergue, a tourist like complex, for the night. Of course, we ran into Knut and Manfred again.
Next morning we got up very early and went down the Monte del Gozo towards the big bridge which leads over the river Sar and the railway. The last meters to the city sign, which was on the middle of the bridge, we were almost running and filled with excitement “We made it, yay !”
The Rua da Azabacheria and the Via Sacra lead us to the Cathedral of Santiago.With us, about 800 Pilgrims arrived on this day and we joined with them the Pilgrim Mass in the Cathedral. We saw many of our Pilgrim Friends in an emotional reunion again
We picked up our Pilgrim Certificate, which officially proves that we walked as a Pilgrim on the Camino and arrived in Santiago de Compostela. In the lineup to receive our certificate, almost as expected, we met Manfred and Knut again.
For the next two days we explored Santiago in the rain and headed to our final destination to Finesterre, to the end of the world. We went by bus and at the bus station I met Antonio and Dietrich with whom I walked the first days on the Camino. Seeing them again, felt for me, as a final good bye from the Camino.
In the luxurious tourist bus from Santiago to Finsterre, Dionisia and I sitting, maybe the last time, between Pilgrims and each of us knew, where ever they came from, we all go home soon.
The rain followed us to Finisterre, but we looked forward to explore the little fishing town on the end of the world. From four years ago, I could remember a little harbour restaurant where they serve delicious seafood. Crossing the promenade to the restaurant, two men also were on the way to the same Restaurant. Yes, you guessed right, Knut and Manfred ! We all were so happy and we celebrated this “Great Good Bye Dinner” from Spain and el Camino, here in Finisterre, at the End of the World. At this place, direct by the Atlantic Ocean I left my hiking boots which had done their job, carrying me safely 800 km through Spain
Middle of June, Dionisia and me were on our flight back from Europe to Canada. I guess, we both were occupied with our thoughts about the adventure we went through. I asked Dionisia,if she would have had a chance to go back to the Camino as we have experienced it, which day would she walk again ?
Her answer was, I would choose the day, we walked from El Ganso, passing the Cruz de Hierro, over the Mountain to El Acebo. I was very surprised about her answer, because this was a sunny, hot day and we walked further than we had planned. This was also the most km per day we accomplished on our journey on the Camino. On the last leg on this day we had to climb up over a 1500 meters mountain range above sea level.
If somebody would have asked me the same question, I would have given the same answer Dionisia had given me.
This day-walk took all our strength and the Camino expected and got all our senses and eyes open to the view from the Mountainside to the nature around us. Those few hours on this day were and are worth to do this day over again.
I am back home on Bowen Island, in Canada now. I had difficulties to fit back in my “normal environment”. My thoughts couldn’t shift from the gifts I was given by el Camino and the people I was with. It took me two escapes to my cabin in the woods at Deka Lake and I’m here now, but I don’t know, I feel that the Camino had a different shift in mind?
I would like to thank my family, who accepted my crazy need to walk the Camino the second time. Thank you also to my old friends and the new friends on the Camino and the friends who supported me with their comments on my blog and their lovely e-mails I received. A special Thank you to my daughter Gaby, who sent me text messages almost each day.
Thank you all,