28 June – being a tourist and waiting for folks to catch me up.
There is a startlingly, ice-blue sky with the heat from the sun drying the rain-soaked streets sending up streams of steamy mist to be lost into the heat of the day and forever again not to be seen.
The sun, with its atomic power sends out life-giving rays that reach deep into the corners of the shady streets, dazzling the unprotected eye, warming the welcoming skin, gladdening the saddest of hearts, cheering the darkest of memories and highlighting the promise of dreams from the night to come true, whatever they may be.
At the Church of San Francisco I was led to tears by a young man, committed to God, dressed in the simplest of brown robes with a rope for a belt who asked of me a total stranger, whence I came and what I was looking for in my native tongue and welcomed me to his world of peace and calmness with the voice of what I can only describe as a boy angel. I have heard that voice again many times since then and each time I have wept.
Steps today 17692
Sunday 29 June -Santiago de Compostela to Negreira
Today I can only offer thoughts and observation from the day from the notes as I walked. I hope they make sense to you……….. They do to me.
– a toothless old man sitting at the side of the path watching two cats eat the carcass of a small bird
– a bridge, centuries old, made by hand that has carried countless pilgrims, carts to market and families long since turned to dust
– eucalyptus trees by the hordes
– wild flowers leading me onwards and upwards
– a small dog that has learned how to beg a meal or a snack from passing pilgrims
– freckles traced and joined in a line using the sun as a guide
– beautiful hill walking
– returning pilgrims retracing the steps I have yet to take
– taking the wrong path and adding an extra hour to a long days’ walk
– pilgrims with an aura of calmness now we are in this part of the Camino, or, is it an emotional volcano about to erupt when they, we, reach Finisterre?
Steps today 33564
Monday 30 June Negreira to Olveiroa
– a forest path soft underfoot
– a silence broken only by birdsong
– a veil of mist hanging like a curtain over a scene that awaits the sun to lift the veil and warm the land and chase away the coldness of a grey dawn
– a silvery dew-drop beaded grapevine with tiny droplets of early morning magic that sparkle, like a diamond encrusted green tiara awaiting the arrival of a beautiful yet to be born princess
– an old road, the cement and concrete dried since decades past that hS the deeply-embedded paw prints of a dog long-since dead
– the splash of a mountain-spring fed water fountain
– a wall of trees with a ceiling of grey , rain-filled clods set against a carpet of tall grass that flows into the distant undulating multi-green hills
– a pilgrim, seemingly at peace with his world who stops at a fountain and drinks deep into his belly with long gulps of cool fresh water then walks on
– a cup of coffee, an apple and a cafe filling and re-filling with a procession of pilgrims
– a multitude of languages
– unforgiving, unyielding and unfeeling Tarmac that takes to soul out the sole of your feet
– rolling green-framed hills
-multi-coloured walking clothes competing with wild flowers
– dogs, dogs and more dogs
– another Albergue, more strangers sleeping in the same room
-rain, rain and yet more rain
-a happy, memory-filled day that no-one can take away
-Kevin, Liz and Chase saying goodbye
Steps today 44505
01 July Olveiroa to Muxia
To give you a feel of how it was to walk today follow these simple instructions.
1.Put your walking boots and walking clothes on with a pack on your back.
2. Cover yourself and your pack with your waterproof gear.
3. Take these next 4 photographs and put them in a clear plastic bag and make the bag water-tight.
4. Wearing your gear and carrying the photographs step into your shower (or turn on a water-hose) and stand under the running water.
5. Now walk around the shower (or under the garden hose) for about an hour whilst looking at the 4 photographs.
6. When you are wet turn of the water and carry on walking until you are nearly dry.
7. Just as you are about to become fully dry, turn the water back on for another hour or so.
8. Repeat steps 4 to 7 for several hours with the added bonus of walking up and down a flight of stairs.
9. Then, just as you think you can truly take no more, tell yourself you need to because you have just seen a wayside marker sign that tells you you have about another hours’ worth of walking.
There you have it. That was today’s walk. It was hard, tiring, wet and wonderful.
Steps today 44432
02 July Muxia to Finisterre
Quite simply a perfect day in every way.
Steps today 41530
03 July Finisterre Faro (Lighthouse)
This last part of the walk was deliberately left until today. To do it yesterday would not have been as enjoyable having walked a long-way.
It also provided the opportunity to get a photograph of a French couple I first met when I stayed the night in the Convent Espiritu Santo. Don’t try to tell me the man doesn’t look like Pinochio’s father from the Disney film.
This first photo was in a bar. The owner was a pilgrim who had travelled the world and brought back a piece of the soil from every country he had been to.
Then there was no further to go.
Steps today 12538
At 1635 hrs I set foot on a bus to be moved from one point to another by a power other than my own two legs which have carried me for 1,345,889 steps over a distance of 910 Kilometers.
The number of steps at the end totals 1,345,889, none of them regretted, all of them wonderful and shared with so many special people who came into my life, enriched it in different ways and left me with memories that will last a life-time.
You made my Camino all it could be and more. Buen Camino to you all.