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Melinda’s Camino De Santiago 2012 – Day 18

Day 18  Leon – Mazarife – 23.1km – Wednesday 10/10/2012

I slept in til around 8am which was awesome! I started the day with a long soaking bath before heading out to see the cathedral. Aaron didn’t want to pay to go in and I didn’t have much desire to either so we just went visited the public section.


Dave decided to stay a little longer in the city to find a new stopper for his hiking sticks. Meanwhile, Aaron and I made a start on the walk knowing that he would catch up to us. It was a pretty quiet walk, we spent most of the day in our own worlds. It frustrated Aaron when he ran into people along the way whom he’d started the walk with and who were now ahead because they’d skipped parts of the walk by catching a bus. I have to admit that it frustrated me too but the more I saw how Aaron let it affect him, the more I was able to let it go. Each to their own I guess.


I kept stopping along the way to rest as often as possible. My glute kept cramping and I still felt weak. When I stopped with Aaron to have a break at a pub in La Virgen Del Camino, at around the 7km mark, I felt the urge to turn my phone on when I saw there was free Wifi. I had a message from Mum. I phoned her and she broke the news that Pop had died. The news broke my heart. Pop never got to travel and he loved so much that I was over here walking the Camino. He’d said he would be with me every step of the way. I tried not to cry on the phone, I felt so helpless not being there for mum. She’d just had the stress with Dad having a heart attack and now she had the heartache of losing her dad. I didn’t know what to say. I asked her if she wanted me to come home for the funeral and she told me no. She wasn’t able to go to the funeral either as Dad was unable to fly or drive after the operation he’d had on his heart. I just sent my love and was glad that he was now resting in peace after having suffered for months with the cancer.

Dave caught up to us at La Virgen Del Camino and we all left for the next village together. It was another quiet walk. I spent most of the time in my own head feeling very emotional. I was incredibly sad but also felt at peace. I trusted that everything was the way it was meant to be. I believed that the funeral wouldn’t have been a positive experience for my mum and that I wasn’t meant to be there, that she was meant to go through the process without me. It was hard as I wanted to hug her and tell her I loved her. I just had to accept the way it was and trust that it was all for the greater good.



Mazarife – Cute couple in love

I felt relief when we arrived at  Mazarife. It felt like we’d walked 40km when in reality it was only 23km. We stayed at the Albergue De Jesus. I’d actually wanted to stay at the albergue on the right when we walked into the village but I followed the guys who were keen on this one. When we booked in, the manager asked if I wanted to stay in a room with ladies but I chose to stay in a room with four bunks with the guys. They were like family.

It was a very hippy place and it even had a pool. After washing our clothes I went for a swim with Dave. OMG it was freezing!!

I wasn’t feeling like mingling tonight so I just had tuna on rice cakes for dinner and chilled reading my book. There were many people smoking and drinking and it just wasn’t my scene. I’d spoken to Aaron quite a lot over the last few days about not drinking much and instead living a healthy lifestyle. He’d been asking me for advice about it so I felt frustrated to see him smoking and drinking.

As the night went on, I went to the room to continue reading. I was really grateful for the foot massage Dave gave me before he headed back out to mingle. The guys had one of the bunks in the room and I had the other to myself. Although I normally chose to sleep on the top bunk, I took the opportunity to sleep on the bottom for a change. I put my ear plugs in but still tossed and turned a lot while trying to get to sleep. I felt so emotional from everthing that had been happening.

Awareness Gained Along The Way

Being kind to myself helped my body to heal and refuel.

I was starting to have expectations of people.

I need to trust my gut straight away and not follow the crowd.

It’s not worth worrying about how people choose to do things. Each to their own.

I shut myself out from everyone when I need to feel my emotions.

Everything was starting to seem clearer and I was starting to trust that everything was exactly the way it was meant to be.


Melinda’s Camino De Santiago 2012 – Day 17

Day 17 Reliegos – Leon – 22.1km 9/10/2012

I woke today feeling 20 times better than the day before. It was like I’d woken from a really bad dream. I’d definitely shifted a lot throughout the night. Today I really wanted to get to Leon where I knew there was a hospital. It was just over 20km away. Aaron and Dave didn’t want to leave me by myself so they came with me. I was determined to make it there so I kept up the hydration and food.

I felt okay until I reached Villarente. My tummy and legs were cramping and I started to feel like death. I called a friend at home as my stomach was so swollen it freaked me out. I wasn’t sure if I should stop and get an ambulance or keep shuffling to Leon. My friend told me that it was most likely from being extremely dehydrated and that if it got too much I should call an ambulance. I pushed through slowly to Leon.




“In you go,” was Dave’s words as we walked past the hospital in Leon. I refused telling them that I just wanted to get to a hotel, shower and eat and then see how was feeling. So we agreed to all go in on a hotel. We chose Luna, a 4-star hotel that had a room with three single beds. It was great, so close to the CBD. The guys were really thoughtful and let me get settled in, giving me space so that I could have a relaxing bath. It was heaven. Although I hadn’t known them long, the guys felt like close brothers to me. I trusted them completely and felt safe and comfortable with them.


I spoke to mum and she was happy I had arrived in Leon, close to a hospital. She kept telling me to stop the walk and to just get a bus. There was no way that was going to happen. I was here for the walk. I reassured her though that if the I needed to I would stop and rest. I had no particular end date so I had no intention of stopping what it was that I came here for. Mum updated me on everything that was happening at home. She told me that dad was doing well and that he had stopped smoking, was eating healthier, drinking less and even exercising. I was so happy to hear this. Unfortunately, my Pop wasn’t doing as well though. I was saddened to hear that he hadn’t received any of my postcards as yet but glad when Mum told me he was loving hearing about my trip and that he was really proud of me.



After settling in, we all had a look around the city. I bought some more postcards for my family. We ran into lots of pilgrims. Aaron saw some people he had started off with and I met a lovely New Zealand woman called Jess who was about the same age as me. I didn’t have that much energy but enjoyed sharing stories.

I felt so relieved to be feeling better and to have my appetite back. We ate at a lovely restaurant where I enjoyed a delicious chicken salad. Aaron was keen to stay out a little longer after dinner but I was ready to crash for the night. Dave kindly walked back with me. Lucky he did. We ended up getting lost on our way back to the hotel. It was a little stressful not having any idea of where we were. We first got directions off a passerby that turned out to be wrong. Then we spoke to a lovely couple who were happy to help. To Dave’s amusement, I used my fantastic signing to explain the front and back of the hotel. He was in hysterics. He said it funny how I must have thought that the slower I spoke and the more I used my hands, the more they would understand. I realised later how silly I must have looked and sounded to the locals. Thankfully it paid off though and we made it back to the hotel, followed shortly after by Aaron. The three of us crashed for the night hoping for a sleep-in the next morning.

Awareness Gained Along The Way

It’s amazing how light you can feel once you let go of so much suppressed sadness.

It’s nice to have friendships with males that don’t have any hidden agendas.