Day 28 Santiago – Negreira 22km Saturday 20/10/2012
Started off the day with clarity about things back at home and felt excited about continuing my walk, the great start was the princess style breakfast at the hotel again, AMAZING after what I had the last month.
It felt so different today, just knowing it was extra, knowing it was a choice to continue on, knowing not that many people walk this walk, it just felt really awesome, plus the walk was beautiful, very green, very lush, loved being in nature today.
We chose to stay at the Municiple, there were vacancies and we just needed a bed, sadly poor Jess had fleas biting her all night and were they got in everything, this meant she had to wash all her belongings. We both couldn’t stop iching and were paranoid about bed bugs. The bed set up was about eight beds in each room, not bunk style, we were wanting an early night as planned for a early start as our goal was 30km tomorrow.
Everyone was getting right into the red wine, however, myself and Jess decided to go upstairs to crash. Excited about the adventure tomorrow.
As going off to bed, I thought about how much I loved travel, how much I would love to do more, I also loved doing it solo and I started thinking about sharing it with someone special in the future, the idea was nice.
Awareness Gained Along The Way
Body was grateful for the previous days rest
The ability of the mindset, the different focus of starting a walk with a goal of around 100km instead of 800km
I was becoming aware of warning signs and clarity ringing in my heart about decisions to be made at home
Day 27 – Santiago Rest Day – Taking in the moment of completing 796km
After a long sleep in my beautiful hotel bed, I felt so amazing when I woke. My body was stiff and sore but it didn’t matter, I had made it, I was there. The breakfast in the hotel was AMAZING. I felt like a princess enjoying the delicious, quality food.
I caught up with Dave and we went and handed in our passport to receive our certificate. What a cool feeling. It was awesome running into other pilgrims around the Praza Do Obradoiro, Albert, Ann and Jess were just a few we met. It was the most amazing experience walking through the Cathedral. I felt so funny inside, very emotional. We all joined in the 12pm pilgrim mass and the priest read out the countries from where the pilgrims who’d finished had come. It was exciting to hear Australia mentioned as I was the only pilgrim that finished from my home country today. We were so grateful as the enormous 80kg botafumeiro (incense burner) swung from side to side filling the cathedral with a beautiful aroma. There was so much energy, absolutely amazing. People from all over the world visit the cathedral to experience this sensation.
The cathedral’s history was overwhelming. In the centre was the Throne of Jesus and St James surrounded by the twenty-four elders of the Apocalypse and a pantheon of Apostles, Angels and Saints. Unfortunately the famous kneeling statue known as Santo Dos Croques was closed to the public. Traditionally, pilgrims touched it three times with their heads hoping that some part of his genius would rub off on them.
I searched around for the Post Office as I wanted to check that my bag, which I had sent ahead of me at the start of my walk, had reached its destination safely. I showed my passport for ID, it was all that I had, and with great relief they handed me my bag. I said “great” and convinced the post office worker to keep my bag for another four days so I could continue to Finisterre. Although he didn’t understand at first we finally came to an understanding. I was really looking forward to wearing my pretty, clean clothes on my return.
I caught up with Sandor for a wine afterwards. He was sweet but the language barrier was still there and I just didn’t have the patience to try to communicate with him. So I said my goodbyes and off I went. I felt grateful to have met him and for his gift of showing me that there are beautiful, kind men out there who are happy to give and be kind without expecting anything in return.
I continued looking around the city and enjoyed eating Churros alone. It was nice just to sit in a cafe and watch the people passing by.
Later that day we all lined up eager to receive the FREE dinner that the Hotel Hostal Dos Reis Catolicocs gives away each evening to the first 10 pilgrims who line up at the back door. We were winners! It was so cool to enjoy a huge, delicious meal at a five star restaurant… so so yummy. We all indulged and savoured every mouthful. We enjoyed the wine at a bar and tried a delicious chocolate yoghurt, yummo!
I came to the decision to walk to Finisterre and possibly Muxia with Dave and Jess. The plan was to leave by 9am. It seemed crazy not to walk the extra 100km after having already come so far – 796km! I felt I had more in me. I knew deep in my heart that I was not finished yet.
I decided to stay solo in the hotel again to enjoy some ME time.
Awareness Gained Along The Way
I appreciated the timeout on my own more than I ever had before.
The feeling of accomplishment was huge.
I was excited about wearing my nice clothes again but at the same time didn’t feel attached to them. I didn’t care too much about it at all.
I feel excited about future opportunities to achieve more. If there is opportunity to do more then I feel drawn to challenge myself.
I have a strong desire to give my everything in all that I do.
I almost felt incomplete. I knew I had more in me and that my journey wasn’t finished.
The pleasure of achieving my goal outweighed the pain from the walk.
Day 26 – Melide – Santiago 53km -Thursday 18/10/2012 – 796km in total
When I woke up, I was overwhelmed with the idea of reaching Sangtiago by nightfall. I’d planned to do the journey in two days but why not finish it today if I could? My feet were sore and I hadn’t had the best night’s sleep but I pondered over the thought as I set off in the cold and dark with Dave at 7:40am.
It became more evident at this stage of the journey that a number of pilgrims only come to do the last 100km of the Camino, to receive the certificate and be able to say that they have done the pilgrimage. Their experience would have been completely different to that of my own. As I walked past I could smell that some of them even had perfume on! It made me laugh as I felt so disgusting at this point.
At around the 25km mark, coming to a place to rest and eat, we chatted to our Korean friend Albert. He too was struggling with sore feet. He had red wine in his water bottle to help with the pain which I found very funny. He asked where we were walking to and when I replied that we were considering Santiago he laughed and said, ‘Noooooo you can’t do that!’. ‘Why not?’ I asked him.
We continued on our way and not long after, Albert caught up to us again with a Canadian friend of his. She said it would be impossible for us to walk that far in one day. Dave and I looked at each other and in that instant I knew that I was going to reach Santiago by the end of the day with or without him. Thankfully he was driven to get there too, his desire only fueled by the Canadian’s comment.
I bought extra chocolate to fuel my body. My feet and body were extremely sore but the desire to see Santiago and to not have to stay in another albergue was so great that I pushed through the pain. With every 10km traveled we became more and more excited with getting that bit closer towards our goal. The walk was amazing. The scenery was lush and green, just beautiful.
It was a quiet journey. A lot of the pilgrims had stopped walking by late afternoon. As we continued on our way, we passed a French man, Michelle, who was heading in the opposite direction. We asked where he was travelling to and he replied that he was unsure. He had been walking in the same direction as us earlier but, without knowing where the next albergue was, he had started to backtrack. I encouraged him to join us to Santiago. We were so close.
We shared food, excitement and an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment as we made our way closer and closer. The last 10km seemed to take forever but we finally arrived in Santiago just after 8pm. It was spectacular to see the sun setting over the Cathedral and to hear the pipe players playing as we made our way into the city. It felt awesome to have the locals come up to us and shake our hands and call us pilgrims. It was such an amazing experience.
The moment I stood, or collapsed I should say, at the front of the cathedral was AMAZING. I felt so empowered, so content, so ALIVE and exhausted all at the same time. I felt so grateful.
I could see the Hotel Hostal Dos Reis Catolicocs, 5star hotel to the left of us. I considered hobbling over and paying the 200Euro to stay there but I knew that there was a cheaper hotel about 300m up the road. Dave wanted to stay in an albergue and I was happy for him to do so as I was so excited about having a room all to myself. It was worth every bit of the 70Euro. I felt like a princess staying here. I relaxed, had a warm bath and enjoyed being able to walk around the room naked. It was such an amazing feeling. I phoned home and shared the amazing news with my loved ones.
By this stage it was very late and I was keen to get some sleep. The cathedral had been closed when we arrived so I couldn’t wait to check it out in the morning.
Awareness Gained Along The Way
If someone tells me that I can’t do something, it challenges me and drives me to achieve it.
Once I get an idea in my head, I cant let it go, I need to go with it.
If I set a goal I will make it happen.
It’s amazing seeing the MIND over MATTER principle in action.