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.
Day 25 – Hospital – Melide 28.7km – Wednesday 17/10/2012
After sleeping well, we started the day’s journey at around 7:30am. It was dark and raining, the heaviest it had rained so far on the Camino. Although we walked together, Ann, Dave and I were in our own worlds listening to the rain, taking one step after another, reflection on our trip and coming to the realisation that it was coming to an end.
We arrived in Melide at around 2:30pm. Although the walk was very wet and testing, especially when we saw a sign for a taxi (it’s funny that people would actually pay for one on the walk!), the scenery was lush and beautiful. A lot of pilgrims had decided not to walk today because of the rain but I had wanted to experience it. I wanted to experience the painful feet, to challenge my boundaries, test my body and my mind. It was a quiet walk and I found myself missing people from home and playing possible scenarios over and over in my head about some of the decisions I needed to make when I got home.
I received a message from Sandor saying that he had finished his pilgrimage to Santiago and that he may still be there when I arrived. It was nice to hear from him but at the same time I was only interested in a friendship and it was obvious that he was keen for more.
When I arrived in Melide I knew that I had done enough walking for the day. My feet weren’t going to allow me to go any further even if I’d wanted to. After the teary day I’d had the day before I was starting to realise my limits. The rain was certainly testing my limits too – it hadn’t stopped raining all day. Ann however, decided to continue on and we said our farewells.
Dave and I had a look around the place. We met a really nice American guy whom, I must admit, I found extremely attractive! He just oozed energy and had a mysterious charm about him.
We enjoyed a salad and pasta for dinner and decided on having an early night. As I lay in bed I started looking forward to Finisterre. I wasn’t sure yet if I would walk or bus it there. All I knew was that I wasn’t looking forward to going back to work or my normal life – I just wanted to travel more. Only next time with more financial freedom to stay in nicer places. I was getting over the yucky showers and beds.
I couldn’t believe that there were only two more days left – a 33km journey and 20.9km one.
Awarness Gained Along The Way
I had a moment of clarity. It’s time for me to stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and let go of what I can not control
I learn by being challenged.
I am too competitive to miss the obvious signs.