I flew home from Santiago yesterday. It wasn’t quite the ending that we’d planned. I was aiming to finish on the 5th or 6th and then take the bus back to Porto. Gerry was going to meet me in Porto on the 7th.
But I arrived on the 3rd, too wet for the Variente and Herbon was closed. The French transport unions promised one of the worst public transport strikes for years with road blockades and disruptions, trains and buses and Air Traffic Controllers all on strike too… just when Gerry was planning to fly out from Bordeaux. We decided that maybe it would be better for me to come home early and postpone our weekend. Also, to be fair, Gerry was a tad concerned that I’d had an emotional few days. So he booked my flight home.
Having got over my ‘scene’ in the pilgrims office and taken a very long soak in the huge bathtub in my Parador room I actually felt good. I look back now at what I said in the pilgrim’s office and I’m bemused. I had never planned to say that. I had no idea those thoughts we in my head. The mind is a funny old thing… the tricks it plays on us… all the thoughts that whirl around and take place without us ever consciously knowing.
I wandered the streets of Santiago. It’s so much nicer when it’s not bursting at the seams with visitors. (Although I know lots of people who would disagree 😀 ) Under that blue blue sky I wondered if I could lose myself there for just a few more days and be perfectly happy. Perhaps December is the time for me to visit! No matter; my flight was already booked.
I had an uneventful time in the Parador – I was hoping that it would be a touch of luxury but it was all a bit bland. I was a bit miffed at being glutened because they make their Tarta de Santiago with flour! What? Why? It’s made with almond flour! Everyone knows that! Someone tell their chef?!
My flight was at midday so after my breakfast, looking out over the square and the cathedral, I decided to go wandering some more. I went back to the cathedral and lit a candle for my mum’s birthday. I stopped for a coffee and chatted with other pilgrims. Of all my visits to Santiago this was probably my most favourite. I could have stayed but too late now.
I’m home. Crikey I re-read my blog and with hindsight it does sound like I had a dreadful time. I didn’t. I did have time to think. Time to grieve. Time to carefully open my own Pandora’s box and then, after having a good look, carefully wrapping it back up again and putting it away. I am so grateful that I can take this time. That I can go walking in this beautiful place and just enjoy being there. Looking in from the outside I can see how I might have sounded like a blubbering mess. Most of the time though I was simply listening to the crunch crunch crunch under foot and trying to figure out which was the driest place to put my foot.
The trail never cease to impress me. It changes with the seasons and yet remains beautiful. The Spanish and the Portuguese welcome countless strangers into their hostels and cafes and restaurants and never tire of being kind. I lost count of how many Bom Caminho’s and Buen Camino’s I heard. Galician magic weaves it’s way through the forests and paths and no matter how wet, cold, hungry, tired or miserable I felt I know, without hesitation, that I will go back.
I had a beautiful walk. I’ve learned that 30km days are comfortable for me and I am cool walking alone. I have also learned that I prefer to have more pilgrims around me on the trail (not crazy busy but a few) and I really want to be able to dry my socks at night! I feel very content with my life. I am grateful for all that I have and, more than this, I think I’m finally starting to understand and accept what makes me tick.
Happy Christmas pilgrims… and a joyous and peaceful new year! Thank you for sharing the journey with me! Where should we go next?
p.s. Also good news from Sheila. She sent me a message this morning. She’s doing great. She arrived safety, had a great walk and is back in Porto and reunited with her phone!
pps. I also had a message to say our new band Video was ready!