jueves, 30 de mayo de 2013

Camino de Santiago - Day 8
From O Pedrouzo to Santiago de Compostela

The last day arrived. Finally! Despite all the odds and what everyone thought, I made it… At 5 a.m. of Easter Sunday we still had a long way to walk before arriving to Santiago, but at that time I was already sure that it was possible, that I succeeded. And, indeed, I did.

Because the hour changed that night, when we left the shelter it was still dark and although my heart was beating like crazy inside my chest due to my childhood fears and phantoms, I kept walking. Along with Alberto we led the way through the sleeping woods. The light he had to crank every two minutes and the light that came out of my mobile were hardly enough to guide us and to keep us save from falling, but the voices of the other pilgrims just behind us help us to stay focus. And so we did… we stay focused hour after hour (despite the talks we were having, distractive and fun enough for the last stage), until we finally arrived to Santiago.

Alberto and the memory of our talks will always stay with me and mark the moment I arrived to Santiago de Compostela for the first time after having done the way. He will always be the person that was beside me that day, in that moment, and I will always thank him for having kept me amazing company.

But once we arrived to Plaza del Obradoiro, the main square in Santiago, just in front of the Cathedral, where all the pilgrims arrive if they follow the path, we met all the other pilgrims. Some pilgrims I met along the way, in previous stages and that I lost contact with along the way, were already there and the ones that were just behind Alberto and I were also slowly arriving. There was a moment, just before the Easter mass when my recent past, my present and my future, came together. It was magical!

The mass was also beautiful (quite tired though, because the Pilgrims Mass, how it's called the mass from noon, is not actually for pilgrims; in fact is for everybody else but for the pilgrims, because everyone from Santiago and tourists are there much earlier than the pilgrims, so they get the best seats and spots and some of the pilgrims give up because they can’t stand staying on their feet for one full hour after having done several kilometers that day and the previous days), but the best was yet to come… the moment we all sat. But not at any seat, at a big table. All of us. The pilgrims from my past and my present (and my future, because the majority of them stayed in my life and became close friends) were all there, sitting at a table with great food, beer and laughs. It was unforgettable. It was truly as a celebration, because even though no one called it that way, we all knew that inside of every single one of us, a party was happening. Every single one of us was tremendously happy and thankful for having accomplished such mission.

Some left Santiago that same day (like myself), same stayed for a couple of days, booked a room in a well deserved proper hotel and finally slept in a proper bed and some kept going, even further, to the very end of Galicia. But no matter where the finish line was for each one of us, all achieved our goals and that’s why that lunch, on Easter Sunday, on a humble restaurant in Santiago de Compostela felt like a huge celebration. The biggest in which I participated so far, even if we were only 14. The lucky 14!

miércoles, 29 de mayo de 2013

Camino de Santiago – Day 7
From Arzúa to O Pedrouzo

After the previous journey I was so devastated that I was seriously considering giving up the Santiago Path. And Arzúa would have been a perfect place to do it, because it had an important bus station, where I could easily have catched a bus that would have brought me straight to Madrid, straight home… But I didn’t! The energy I received from the other pilgrims the night before and the strength my family and friends send me over the phone, made me jump from the bed quite early in the next morning and start walking. Step by step, towards Santiago (which, in this point, was only 39 kms ahead).

The weather got better as well and the group was, again, all together. So, between laughs and really amusing conversations, we arrived to O Pedrouzo. This day we only walked 19 kms and had a pilgrims lunch (during the Santiago Path in almost every restaurant you can have the Pilgrims Menu, which include a starter, a main course, a desert and in my case - because I was always the only one drink white wine and never had to share it with anyone else - a full bottle of wine, all for 10 euros) that gave us enough energy (more than enough I would say) to arrive to our last shelter, only 17 kms away from Santiago de Compostela.

The dinner was another high moment from this second to last stage. In the shelter we found César and his mum again and a bunch of new pilgrims (it was the biggest shelter from all and it was full, because everyone thought exactly like us and decided to spend the night in O Pedrouzo before leaving the next morning to Santiago and arrive there at noon, immediately before the Pilgrims Mass, on the Easter Sunday). All together we had a great Carbonara (that I end up cooking, but not only because I like to be in control - which, by the way, I do - but also because I like to share "my talents" with my friends, cooking for all of them was something that made me really happy) and we were drinking and chatting for hours, trying to make the most out of our last minutes in the Camino.

martes, 28 de mayo de 2013

Camino de Santiago – Day 6
From Palas de Rei to Arzúa

Having walked so many kilometers the day before I wasn’t, at all, in a mood for a long walk again. And according to our maps, we didn’t have to, but... maps can be wrong. And when the GPS doesn’t work because your mobile doesn’t have enough battery, because you couldn’t charge it, because the night before you slept in a dormitory with other 50 people and only two plug-ins (And this is the truth. Can you imagine having only two plug-ins for 50 people?! As said before, "it felt like if we were on a refugee camp"), you can’t know exactly how much you have left to arrive to your destination. And for me (despite all the lessons I was theatched during the Camino, despite the fact that I was told several times "take a step at a time") is absolutely necessary to know how much I still have to walk… Otherwise, I start getting crazy. And that is what happened! After having walked already 23 kms and no signs from Arzúa, 25 kms and no signs from Arzúa neither, 27 kms and Arzúa seemed to be very far yet, 29 kms… and I was proper desperate. Especially because I knew I had to arrive to Arzúa (anyhow) because some of the other pilgrims skipped this stage, went directly there with the bus and were saving a place for us in a private shelter.

So, 2,5 kms before Arzúa I (Tchamramramram!!!! Confession moment!) called a cap. How fancy is that?! Shameful but true. I couldn’t handle it anymore. Arriving at the shelter I couldn’t stop crying. I was angry with myself for "cheating", angry with the Camino for being so hard on me, angry with my colleagues for not having the same rhythm as me (I remember one moment during the afternoon when I was at a top of a hill and saw them at the very top of the hill in front, very much ahead... but in the Santiago Path, as in life, every single one of us has its own rhythm and has to be true to it and the rest have to respect it), angry with life. Nevertheless, this anger only lasted 30 minutes. After that my eyes started to get dry and I was able to see, around me, some of the friends I thought we’ve lost after Samos and that, somehow, where there again. And also, as promised, I received a beautiful stick, shaped specially for me, with my name on, from Alejandro. During the Camino I had wonderful gifts (some spiritual and some for real), but this was the most beautiful one and it came in a magical moment.

That night, dinner was also special, shared with the other pilgrims and served by the sweetest waiters ever, the two kids from the restaurant owner.

jueves, 9 de mayo de 2013

Camino de Santiago – Day 5
From Ferreiros to Palas de Rei

This was the longest day in the Camino, in which we walked 34 kms. Nevertheless, it wasn't the hardest. Not even a bit! What "saved" us was the fact that, again, the sun shinned. And that the landscape was beautiful. Also, this day we met really cool and inspiring people, specially Cesar and his mum (whom we met again in our last night and with whom I entered in Santiago). The sad part is that arriving in Palas de Rei I had to go to the hospital to check my feet. Everything alright though!

Also during this 5th day, along the way, Diarmuid (one of the Irish boys) gave me a stick that he found in the nature and it really helped me, but arriving to the shelter Alejandro (one of the experienced pilgrims that we met the day before) told me that the stick wasn’t good enough and that it would eventually hurt my hands. He advised me to get rid of it and promised to get and sculpt a new one for me.