Sunday May 13th. It is hard to believe that this is the end of our trip with only two nights left; both revolving around traveling home to Colorado. It has been a wonderful experience and adventure.
I haven’t update this blog since we completed our walk from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago. It’s been about a week since then. The past seven days have been a combination of walking the additional portion of the Camino to the end of the world (Muxia and/or Fisterra) and vacationing by the beautiful Oceanside.
Getting to our ultimate destination turned out to be very special for me. We walked in a small pack of beautiful souls including Colin, his brother Mike, our Australian newlywed friends (Simon and Monique) and our new Camino brother, Enrique. As we walked this last pilgrimage from Santiago to the ocean we talked, laughed, acquired blisters and stopped at nearly every cafe/bar we passed. There weren’t many of those along this route since it was much quieter than the other parts of the Camino, but enough to give us some time to take it slowly.
It was a beautiful walk and one of my favorites along our entire pilgrimage route.
This last pilgrimage takes most people three to four days to walk. We decided to take it slow- “the Spanish way”. I don’t mean walking a slow pace like I do. The others would have been happy if I could keep up with their strides (which I couldn’t). If I was able to do that we could have gotten to the cafes, bars and albergues faster. The Spanish way seemed more to involve having several snacks and cañas (small beers) during the day as we walked. This actually only slowed me down more but it was fun and maybe others were happier as we inched our way to each albergue at the end of the day.
Since this was Mike’s first experience on the Camino, and he had limited time, we asked him to decide whether we went to Muxia or Fisterra or both. Each town is equidistant (approx 89 KM) from Santiago. Most people tend to go to Fisterra and we weren’t sure we would have time to walk to both. The others were planning to head to Muxia first and then to Fisterra.
For the first two days of this Camino both routes share the same path. But on the third day you come to a place where you need to choose your next steps. This may not sound like a big choice but when you are walking on the Camino you tend to enjoy being in a space where you really don’t need to invest too much mental energy on worrying or thinking about options. For me that feeling of just “being” and going with the flow was one of the greatest parts of the walk and something that I will try my best to keep with me when I get home. But as we hit that fork in the road, I mean at the very last second, Mike decided to head towards Muxia with the rest of our Camino family – giving us another couple of nights together.
Somewhere midway through our fourth and final day on this Camino to Muxia
I decided that I would make this my last day of walking. It was a beautiful day and only about a 20 km walk – 12 miles. If I chose to walk one more day, all the way to Fisterra, tomorrow’s walk would be approx 30KM (that’s 6 more miles than today). After forty one days of walking and carrying my backpack with only a couple of rest days (wow, hard to believe) my body was very tired and pleaded with me to consider resting. I was teetering on the edge between being very happy and content and completely shattered. I embraced the thought that this would be my last day walking the Camino and decided to take the bus the next day to Fisterra. As soon as I said this out loud I felt instantly that it was the way it should be and that it was a great decision for me. I would have been happy enough to take the bus alone and join the others in the evening after their walk, but Colin and Mike also felt this bus ride would be a good way to end their journeys. This way Mike got to spend a day in Fisterra before heading back to Malaga on Friday, rather than walking all day and leaving the next morning. If asked, I am sure the guys would admit that they were very happy to enjoy the day at the ocean eating seafood and listening to the waves.
So Wednesday May 9th turned out to be a perfect day for my last long walk on this Camino. It was also my birthday, by chance, and Muxia seemed like the most beautiful spot we could have landed to celebrate it in style. Our troupe of six were all enthralled by the view from our albergue’s balcony and astonished that we only paid €13.
The next day we said goodbye to the others. We took a nice bus ride and the three of us spent the day together in Fisterra. Simon and Monique planned to walk the 30 KM to Fisterra that day and Enrique over the next two.
For Colin and I the next two days in Fisterra were a true vacation. We stayed in a modest hotel room with a private bathroom (pure luxury after bunk beds). We ate nice food and only walked about the typical 10000 steps you may expect to walk leisurely around a tourist town. I even had a very nice massage.
We didn’t manage to reconnect with the newlyweds again in Spain but I am sure we will see them in the future and it is easy to keep in touch these days. We did spend some time at the beach with Enrique. He, Colin and Roger (a Dutch friend who had done the Portugues route) shared some interesting seafood (which included octopus).
I have been typing this blog on the bus back to Santiago as we head there to catch our plane to London tomorrow. The bus is filled with pilgrims who have made it to Fisterra after walking so many variations of the pilgrimage. Some for months, some for days. For many it is not their first Camino and it will not be their last. Some people absorb this into their lives and come back over and over again. Several veteran Camino groupies have told me that inspiration and insight sometimes comes to you once you get home. For now I feel very content. I feel that I got exactly what I would have wanted and what I may have needed from this adventure.
Although Colin and I can imagine traveling this way again in the future we also want to see so many more places and experience different things. Maybe we will decide to try the shorter Portugues route but mostly I will try to keep my ears, eyes and heart open for the next adventure that comes my way. I hope all of you have your own beautiful adventures too.
I will plan to add one more blog post once I have had time to reflect and rest at Bosque base camp.
Wishing you inspiration and courage to travel a path that brings you joy, love and personal growth.