Memories of an Amazing Adventure
This is the third in a short series about my experiences of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage walk. In 2014, I turned 60, and to celebrate reaching this milestone, while still being fit and active, I decided that the Camino would be a perfect celebration for me. Much better than having a birthday party, as that really isn’t something that I would enjoy.
This year is the five year anniversary of my Camino walk, which began on 1st June and finished on the 7th July. I hope you will enjoy the series, and I particularly hope that anyone contemplating the Camino will find these posts helpful. Buen Camino!
The Mountains again
Finally the Meseta was behind me, and I was heading towards the mountain that I had dreaded since crossing the Pyrenees on day 1. I left very early and it wasn’t long before I seemed to be walking up in the clouds.. What most surprised me was my fitness. I had expected to be tired and have sore knees by the time I reached this section.
But very quickly as I started the 10 kilometre walk up to the tiny mountain top village of O’Cebreiro, I realised that I was much fitter after the past 24 days of walking and my knees had strengthened. I seemed to power up the mountain that day, and I felt very proud of myself when I arrived feeling tired but not exhausted as I had expected.
The scenery and the feeling of walking in the clouds that day was magical. Many pilgrims took the bus up the mountain to avoid the climb. I found myself feeling sorry for them, as they had missed a very special day. I felt that the climb up to O’Cebreiro was reward for the hard work of the past few weeks.
Santiago At Last
On day 31, I walked into Santiago. This is the day that I had built up so much in my mind for two years, as I trained, and also as I started walking in Spain. Santiago is the pinnacle for pilgrims of The Camino de Santiago. This is where we collect our completion certificate and the cathedral is the destination after weeks and weeks of walking. As I walked into the outskirts of Santiago, I felt really flat and my legs felt heavy and tired. I really didn’t enjoy walking that day through many kilometres of industrial areas to get to the centre of Santiago. As I entered the square in front of the cathedral, I did feel very proud and very joyous. I had done it! And better still, I had done it alone!
A Few Photos