Day 29: Hit the 100km (60 miles) to go mark today!!! I don’t want it to end. First thing this morning I saw John. I was starting to think he was a fake and didn’t exist. He is in my Camino Facebook group and started the day before me and we were in the same area. I finally found him. I taught him my recently slowed down way of stopping in every village for a drink or food, talking to anyone that would listen, and being in no rush to end the day walking. I think he enjoyed the slowed pace because he has some tendinitis in his foot. When we arrived in the village we went for a “drink and think” as he put it. Also had a pizza which we were sure they went to Italy to get because they were so slow but when it arrived it was not even close to Italian. In my opinion, it was better! The cheese was crunchy and the crust was done which I love. But what kind of judge am I? It was worth the wait. We found our albergue, did our pilgrim chores. Went for a drink, which I am still on the hunt for Sikkim gin, and had a chat with a few other pilgrims. I then showed John the power of the instant foods. We weren’t really super hungry so I went for the ramen (of course) and John for the rice. Simple and small. Here it is 8pm and I am already hanging in bed for some down time. I am really loving my days recently and can now see why people enjoy the Camino. Today was my second day without taking any medicine for pain and my body feels strong and healthy. Finally!!! I started a new book which I will lay here and listen to called The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown. It was recommended to me by Eric. Amazing. Please take the time and listen to this TED talk by her. “Connection is why we are here…..This is what it is all about.” These words are so true and the Camino is a lovely place for connections.
Time: 6 hours
Money spent: 43
Day 30: Another day done. I found signs along the path from the wolfpack. Walked again with John which is fun. The weather is nice and got a bit of a burn on my arms. Day started off foggy but once it lifted, it was beautiful. Since we are towards the end, we get the tour groups doing this for a few days. We saw a girl in a bikini top swatting the bugs with her shirt. Also, a group of three were doing airplanes with their arms down the hill. Most are having their suitcases shipped forward. Entertainment is going strong on the Camino at this point. We also find a bunch of people racing to the end because they are running out of time. My plan is still to finish Monday. Today my Achilles acted up at the end. Still no meds but I could tell it was tired. Getting closer…
Time: 8 hours
Money spent: 33 euro
Day 31: Walking the Camino. More. Today went walk fast, get to lunch, drink, stumble home. Not sure in what order but that is what happened. Started out at a good pace till we got to lunch where it was octopus and peppers. YUMMY!!!!You can tell that everyone walking for so long is in the spirit of good times. Met up with a bunch of others as crazy as me but they were only on their 3rd bottle of wine. A few hours spent at lunch is normal. Right? Today the first that I peed outside. After 3 beers for lunch, I couldn’t wait till the next place. Ohh the Camino life has provided me with plenty of toilet paper. We walked on and arrived at the alburgue I was told by the wolfpack I would love. They were right. Right on the river. People I have been walking with for weeks. What is not to love? We arrived back at 9:30 and a “new pilgrim” came to me and asked for some others that we be quiet. I was talking to 2 Germans and a Scottish person at the time. Ohh… Bless your heart…. Haha I know. The struggle is real. You have been walking 50 miles and your feet hurt😂. The moment I should have empathy and I don’t. I am here to enjoy my few days left. You’re welcome tourpilgrim. Sweet dreams.- From the Taxas Lady
Time: 8.5 (far too long but so much fun)
Money: 42 euro
Day 32: Last day before the finish line!! Tomorrow I will end my journey. Today, was fantastic. I took my time walking stopping whenever I wanted and talking to anyone that would listen. Tried a dark craft beer from an amazing Spanish guy. On the beer you write the date, name, location and a wish. So that is what I did. He then takes the bottles and makes a Christmas tree with candles every year. I met up with Ashley for dinner after seeing Aunt Sue today. This is the Canadians I spoke about a few weeks ago. Also met a Spanish couple in our alburgue who went out with us. Being in Spain I expected to meet more but most don’t speak English. John is still walking with me and enjoying the slow pace and stops. He jokes that we are the last one to leave in the morning and last to arrive at night because we take our time and chat. We saw a horse on the trail. There are 3 ways to do the Camino. Walking, biking, horse. So this was my first time seeing the horse on the trail. Tomorrow I will cross the finish line. Bittersweet moments to come. Life, Love, Happiness is my wish….
Time: 8 hours
Money spent: 44 euro
Day 33: Done.🏆 Crossed the finish line and basically ran the whole way today. Met up with Philipp and Ramon and it was an amazing reunion. Back together for the night. 😍 Of course you can see many of the friends along the way from the pics that also finished today. The sense of accomplishment is going strong for me. I was known as the American girl with the biggest blisters and was popular along the route. The amazing times and friends that I made are the best part about this trip. I will write more later. Time for a celebration!!!
Distance: 13 miles +
Time: 3.5 hours
Money: 104 euro
Ending: Today my Camino journey ends in Porto, Portugal. Wonderful city to explore. Very beautiful. Tomorrow morning I head home to Italy. It is bittersweet. The people I met along ‘the way’ are incredible. The journey was the hardest things I have physically done. I calculated my miles and it was 517.5 total.
I knew the weather could be bad, but I hadn’t expected how bad day one. It came in the form of snow up to my knees and obscured the forest path before me. I pushed forward, hugging my thin coat wishing someone would come rescue me off the side of the mountain. I followed ‘the way’ in which lead me: the small yellow arrows. Completely alone in the landscape, I pushed on.
I arrived unharmed and woke up the next day with a blister. Slapped on a plaster and headed out for my next day. This eventually grew into a number of issues and I found it difficult to walk. My surroundings were breathtaking but I could only think of the pain in my feet. This went on for weeks.
Fellow pilgrims were sympathetic and so supportive as I described the agony of my blisters. There was only one thing I could do, keep walking. Pushing through physical pain became the norm for me. I wasn’t alone in this and so many amazing people kept me going.
Life was simple on the Camino. Walk, eat, drink, shower, sleep. Rinse and repeat. Somewhere, probably about 3 weeks in, my heart was overwhelmed by the experience and the people I had met. I embraced the journey, once through the pain and took my time and slowed down. Two words: simplicity & kindness. The Camino has forever changed me.
It is over. I have done it. When I received my compostela, my sense of accomplishment was so great but it was mixed with a sadness. The simplicity and people I had met would soon be gone.
However, seeing the yellow arrows in Porto on my last few days remind me…. It is about following the yellow arrows in everyday life by following my instincts and heart. These signs will lead me exactly where I need to be. It won’t be easy and there will be pain but the people and the journey are worth it.