Thursday, March 18, 2010

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Friends of the Camino

Back at Home

Leaving Finisterre and starting the way back home was filled with proud feelings to have accomplished a kind of mission and eager to share the experiences with friends and family.

But also I feel a kind of sadness to let go of a life with friends I were connected in a spiritual way of trust and being in a world of magic where things happened to me and to my friends on the camino.
I’m not really back into my so called “normal life”.

Before I leave that kind of twilight zone, I would like to share my present thoughts about my pilgrimage.

When I started this amazing journey in Saint Jean Pied de Port, I saw my Pilgrimage as a kind of sportive challenge in my life and when I was asked, why am I doing this, I replied, because “I’ll prove to myself, that I’m still alive”.

But now, I know that this 800 km sportive challenge has been good for my body, but my Pilgrimage was a big learning process for my soul in a kind of magic and spiritual way for me.

I will remember most of all the people who I call my friends now. We shared joy, we talked about our sorrows, we let run our tears and we were happy in a wonderfully understanding world of friendship.

I learned, as a not religious person, that spirituality is also present in my life.

And the magic things that happened to me on the Camino I can’t believe they just happened by accident.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Finisterre

Yesterday I arrived (by bus) in Finisterre. As soon as I left the bus I was surrounded by the old group. Melitta and Alexander were just starting their return trip. I found a room (tip from Christa who is staying in the next street) in a little inn with a view over the harbour for 15 Euro per night and I have booked it for five nights.

Today I went exploring through town and right away met Toni, who had set out with me from Saint Jean Pied de Port. Tonight we will meet in a bar in the harbour to say goodbye. I constantly meet familiar people and most of them remember my limping and are surprised that I made it here. Well, I had come close to giving up, but I have to thank the “Camino” for making it to the end.

Now I have a real cold and my nose is running. Good that I still have the little bottle of Olbas from Joannes. Sometimes I was tempted to give it away or leave it somewhere.

Finisterre - the End of the Earth - is not really the end of this blog. I will continue to write. So stay tuned!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

End of Journey - June 5 (Day 37): Monte del Gozo to Santiago

Walked 5 km from 6:00 to 7:15

The path went down to Santiago and the emotions were high when I had my picture taken at the “Santiago” city sign. I was the first in the office, collecting my certificate for completing the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. There, too, the mood was great; I recognized many people and they were still congratulating me on my birthday. Then there was the pilgrims mass with 600 to 800 pilgrims in the cathedral and a sea of tearful faces. Nobody was shy and everyone gave way to tears. I saw so many familiar faces, including Alexander and Melitta who I tried to reach for a week so that we could celebrate this event together. At the end of the mass, Maggie greeted me. She was already on her return trip. We will all meet today to say goodbye. I expect this to be very emotional. Now is the question how we have changed, how we see the world and what will daily life bring us in our respective countries. It'’s very strange for me not to walk any more, having arrived at the end of the journey. I have had lots of experiences, mostly within myself, and sharing with others who are on the same journey.

Thanks to those who followed my journey, and thanks for your encouragement.

June 4 (Day 36): Ribadiso to Monte del Gozo

Walked 26 km from 6 to 7:30

Terribly hot. At the first coffee stop, Christa caught up with me and we wanted to catch up with the old group. We took many breaks. 13.5 hours was the longest day on the Camino. Arrived in Monte del Gozo, a giant tourist complex -– we were exhausted. One good thing was that I could do all my laundry and we knew tomorrow would be the big day! We did meet Brigitte in the refugio. I went to bed after ten, feeling numb.

June 3 (Day 35): Palas De Rei to Ribadiso

Walked 25 km from 6:15 to 2:30

Foggy in the morning, then warm and very warm. The landscape here is almost tropical with palm trees in gardens, luscious flowers and trees that remind me of our Arbutus trees. In the morning I walked through a forest with marshes with a loud chorus of frogs. Saw a few slugs which reminded of Bowen and our garden. During the heat of day I walked through cool oak forests. Met Kati from Munich, who has walked with our group before, at a coffee bar at breakfast. When she told me about fleas in one refugio I immediately became itchy. At lunch I met Florence with her flute and then continued walking alone taking many breaks. At the refugio, Christa and Brigitte arrived after me - I was happy that I made it before them. I can walk longer distances, but I am still careful because I don't want to go back to the pain. Later, some people from Köln (Cologne) and Quebec joined us. They all knew about my birthday and we celebrated it with a couple of bottles of red wine. A German minister, Klaus, gave me his birthday blessing.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

June 2 (Day 34): Portomarin to Palas de Rei

Walked 18 km from 9:30 to 2:30

I slept in – the hotel bed was too comfortable – and I missed getting to the meeting point to start the day with the others. I told the people at the hotel that I missed meeting the others because of sleeping in. They gave me some birthday cake and hearing my story, a taxi driver drove me (as a birthday present) about 5 to 6 km to catch up with my friends. I did not meet them and walked alone through the beautiful landscape and small villages. At the kilometer marker of “68 km to Santiago” I waited for somebody to come by to take my picture. After all, it was my 68th birthday!

When I arrived in Palas De Rei, my pilgrim friends congratulated me and I was surprised how they knew. Alexander, Melitta, Christa and Florence placed birthday wishes (giving the time and date) for me at a well. In my attempt to catch up, I walked right past the well and didn’t see the note. Because they mentioned the time, I now can figure our their arrival time. Six of my pilgrim friends have already arrived, as well as Brigitte and Florence. We will all meet at 7 when we will get our pilgrims’ meal. Unfortunately, the refugio is full already and I hope that we will all see each other again somewhere.