I walked into Santiago de Compostela, the same way that thousands of pilgrims have done before me. The biggest surprise was being there so quickly on the day I arrived. We walked through Monte del Gozo, only stopping for lunch, and continued down into the city. We had made plans to meet with another pilgrim and they had sent us a text message telling us where they were staying.
Walking across the bridge there was a city limits sign saying Santiago. We were there! No drum roll no fanfair, just a sign saying Santiago. But a few kilometers still to go.
We dumped our rucksacks at the Albergue and went down town for drinks and as it happened meet others that we had talked to along the way.
Church the next day. As I have said I am not religious however having come this far, because of past pilgrims and St James, I was going to the service at the Cathedral. It was full of tourist and pilgrims and did not really touch me. I had come to the end of something and was a bit lost as to what was next.
For some, next is walking another three or four days to Finisterre, but then…it is just the same, the end of the world and one has to turn back and return to something or someplace. I was in no hurry to rush back and was fortunate that I had time, so I wandered back to another life slowly.
I missed the peace of the long quiet days on the mesita, missed even the rain of Galica. Being back in cities no longer seemed to suit me, and has me wondering about my city life since then. But now comes the real challenge, to keep what I got. How would I be able to do that? I did not know at first. The memories would never leave me I was sure, but I wanted more, still though uncertain of what that was or would be.
Then I found it. It was a surprise, when I found it I did not know that it was the same as what I had had. An old guy I knew in Prague told me about meditation one day, when I was back once again getting very concerned about the future. I started it – slowly, and did not find it easy either. But it hit me one day – this is the same as walking the Camino. The meditation was all about keeping me in today and not worrying about the future. The camino kept me in the day, just taking each day one step at a time and not worrying about anything, the worries had all slipped away during the first week along with the constant mental noise that I had become used to. Is this where it was all to lead me? I don’t know – but it is a good place to be.
I am re-organizing the site and this was part of another page that has been split, deleted, moved and re-written – it was a long page. Anyway reading it now makes me feel how sad I was after I finished the Camino. That took a while to go away.
I love hiking. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.