September 11, 2018
What an auspicious day! For the world – a tragic memory of the Twin Towers terrorist bombings, and for me, completion of the 500 mile Camino Frances.
I walked in darkness for the first two hours, and then beheld my last Camino sunrise. So many “lasts” that I chose to cherish as I walked throughout this morning. So many… my last predawn trek on the Camino, my last smell of Eucalyptus forests, my last café con leché along “The Way”, my last drop shorts and take a pee enroute (embarrassingly I have become quite proficient at this!), my last Camino cow, sheep, horse, pig, dog, cat, rooster and chicken sightings. Today will be the last time I wander upon cobblestone Camino pathways along side stone and straw buildings – my last day walking beside fellow peregrinos. My last breathing in of fennel and cow manure. The last time I feel sweat dripping down my neck and face and forehead (on this Camino) – the last of guiding yellow arrows, a last countdown of kilometers. I could go on, but I am in tears already so I will not.
Today I traveled 16.4 kilometers (10.19 miles) from Amenal, through San Payo, Lavacolla and Vilamaior to San Marcos where I could see my destination inviting me in. And then it was on to Monte de Gozo with its awesome hilltop vista enticing me further and onward into San Lázaro. I pretty much smiled all day as I navigated into Santiago – until I cried. Oh, sweet sentiment! I appreciate being able to feel emotions and to live in the moment. And today was the day for a myriad of feelings! I wasn’t sure how I would feel, since this is my third time coming into Santiago. It was a different route the first time, but I overlapped much this time with my most recent Camino. As I began to recognize what I was seeing, I was definitely overcome with emotion! At the same time, I was strangely just simply at ease with accomplishing this major goal. I am very proud of myself, and of all of the pilgrims I have met along “The Way” who have undertaken this journey!!
Over the course of this morning, I ran into many of those special souls with whom I have walked these past few weeks and it was such elation to see them!! I remembered to take some pictures this time! I am sorely disappointed that I have not done so prior to today. Oh well-is there a message there…? One day I may be too old to have memories, but in the meantime, I will cherish these!
I walked into Santiago around 10:30 – through the arch and to sweet and haunting bagpipe strains. I waited in line with other peregrinos for about 45 minutes to get my compostela. And, as I made my way out through the square, I jubilantly ran across several of my amigos, and eventually just let myself relax for the day – because not only was it (another) hot one, but it has been one hell of a long month!!