September 12, 2018
Last night I still stopped by the supermercado for groceries to prepare meals – including my dinner of salami, cheese, crackers and olives. I still went to bed early and was awake by 5:30 this morning. I still arose and did the bare-bones get ready bit even though I have my very own shower! Walking 500 miles is considerable, and as of a couple of days ago, I was not sure I would ever enjoy walking again! Ultimately, I have reconsidered and today, (though I am supremely happy to be sin boots) I do believe I will continue to be a Walking Fool to the future!! However, I am giving myself permission to take a few days off! It feels odd, but it feels good! I did meander around a bit – slowly, aimlessly, totally without purpose. Rather than hanging out in the craziness of the Cathedral Square as I intended upon doing, I made my way back to the incoming Camino route in hopes of seeing any members of my peregrino family(ies). I saw the 5 a.m. boys – they acted quite surprised to learn that I had arrived yesterday! I saw my German buddy, whose name I cannot remember and who I have seen off and on since the communal dinner at which I was the only one who spoke English a few weeks back.
I watched folks with good sized backpacks, medium sized backpacks, small backpacks and no backpacks, some of the latter still carrying Camino walking sticks though! The size and variety of hats and walking sticks greatly entertained me! I saw many, many, many, shells as well as pine cones, stuffed animals, hats, boots, sandals, flowers, and even a hydrangea plant hanging off of mochillas (backpacks). I saw pilgrims of all sizes, shapes, and physical condition – some walking fast, some walking slow, some smiling, some grimacing, and many pilgrims taking photos on their final hill down to the Cathedral. A few were limping, many bandaged up, I saw an arm in a sling, and several with mosquito or bedbug bites. I also saw people walking back up the hill, most likely on their way to the nearby bus station. I even saw a group of six following their phone GPS or some app go the wrong way up a hill they would not have had to traverse because it’s all downhill from where I’m standing!
After a couple of hours I became restless. I really thought I’d see more familiar faces. I find myself wondering, where are Spaniard Nicolo and Teddy and Yuki from Japan? I wonder about Australian Daley and his mom, Celia. “Oregon Baseball” (because of his T-shirt) and his girlfriend and Emma and Brandon, also from Australia, the band of German ladies, and David from Germany…? Did they get ahead of me or are they behind me? And where’s Milton? I did see the crazy French guy a few days back, but I quickly looked the other way because he looked frantic and more gypsy like than I was comfortable with. I was feeling quite overwhelmed by so many people, but now that I am remembering their faces I’m feeling sad. It is overcast here in Santiago de Compostela today and it matches my out of sorts mood. I am taken off guard by random tears and sniffling.
And right when I declared myself officially depressed – the sun came out… I’m sure that was meant to be. Nonetheless, I continued to wander aimlessly without connection, without focus. Wow, Wow, Wow…!?! And honestly, I’m kind of speechless.