Today was our last Wednesday on the Camino.
I still can’t believe that’s true.
Our albergue had heavy curtains to keep out the morning sun. We could have slept in. But someone decided to get up early and go to the bathroom – without turning their alarm off. After 20 minutes of buzzing, we were all up and able to greet our “alarming” fellow peregrino when they got back from the bathroom. We got on the Way earlier than intended as a result of the unexpected wake up call and that had us walking in the dark for a bit.
We did not want to walk in the early morning darkness anymore because we didn’t want to miss anything along the way in the final 65 kilometers of our Camino.
But there we were.
It was a pretty plain walk today. Beauty all around us, for sure, but in the end we walked through about 3 kilometers of industrial development which takes some of the “cool” out of it. In a way, this was a taste of what returning to “normal” was going to be like.
The little toe on my left foot was the source of most of today’s pain. It had me thinking that I might try walking in my sandals the next day just to see if that changed anything. All of my pains are manageable and as long as I keep ahead of it with the vitamin I, all is well.
We came across a café that offered a more “western” breakfast menu with eggs and bacon like we might order at home. It was more expensive than our usual second breakfast but as we close in on Santiago it feels like the time to splurge a little.
Today, as I walked, I noticed that the cold formerly known as “Bill’s cold” was now my cold. A couple nights ago I woke up in the middle of the night to a German pilgrim coughing in my face while they slept about a foot from my bunk. I could feel his cough. So I’ve probably brewed a cold from the collective.
My hair and beard, close cut to begin the walk, are now reaching new levels of shabby. And I’m kind of happy with that. A good way to finish this journey. Another opportunity to kill my ego as hair sprouts from my ears long enough to braid and my eyebrows grow into one.
We visited churches along the way today. Collected stamps and spent time in prayer and reflection. Praying for my friend Carole to be healed, praying for family at home, praying through the Lord’s prayer. It has been a very rich time. When you kneel in a church that has been around for hundreds of years and you are on a stone floor that thousands of knelt on before you it makes an impact that “new” can’t. I wonder if our pre-occupation with newest and latest and freshest in our buildings in America has robbed us of this connection to the saints of old.
I came on this Camino seeking answers. I found most of those answers in the first 10 days. For the last 20 I’ve accumulated more and more questions I may be wrestling with for the rest of my life. As we get nearer Santiago, I thought I would be feeling relief but what I mostly feel is that I already miss the Camino. There are only 3 sleeps left on my list before we are in Santiago. When I write again tomorrow night, there will be only 2. The pain of this journey has been real but it has never diminished the joy.
Tonight we sleep in Melide. Tomorrow we have a short walk to Arzua.