Camino 10 - 2014


From 2004 through 2013
I have walked the Camino Frances in its entirety nine times.

Why do I do this? My laconic answer is from Pascal's Pensées "le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît pas/ the heart has its reasons, of which reason knows nothing." Additional philosophic and spiritual reasons are cited in this profile .

The path may have been the same but actual realities varied greatly. Each Camino began with both anticipation and trepidation as I wondered how it would go, yet each pilgrimage developed its own rich mix of friends old and new, fickleness of weather, stamina and health and, of course, philosophical musings and personal thanksgiving for each day lived
and for my life with Bill which enables such a journey. Subsequently providing information about the Camino has become an additional pleasure whether talking on route with another pilgrim or writing alone for an unknown reader

Walking tests my strength; 'slow, but dependable’ could be my motto.
Trusting providence as well as my simple gear, tenacity and ability to
endure I try to take it as it comes enjoying the good and bearing the bad.
Always it is a great pleasure to arrive at a welcoming albergue, sit and
remove my pack, take a HOT shower, chat with other pilgrims and collapse
in clean comfort on a bottom bunk ever thankful for the continued strength
to experience the extraordinary joy of another camino day. Bliss!

Although age and time will eventually take their toll, hopefully my
memories will endure. Physically I may not be able to be there, but
sentimentally I will always wear my pilgrim shell.

Now while there still is light and before circumstance might force me to
stop, hope springs eternal! Thus, thankful, respectful and humble,
but still curious and with an ever eager heart I will walk again the Camino
Frances starting October 14.

At 75 what matters most is to continue.


.....Later in Comments

.......Dorothy wrote..It is so good to hear from you! I had a feeling you would walk again. Blessings as you begin your journey. I will be following along with you.

.......Jan and Chris noted..We will be thinking of you when you set out next week.

.......Laurie remarked.. I had been wondering about your Camino 2014! So glad to see you're heading out again. I will be one of many followers from afar. Have a good journey, and be well. Buen camino, peregrina, abrazos.

.......Kanga said..Joyful news and inspiration! May you lead us forward with courage and determination and be blessed on this journey with peace, beauty and friendship. Plus lots of pleasure - good meals, hot showers and comfortable beds.

.......Clare mentioned..Thanks for inspiring confidence. I'll start just a day behind you and hope to see you en route.

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October 14, 2014

Starting Off

First my thanks to past guests at our b and b, old friends, readers of my blogs and pilgrim Forum members who have kindly sent me good wishes for this my 10th camino. What a thrill it is to set off!
At our local train station when Bill waves goodbye and suddenly I am alone in a new physical and mental space it is always difficult to switch gears. Solo a new adventure then slowly unfolds from home to Paris, to Bayonne, and then into the Pyrenees.
Last evening I took the night sleeper from Paris/ Austerlitz to Bayonne. Since I bought the senior ticket well in advance on line the 30 euros price was great for a voyage of roughly 1000 k. However it was hardly the Orient Express! Five other women plus baggage were squeezed in the cabin but luckily I had requested a bottom bunk. Sleep passed in relative comfort until just before dawn this morning. Suddenly after a loud noise the train stopped. Jolted we all awoke and sat bewildered. Eventually the conductor announced that we had hit a cow and there would be a 'short' delay. One hour and half later the train continued minus the bovine carcass. All passengers missed their connections and, thus, late in this afternoon I have just arrived in Saint Jean Pied de Port; hopefully all further cows this journey will simply be related to the famous Vache qui Rit / the Laughing Cow and all will be safe.

.....Later in Comments

.......Mike Savage wished.. May you have a safe and inspirational journey, I will be with you in spirit.

.......Sriyanta wrote ..You are a source of inspiration and information. Blessings to you Camino Angel. Those who walk with you will be lucky people indeed.

.......John mentioned ..So you have started off with something that went "bump in the night." Hopefully things will go a bit smoother from here on. You do have the most interesting journeys. I shall look forward to following this one. Safe travels and buen camino.

.......Lorrie noted .. I will be following along. I have yet to step out on the Camino but wear my boots and carry my pack to work. I'm with ya in spirit.

.......Susan said ..Hope things go smoothly after that bump & delay. I have caught up with all your blogs and hope to meet you at your place this year before doing my camino in the fall.

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October 17, 2014

Times past, present and future

Whenever I start to walk once again a multitude of camino memories return of places, objects and, of course, people. Over the years I have learned never to assume but always to hope that which was good will still remain so.Happily Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port where I have always begun is still a picturesque Basque mountain town in the French Pyrenees and the volunteers who maintain the Pilgrim office of the Amis du Chemin de St Jacques are as ever most welcoming.

However at the municipal albergue which is always my first night stop Mme Jeannine, who served for so many years as the tireless hospitalera, has now retired. For me the absence of her presence was most poignant and her caring kindness so well remembered. How lucky I was to have met her in her prime!

Another unchanging continuity was yesterday's long hard 5 hour slog up the Valcarlos alternate route to Roncesvalles monastery. As always exhausting and seemingly endless even starting predawn and walking through mist by starlight didn't make it easy. I was so pooped last night that I wondered if I could ever get off the bunk to continue!! Yet in the new morning's light after fresh squeezed orange juice (at times better than champagne) going downhill was easy and my confidence while walking this sunlit trail returned.

.....Later in Comments

.......John wrote..Glad to hear you are over the mountains without any serious issues. Yes, fatigued, and well earned, but you are still strong and the trail beckons. Good luck in the weeks ahead.

.......Wayfarer said..You are an inspiration to us all. Long may you walk the Way.

.......Norelle mentioned..How wonderful that you will walk the camino again. I will be following your blog as I find your postings so inspirational and insightful! buen camino!

.......Getting there remarked..So pleased to hear you are setting off again on your 10th Camino! I always look forward to reading your posts and have gained so much information and inspiration from the experience you have shared. Buen Camino!!

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October 20, 2014

Pleasure in a garden

Close to major towns sunny weekends on the camino can be hectic due to pelotons of young slim local cyclists speeding along followed by panting elders trying to regain their earlier shape. The downhill stretch from Roncesvalles monastery towards Zubiri and westward to Pamplona was especially hectic in the sun and heat of these recent days and each crossing with the N135 parallel road most chaotic with Sunday drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and walkers trying to make their separate ways!

Thus yesterday it was with exhausted pleasure to cross the ancient stone foot bridge and FINALLY reach the albergue at Trinidad de Arre. The Marist father who greeted me was, as always, gracious and offered a most refreshing glass of cold water as he stamped the Credencìal. After showering I sat alone for much of the afternoon drinking tea in their simple timeless monastery garden. While wondering how it might have appeared during the past I watched the shadows lengthen and the first stars appear ever thankful to be at peace in such a pleasant spot.

.....Later in Comments

.......Randi wrote..Reading your blog is a pleasure to a camino-longing soul. Buen camino!

.......Aussie Red Hat mentioned..So happy to read you will be walking. I have loved following your blogs and feel a little connected having stayed in your Paris apartment. Am really looking forward to your posts.

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October 24, 2014

Getting in the groove

One week ago when I climbed up to Roncesvalles via ValCarlos it seemed complicated to get my pack to fit correctly and much felt unbalanced. Since then all has slowly become 'camino normal'. Nothing is easy yet but happily much is easier than at first. Although the autumn sunshine has been glorious high afternoon temperatures and swarms of gnats have made the end of each day a sweaty slog. Thus it is always a great pleasure to arrive at an albergue, remove my pack and just SIT before taking a welcome and very necessary shower.

After Pamplona hot as blazes going up the Alto de Perdon was difficult as always but it is the slow descent on slippery scree that really takes its toll. Luckily at the top I met a young pilgrim from the Austrian Tyrol who kindly walked down that slope with me offering his arm for support when necessary. He was SO correct that we might have been at the famed Viennese New Year's ball.

After a night spent at the comfortsble private albergue in Uterga where the kind staff greeted me with big smiles and by name yesterday just after dawn I walked the short detour to visit once again the spendid church Sants Maria de Eunate. As always it was a most poignant personal experiance. Weeping when leaving I turned back for one last glimpse of this 1000 year old circular ocher sandstone structure surrounded by amber fields of corn and fennel. Perfection.

.....Later in Comments

.......Glen said..Glad to hear you are settling in ok. I wish I were there.

.......Waveproof wrote..Thank you for taking the time to always blog so that we can catch a few glimpses of that journey. And may your journey continue for many more caminos. Buen camino.

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October 25, 2014

Little things mean a lot

Although I generally walk alone I am rarely ever lonely. Much time is spent randomly thinking; sometimes very practical thoughts such as 'must be on guard for rough roots crossing this section' and sometimes quite philosophic such as 'might I always remember the splendor of this sunrise'. Of course, it is always a pleasure to greet others either saying buen camino to fellow walkers or waving to distant farmers readying their fields for winter. These may be simple gestures but shared they help make us human.

West from Estella this morning grew several lush beds of giant salsify and ripe tomatoes. How tasty they looked in the golden sunlight. Imagine my delight when I asked about lunch possibilities the friendly hospitalero in the new Villamayor de Monjardin private albergue offered me this splendid tomato still warm with sun from his father's nearby fields. This simple kindness meant a lot to me and that tomato when cut and drizzled with fresh olive oil was MOST delicious.

.....Later in Comments

.......Bill wrote..Great shot! Great red! I love the close up.

.......John remarked..Sounds as though you are settling into your camino stride and are enjoying it. Quiet footfalls and natural splendor coming together as a healing balm for whatever aches we carry is both a comforting and pastoral thought. BTW, sorry about the gnats.

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October 30, 2014

Always try to stay calm

Any women who goes out knows the often 'pressing problem' of finding a loo which can be particularly complicated when walking the camino. Of course forests are prevalent but not too much screening brush. Hence we all learn to use those facilities which are provided. Unfortunately what is available may not be user friendly or even safe!

A few days ago after a mid morning coffee break in a slick new bar/restaurant/hostal in Torres del Rio where I chatted with a friendly group of French walkers who had spent the night in this up-market spot I went into the ladies toilet which also served as the disabled facility. Motion sensitive lights shone as I entered and the wide heavy door automatically rolled shut without a touch. It also LOCKED in place. Eventually when I attempted to exit the door could neither be budged nor opened. No instructions were visible describing HOW to turn what in order to get out. Panic!! I loudly banged and yelled for help. Luckily after a few seemingly endless minutes the French clients and not the local staff heard my cries and told me through the door that the security agent was at last on the way. When he arrived he clicked the magic switch and the door rolled smoothly open. All cheered. I was told "No problem Madam, that OFTEN happens with this door" and my coffee would be offered by the house !! Evermore I shall be very wary of sliding doors that may lock.

.....Later in Comments

.......Bill wrote..At least the coffee was free!

.......Claire noted.. Better to stick with the wide open spaces!

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November 1, 2014

Terra cotta and vino tinto

Ever since Logrono the camino is passing through the wine-rich region of Rioja. Although most grapes have been harvested some escapees still remain on the vines perfuming the air. Their leaves are now colored russet and match the deep orange tones of the soil. In the early morning fog all is damp and chilly; autumn has settled in. Following the path this morning as it crossed these gently rolling fields was a true pleasure; tiny stones crunched beneath my feet as a few small birds (quail?) circled above. All seemed timeless and happily easy.

Part of that pleasure was meeting a few fellow pilgrims on the route - two guys from Brazil, one young man from France, a young woman from Barcelona and an older fellow from Alaska. We shared snacks, stories and smiles. Since they all stressed that they prefered small albergues I suggested some of my favorite cozy choices such as Granon and Tosantos for the near future. Eventually after wishing each other Buen camino united in purpose we continued on our separate ways....I wonder where they are now.

.....Later in Comments

.......John stated..You never fail to amaze me. Wishing you safe passage and sufficient light to find the Way.

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November 2, 2014

Do appreciate the roses

Walking I am lucky in so many ways. Both my body and mental tenacity are strong; after all these years I have at least (and at last) learned what for me is possible as well as what should never be attempted. Yesterday's 6 hour climb from Nagera to Santo Domingo de La Calzada was very tiring but not totally exhausting. Nevertheless it was a great relief to arrive at the hospitable albergue of the Cofradia del Santo and obtain a bottom bunk for the night.

As always it was wonderful to take off my pack and boots and just sit on a chair, not a wayside rock or log. Imagine then the surprise and delight of hearing a friendly female voice call out my name and meeting a Camino Forum member!! (At Roncesvalles I had briefly met another but was so tired that any proper chat was beyond me.) What fun it is to meet and greet pilgrims who were prior digital acquaintances.

To both ladies I send in friendship these digital pictures of real roses. Now especially while walking in autumn we should take time to appreciate all 'roses' wherever they might bloom. These particular roses are most special however. Developed by the parks department of the city of Logrono a few years ago they are named Camino de Santiago and widely planted not only in Logrono but elsewhere along the pilgrim path. In fact I should like to plant some on our French hillside overlooking the Marne.

.....Later in Comments

.......Claire said..I was the person you met in Roncesvalles. Thank you for the digital rose! I had to stop my camino this year at Sahagun but maybe I'll see you again next year.

.......K wrote..Glad to hear that all continues to go well. Enjoy the roses and the pleasant weather. Just keeping an eye on you from afar. Good luck.

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November 8, 2014

Moving along

This has been a busy week with much transition on my camino. Walking into Santo Domingo last Saturday was VERY hot and now one week later leaving Burgos it is COLD and I am so glad to have (and be wearing) my trusty thermals. Never would I walk in autumn or winter without them.

Nor would I ever not stop at the Granon parish albergue. Once again I have experienced special happiness and extraordinary caritas while being there. We 22 pilgrims shared our ideas while each offered personal thanks for the joy of being on his way. None will ever forget the special candlelit moments when the gracious priest and a young Korean pilgrim sang a melodious duet in praise of the Virgin Mary. What delicate beautiful sound it was to conclude a memorable evening of fellowship.

Another pleasure of the week has been meeting by chance other pilgrims with whom by now I have shared laughter, tears, memories and hopes as we walked the long miles together. It is always fun to learn what discoveries others have made and, in turn to revisit some special 'finds' of my own. Thus this morning before leaving Burgos I went back to the cathedral museum especially to re-see (and share with a new camino friend) one of my favorite 15th century representations of Saint James. Small, about 30cm tall, in gold plate with intricate curly beard and hair, wearing his wide brimmed hat and iconic shells he holds a pilgrim's staff complete with water gourd. Perfect.

.....Later in Comments

.......John noted..Many special moments to fill your heart with joy. Caritas at work.

......Bill remarked..Nice photo shot through the glass case!Great highlights!

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November 10, 2014

Into the void

Once I leave busy Burgos and start to climb up and across the meseta at Rabe des Calzadas the camino seems to enter another world. Thankfully past are the hoards of camera-clicking tourists and/or pilgrims as well as the urban atmosphere with a bar at every corner. Now at last open space prevails again with wide and distant views. All has been reduced to simple basics; I am alone on a seemingly endless gravel path beneath the vast dome of an immense sky. The only sound is the companionable crunch of my boots and perhaps distant birdsong. Crossing this wilderness landscape I always 'expect' to see Saint Jerome, but hopefuĺly without any lion!!

Nevertheless all is never perfect. Mud can prevail. Yesterday's stretch into the village of Hontanas crossed 11 k of thick mud. What a heavy slippery trudge!! Thus it was with GREAT relief to set out walking towards Castrojerez this morning in a cold (0 degree Celcius) fog-hidden void. It may have been frosty and impossible to see clearly but happily the mud was frozen.

.....Later in Comments

.......BH stated..I have read all of your camino walks and love your descriptions and photos. When you post there is always an elegance of thought; I will continue to look for more posts and enjoy them

......Waveproof mentioned.. Thank you for taking the time to blog so that we can always catch a few glimpses of your journey. And may your journey continue for many more caminos. Buen camino.

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November 15, 2014

More mud

For the past few days the weather has been dreadful. Skies are grey and heavy with rain while the ocher landscape is thoroughly soaked. Puddles are everywhere, but pilgrims are few. Nor are the weekend pelotons out since this is hardly weather for easy biking.

For those who 'want to think things out' this IS the perfect moment. Few distractions impede your thought while the cold drip of rainwater on your face and the puddle-hidden path help keep you focussed. You continue walking because you must in order to get warm, to have a meal or eventually to find a bunk for the night. Thus those cold wet kilometers are passed and today I crossed that meaningful but unmarked halfway 'point' betwen St Jean Pied de Port and Santiago. Only 440 k more to go which hopefully will be brightened by some welcome sunshine.

The highlight of today's wet trudge was a happy lunch at the Casa Barrunta in San Nicolas de Real Camino. When I stop here the staff always act as if I were a most regular customer. An eclectic mix of varied momentos provides the ambiance (old radios, photos from Indonesia, etc.) while the food is most delicious. I enjoyed potato and cod soup, squid with salad, coffee flavored pudding, a large glass of excellent vino tinto plus an expresso; total price 10 euros. What a wonderful bargain and truly the bright spot in an otherwise grey day.

.....Later in Comments

.......Richo wrote..Your footsteps in the mud are echoing from mine of several weeks ago, Margaret. Keep up the posts - enjoying them immensely.

......Laurie remarked.. As always, Margaret, I love your little snippets. They always bring me back to a similar experience. The camino is so individual but so universal, I guess. Looking forward to your next installment.

......Lise said.. Just caught up on the past few days of writing on your blog. I am so grateful that you are able to share your thoughts!!

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November 21, 2014

Albergue ambience

Last Sunday I trudged on from Sahagun to El Burgo Ranero. It was COLD, bleak and solitary. During 5 hours only a handful of pilgrims passed by but all were battling the incessant wind and rain. With great relief I finally arrived at the simple adobe albergue and met the friendly hospitalera named Alicia "like Alice in Wonderland!" as she said.

Wonderland indeed! Alice who had just arrived herself would be resident hospitalera for the next two weeks but already had an open fire warming the downstairs common room (there was no other heat) and her lunch was cooking in the kitchen. One other soaked cold pilgrim, Carlos from Madrid, came in. Since it was Sunday and both bars and the village shop apparently closed Alice immediately set the table for three and graciously invited us both to share her meal. Thus the delicious HOT rice, vegs and salad was stretched with his cheese and my biscuits and bananas. In the spirit of Wonderland we all drank several steaming mugs of HOT sugared tea. Alice enjoyed recounting her many camino memories while serving as hospitalera. I sensed that wherever she might be it would quickly be her 'home'; across the years the camino had become her way of life.

Monday at dawn the rain had ceased and the pale blue sky was luminous with that special glow of an early medieval painting; at last the day was perfect for walking! I walked on to Mansilla de las Mulas east of Leon where in the municipal albergue another special hospitalera, Laura, has served for many years; now she and her father manage the place together. Over time much space has been re-purposed; what was a shower is storage, new showers are now on the patio and a tiny entry level dorm has become the supplementary dining area. Many potted plants brighten the interior and electric heaters provide warmth these cold nights. Most pilgrims cook and congregate in the comfortable kitchen where Laura offers a multitude of advice on shops, routes or blister care, etc. She greets each pilgrim personally and always gives me a big hug remembering my name and earlier visits.

Thus in both these albergues outgoing gracious women each in her distinctive way have created 'pilgrim homes' with much ambiance and soul. All who stop are richer for the experience.

.....Later in Comments

......John noted.. And you have added to that richness, Margaret.

......Susan G remarked.. What a lovely post! You exemplify true pilgrim gratitude. Hope to meet you next summer.

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November 26, 2014

Dreams and detours

It is always a joy for me to be in the mountains and thus the long stretch between Leon and the Galician border is one of my camino favorites. Before Astorga it was great fun to stop once again at David's Casa de los Dioses; the weather was clear and David SO happy to tell me about the various pilgrims that earlier I had suggested stop and talk with him. Furthermore he was excited to show the new changes to his big barn; slowly his long dream of a pilgrim meeting place within a forest locale is coming true as his selfless goodness spreads.

One of my dreams these past years while walking this stretch was to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site, Las Medulas, near Ponferrada.This is a unique area of Roman gold mines marked by most distinctive channels, caves and giant cones of bright orange rock. After learning that the Camino Inverno route passed these mines I rather casually decided to make the detour this year. Imagine my delight when pausing at Foncebadon for tea I met a woman pilgrim who works in Indonesia and who agreed to also make the detour! At El Acebo as dense fog rolled in we stopped at the simple Meson bar/albergue when I often stay. Worried about how to easily and safely see as much of the Medulas area as possible we were delighted to learn of the guide/taxi services of a local man who next day met us at Campo, hosted us in his 15th century hacienda and drove us far and wide throughout this almost surreal landscape. What a day and what a detour!

.....Later in Comments

......John wrote.. So glad you made the detour and had such a wonderful experience. May your blessings continue to abound.

......Bill remarked.. What a landscape! Great photo!!

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November 30, 2014

The weight of history

Most pilgrims who follow the camino sense the past as we tread where the saints have trod pondering how many feet have walked across the centuries. For me this sensation is most prevalent in the silence of the mountains. Nevertheless the camino remains vibrantly alive with contemporary life. Hence one walks with memory but ever conscious of present realities of weather, hunger, pain or exaltation.

Such was the many leveled mix a few days ago at the mystic and mythic mountain hamlet of O Cebreiro. All was wrapped in fog and heavy rain. The church interior as always was calm and immaculate. I paused at the grave of Elias Valina Sampedro the local priest well known for much historic camino research and for painting the first yellow arrows late last century which we all so dilligently follow; later I ate in the small cafe owned by his relatives.

Few pilgrims walked by; that night we were only four in the refurbished and well-heated municipal albergue. On the wall was a small poster noting a lecture series to commemorate the 25th anniversay this December of the death of Elias Valina Sampedro; in fact a lecture would be held next day in nearby Samos. ...Thus time passes but memories both personal and collective remain; history continues as long as we remember.

To read/see more of this most special place, its legends and history click my Camino Gazetteer link to the left and once it loads click O Cebreiro

.....Later in Comments

......Bill noted.. Atmosphere! Atmosphere! Love the fog!!

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December 3, 2014

Galician gems

Generally I prefer small albergues which seem to be more cosy and personal compared to large places with many beds. One of the best consistent bargains is the 6 euro price for a bunk in any Xunta of Galicia albergue; clean, HEATED in winter and often in well refurbished older buildings they offer good value. Often I have been the only pilgrim in such a spot which can be rather daunting and even spooky in the middle of the night when the pipes start to clank but simple privacy on the camino is always a pleasure since there is no need to wait for hot water or stand in line for the loo when alone.

For me the most complex action in any albergue is getting dressed after a shower when you and the cramped shower stall are still damp yet you need to precariously balance ostrich-like on one leg whilst pulling on your 'clean' (cleaner?) clothes and avoiding the inevitable puddles. What a relief to get those ablutions finished and finally to relax on the bunk.

After more than 450 cumulative nights spent in pilgrim albergues over 10 years I've learned a bit about choosing a bunk. Since I'm old a bottom bunk is a most convenient and in this internet age it is handy to have an electric socket close by. In cold weather never choose a bunk placed against an exterior wall since such old walls are often uninsulated and thus frigid. Try not to take a bunk set side by side with another unless you truly know your bunk-mate; if you are sleeping next to a total stranger do at least introduce yourself! Generally it all works out as everyone sleeps in their own allotted space like peas in a pod. Nevertheless a few unhappy times I have had to find another bunk in the middle of the night due to a consistently overactive neighboring pilgrim who forgot where he was as he zealously thrashed into 'my' space. Although memorable these were not restful moments...Now for a siesta in delicious solitude.

.....Later in Comments

......TheatreGal wrote.. I just read your latest blog post and as always, so enjoyed your words. Wishing you fair weather ahead as you finish your journey. Buen Camino!

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December 8, 2014

At last Santiago!

Yesterday my 10th camino came to its end as I walked the last 20 k through the wood and up the timeless hill to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. Ouf! Happily the light lasted and after 56 days of walking always carrying my full pack I arrived weary yet thrilled and sincerely thankful to be here at last!!

For me as always this has actually been three concurrent journeys - looking back into historic time at the cultural heritage along this beloved pilgrimage route, traversing on foot contemporary northern Spain east to west, and a deeper discovery of myself. Walking alone has required constant adaptation to changing weather and varied terrain while at times overcoming irrational (?) fears of crossing high bridges or descending slippery scree as I have relearned the importance of personal tenacity and endurance. Those long slogs up the Ibaneta pass or into the cities of Burgos and Leon seemed endless. However I did arrive pooped, but walking upright and always carrying my full pack. On a happier note serendipity has brought much daily joy such as the magic of sunlight within a silent wood or the joy of meeting old friends and making new along the way. Most importantly I have relearned the necessity for sincerity in all our interactions and been privileged to experience the overwhelming power of true caritas, that special spirit of unconditional selfless love towards others as offered by some to many along the camino.

All of us who walk to Santiago whatever our reasons or beliefs must share similar quickened emotions upon arrival; mine are a complex mix of euphoria and sadness. The weight of history here is so great with the accumulated layers of centuries, both visible and invisible. One can see much and also feel or imagine even more such as hoards of past pilgrims following the same timeless route towards the cathedral throughout the centuries. When at last I arrived it was at the simple northeast corner. As always I put my hand on the ancient stone wall and weeping offered silent thanks for all that has been which enabled my camino.

This camino has been another incomparable adventure; I loved it all! As time goes by and takes its toll may I always remember these precious days. Wherever I might be I shall forever 'wear' a pilgrim shell and 'search for arrows' marking the path ahead....

Thanks for sharing my memories and for all your good wishes and kind comments!


.....Later in Comments

......Bill wrote.. As always Felicitations for another walk well done!!

......Helen remarked..Massive congratulations! You are amazing ! So lovely to meet you in Santo Domingo, and follow your journey on your blog.

......Dorothy stated..I am thankful that you have arrived safely and for the warmth, shelter, friendship beauty and solitude you have found along the way. Rejoice in your sense of accomplishment and enjoy your much needed time to rest. You are in my thoughts.

......Randi mentioned..It has been a joy to read your blog along the way! I would like very much meeting you on a future winter camino.

......Kathryn noted..So wonderful to know you have made it safely to Santiago. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and joy in being on the Camino!

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