Melanie has been reflecting on the Camino as we walked these last few kilometres. Her thoughts:
The first week was a toss up between “difficult” and “am I really up for this”? How quickly you forget that on a Camino, you walk six, eight or even ten hours each day. The days are cold, colder, windy, windier, wet, wetter, hot and even hotter.
But, regardless, I had the experience of a lifetime. My all too organised husband, Michael, did all the logistics and laundry, waited while I struggled with steep mountain climbs and rocky terrain and ensured I had my two coffees a day. I bless the day I met him.
It was such a delight to walk each day on an equal footing with each pilgrim. Our joys are basic: taking our shoes off at the end of the day, a warm shower, a meal with friends and a nice drink to relax.
What is significant in a pilgrimage is that there is no class standing. We are all equal and, in some ways, we are all walking toward a common goal. We realise along the way that the destination is really secondary to the wealth found during this journey.
We experience joy in each day’s gifts. The joy of waking up to a cold morning, the delight in seeing your breath as you walk in the majesty of nature: the trees, wild flowers, the ever changing sky, mountains, the unique aromas (you breathe deeply knowing a herd of cows has left not only footprints), the sounds of farms in action, the gentle breeze, the tempestuous wind and the rain in Spain. Always, the rain in Spain. As I walk, I unconsciously realise that I have become my favourite order of pizza, “one with everything”. I make a mental note to myself: I am a pilgrim.
Before signing off, I also need to mention the special people of Spain, our hosts now for three and a half Caminoes. The people who took care of us along the way, the bar men, the hospitaleros, the waitresses, the receptionists in hotels, the pensión owners, etc., even the people we met on the streets or in the farmlands and mountains, have all been so loving, caring, gentle and sweet.
Finally, you all should know that Michael and I have larger families than we did five weeks ago. When we walk, we meet people of all ages, from all parts of the world. Some we see only once in passing. Others we may see every day for a few a week or two. Then there are those who we really connect with who become part of our family. All of these people are special to us. Even most of the bicyclists these past two days.
Thank you for sharing our journey through Michael’s mammoth project of updating his blog. You cannot imagine how nice it was to connect through the many “likes” and to hear your voice in each comment. God Bless or as they say so beautifully in this country, “Vaya con Dios” (Go with God).
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