I haven’t left you, you’ll be glad to hear.
I can’t believe it’s nearly a month since I last wrote here. Time flies so fast. I keep thinking of writing however. I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year.
I think about my upcoming Camino everyday. Some days I have concerns, some days I feel everything will be ok. I leave for Vigo in just over 100 days with my brother and we make our way to Santiago. That is May, however, and so much has happened in the meantime.
I have been busy assisting with the brand new online e-zine for Camino Society Ireland members. Members should have received instructions on how to view the e-zine yesterday. It is packed with articles and I must thank the contributors for their work. April 2018 and the Celtic Camino Festival is next on the radar. If you wish to subscribe to this new e-zine, you can become a member at www.caminosociety.ie. You get so much more other than the e-zine, just to let you know.
So that explains my short term absence. I will be posting a lot more as the time draws closer to my departure to Spain.
One other thing, I am hoping to meeting the author of The Camino Way: Lessons in Leadership from a Walk Across Spain on Thursday, the 25th. Victor Prince has written an excellent book, and while I have not completed it yet, it is different to your average book on the Camino. It is a combination of a travel guide and an invaluable set of lessons for success in life at home and at work. I’m looking forward to meeting him for a chat.
Well it’s Friday again…where did that week go? I’m still trying to figure that out. Not that I’m complaining or anything! We have a Bank Holiday on Monday here in Ireland so that means an extra day rest and possibly a day’s walking with a full pack. I now have 30 days until I return to Madrid and on to Burgos.
This day last week I was chilling in Limerick on the west coast of Ireland with C & J whom I met on my 2013 Camino. I feel honoured to be still in contact with them and to have them part of my life. They very much live the peregrino way and every time we meet, we talk about our previous Caminos. There are so many good memories. We live in the moment, just like everyone does while walking on the trail. On the Saturday and Sunday, we walked a total of 45 kms despite downpours of rain. They weren’t a pleasent 2 days, but I’m really happy with my rain gear. However, if the weather in Spain remains the same as it is now, I don’t think I will need them!
C & J are returning to walk the full Camino Frances the day I return to Ireland…so I can vicariously follow them as they walk to Santiago and on to the sea. My Camino looks like ending in Astorga but if I feel good and feet hold up, I may make it further..possibly to the Cruz de Ferro. But who’s rushing?! 🙂
We are a a few days past the mid-way point in 2017. Time flies eh? Only a matter of months ago, I was finishing off the turkey and badly singing Christmas carols. Badly.
I like to take stock of the previous few months once in a while and 2017 (so far) has been one to remember. For good and bad reasons. I started off the year with my hand in a cast. I won’t get into how that happened as I’ve gone through that many times in previous posts. I also discovered the Camino Prep Training group on MeetUp.com and that has grown from strength to strength. I have moved from a position where I had very little to do during the weekends to being pretty busy most Saturdays or Sundays. This is a good thing but that may change soon.
I also spent a month in hospital, which seemed like a lifetime, but it also seems like a lifetime ago. That was March, everyone was wearing green and it rained alot. I was in a good place but I needed to get back walking once I returned to normality. On a positive note, I received the keys to my new apartment in April. Excitement kicked in and to this day, I am in the process of decoration. There is a lot to do and there is not alot of time to do it. I hope to be fully moved in before the end of August.
June saw me lend my humble hand to Camino Society Ireland and their Information Centre. Where else can I talk for half a day to future pilgrims about the many ways in Spain? It’s ideal! I’m a peregrino who doesn’t switch off and I look forward to each day I volunteer there. June also saw me walk the Irish stage of the new Celtic Camino from Bray to St. James Church in Dublin. I will be given a certificate and will present this at the pilgrim’s office when I complete my walk from A Coruna. I will receive a compostela then. This is a great new initiative and let’s hope it takes off.
It is now just under 2 months before I walk from Burgos. The meseta is such a vast expansive place and I have always enjoyed walking through it. That said, this “may” be my final time on the Camino Frances for a while as I consider other routes. But I don’t write the future, so who knows!
So that is where I am this year, a lot has happened but the next few months are important too as I focus on a new casa. I may have to lay down my backpack for next year to concentrate on that but a short Celtic Camino is still on the cards.
Onwards we go! Adelante!
I’ll let you into a little secret..
In another lifetime..well, not too long ago, I used to enjoy putting one word after the other to create sentences. From the age of 12 right up to my mid-20’s, I got great enjoyment out of writing and playing guitar on a regular basis. It was a pretty fun thing to do and I was even in a band at one stage. Sure, every 20-something was! It was a rite of passage in life.
However, in time, life got in the way and writing reports and reaching deadlines replaced this little obsession of mine. I have still listened to music all along, but my two guitars are now gathering dust in the corner of my room and my collection of songs are in a box alongside them. I haven’t looked at them in years.
But tonight something happened that hasn’t happened in quite a while. I put pen to paper and wrote eight lines. It’s not much, but it could be the spark. My inspiration? The Camino, walking and its memories.
I’ll probably forget about it tomorrow and leave these few lines lying where they are but this whole thing surprised me. Will I kick on from here? I’d love to. If I can write a part of a song without music I’d be pretty happy. It’s all about being creative I suppose and this is a great way. I had also thought about buying a ukelele before Christmas as it is so easy to learn (plus they only have 4 strings).
“Santiago here I come, right back where I started from!”, we sang.
Yes, we were aware that the above was lifted from the Brian Friel classic play, “Philedephia, here I come!”, but there was a great sense of euphoria and happiness from us as we marched on to Compostela. Today was our last day and whatever niggling pain or blisters we had, it was replaced by relief. The more kilometres that passed by, the more built up the area became, and it wasn’t long before we saw Santiago Cathedral standing tall in front of us.
“Now what?” – we asked.
We giddily waited in line to collect our much-sought-after Compostelas, before catching the swinging of the botufumeiro at midday mass. Our comfortable Camino was over and we were to go home the following day. Some of our merry band were unsure if they would meet the Camino again, however I was secretly plotting my return for the following year. A seed was planted.
All six of us were coming close to the end of our comfortable Caminos. The below pictures were taken while we walked from Arzua to O Pedrouzo, twisting and turning between rural townland and villages. There were more animals spotted than people. There was also a great anticipation to reach Santiago, however, at the same time, we didn’t want this little holiday to end. More photos tomorrow, including some from Santiago.
Today finds our merry band of pampered peregrinos (including myself) stroll from Melide to Arzua. A short 15 km to our end point, however a stop off at Ribadiso for a picnic made the day that bit longer. There we pilgrim-watched as the queue for the xunta grew longer and longer. It was then that I realised that I wanted to walk the Camino carrying my pack and stay in albergues. Maybe, hotels just didn’t suit this 30-something Irishman. Closer we were to Santiago. More photos tomorrow.