Your Stories, Your Camino – Máire Keane
I have received quite a few e-mails from readers wanting to write a few words about their Camino experience. Thank you to everyone who has written or is considering writing. I hope to continue this series on a weekly basis. The first post comes from Máire Keane. Máire walked the final 100 kilometres of the Camino Francés from Sarria in June of 2017. It was her first time on the Camino and it seems like she had a really positive experience. Another Camino awaits.
I am a lady of a ‘certain vintage’ and decided to walk part of the Camino on my own in June 2017. Because I was a solo traveller with some health issues I travelled ‘self guided’ using a specialist company. This was a great decision because they planned my route, organised my accommodation and luggage transfers, and were available for additional support should the need arise – thankfully it didn’t.
My Camino experience was extremely positive but I would advise someone starting to plan a Camino adventure to train – the whole experience is way more enjoyable when your feet are happy and your legs are tired but able. I met some sorry pilgrims with blisters, with a calf strain, with pulled hamstrings….. I suffered nothing worse than a few insect bites.
I have great memories from my week in Galicia – great views, early mornings, good food, laughs, stories, paddling in the stream, headspace, digital detox, a lightening of the mental load, farms, lemon flavoured Aquarius, lanes, coffee, forests, towns, churches, prayers, aging stoners recapturing their youth, nuns, rockers, bell-bottom trousers, bikini tops – the Camino Francés had it all.
No negatives at all although on my next Camino I will plan more myself (now that I know the ropes) and will probably book on a b&b basis rather than half-board.
I did feel a bit of an anti-climax on reaching the square in front of the Cathedral in Santiago – the square was almost empty and there was scaffolding in front of the Cathedral. I think I must have had ‘St. Peter’s Square’ in Rome in my subconscious but thankfully some new friends I had made on the way met me and ramped up the excitement. The pilgrim mass at 12 was a highlight, not solely because of the religious aspect but also the community feeling of having completed a journey together yet apart