So here I am back in Santiago,waiting for my flight tomorrow having been out to Finnisterra for a few days-walking to Muxia and then back here to Santiago. maybe its the end of my walking for this year or the hills of Galicia have done for me but I found it hard-long 28km days over hills that in my experiance are a lot harder than anything the Camino from st John can throw at you. First there is the 30km walk to Muxia not too bad but you have to ford a river which at this time of year is in full flow with water up to mid thigh,they have started to build a bridge with the pillars in place but this only serves to channel the water into a faster flow,you have to aim your feet a good foot to the right of were you want to plant it,I did it quite gingerly not helped by 3 young Americans skipping across like it was nothing-they even offered to help the old man with his bag. a new rule evendently means you can not book into the Aubergue without one stamp from some cafe half way to Muxia. strong words were spoken as the guy was not going to let me stay-I told him I had forded a chuffing river and had pictures to prove it-he finally relented but said it would not be allowed in the busy summer.I wanted to walk back from Muxia as last year I had walked to finnisterra and wanted to dot the eyes and cross the t,s. I have done this so much across Spain that my way looks like a giant game of noughts and crosses ( tic tac toe). on my walk into Negaria I got lost for the first time this year with nothing left to do but walk the last 8km on a busy main road-walking on the edge of a road facing the speeding traffic is not my idea of fun and not something a sane grown man should be doing and I questioned what the heck I was doing. Stopping at a roadside cafe I watched the pope on the tv just 20km away but I was glad to be where I was,the waitress must have taken pity on this poor pilgrim as I was treated to the largest plate of tapas ever.filled with new energy I made it to Negaria but could not face the last uphill climb out to the Abergue and booked into a hostel in town-I was done for,so much so that I caught a 2 euro bus into Santiago the next morning (Sunday) the best value bus ride ever, exchange a days walk for 2 euros!!
I walked into the Cathedral square whiched still had the remnents of the el papa.s visit,it did nothing for me untill I saw a young woman sat on the floor her head bowed in tears,I asked her if she was ok-she answered yes she was just filled with emotion at what she had done in getting there,she stood up and walked away, her pack nearly as big as herself. this cynical old man sat in her place and reflected at what he himself had achieved in 5 months of walking this year and felt proud and even a little moved myself.
So here I sit,one more night then good old Rynair takes me home and I am ready for a rest and a chance to lick my wounds.I intend to hibernate for the winter,take stock and decide what to do next-something with a little less walking maybe. I have invitations to visit Extreamadurous in the spring-even an invitation to go to Canada and ride on the back of an Harley through Alberta ( giving it serious thought Phil who knows) for the moment I,m happy just to take it easy for a while visit with my 5 children and 4 grandchildren and show off my tan and new lean if not a little stiff body.
Thanks to all who have followed this blog and left such encouraging comments,they gave me strengh when I needed it