My Way

I’ve lived a life that’s full.
I’ve traveled each and every highway; 
And more, much more than this, 
I did it my way.

Paul Anka/Claude François/Jacques Revaux/Frank Sinatra, 1969

I now say … under 20 kilometres left to go. I’ve not given a countdown before – today I think it’s OK to do so.

Camino Day 32, Domingo 11th Octubre. 762 klms. O Pedrouzo, A Coruña, Galicia, España.

The above lyric often has a funereal meaning and feel to it, but I am certainly not using it in that sense. Given where I am and what I’ve done I like the multiple meanings I can ascribe to it.

Today marks our penultimate day on the Camino, and I suspect much will change tomorrow as we walk into Santiago de Compostela. In many ways I’m thinking that today is really the last day – certainly the last “normal” day, if I can put it that way. Barring some massive disaster, nothing will stop us reaching our destination tomorrow. It’s less than 20 klms, and I think I’d crawl on all fours to get there in need.

We left Arzúa around 8:30 am, and strolled along at a steady but not particularly rushed pace, and arrived here at Pedrouzo after a couple of recharge stops at a very civilised 2 pm. Even the last 10 minutes or so in the quite heavy rain was not spirit dampening (although it certainly was clothes dampening).

Pedrouzo is a smallish town on the outskirts of Santiago, almost an outer suburb I’d guess. The pensión here is very nice … here’s the view from our room.

As I wandered today my thoughts turned to what I have really enjoyed about this journey, and what I haven’t. (These are fairly immediate/contemporary thoughts – they differ from a notion of “what have I learned?”, which, if at all, will likely come later. They are also likely to be dynamic lists – I imagine that I will add/delete/modify over coming days and weeks.) So here goes …

I’ve really enjoyed/am pleased about:

. this time spent with Janet. We spend a lot of time together normally, but for the last 5 weeks have almost never been out of each other’s sights. We’ve chatted about all sorts of things in a way I’m not sure we always do at home. There’s hardly been a cross or impatient word, and on the couple of occasions there has, it’s invariably been at the end of a long hard day, when physical and emotional reserves are at their lowest
. that my legs/body made it. I was quite worried back on the other side of León (doesn’t that just seem so so long ago), and now here we are. Periodically tired (rest days are good) but probably fitter them I’ve ever been. Walking 25 klms seems “normal” … day after day
. that Janet too made it. I never doubted she would and this has been a tough and challenging undertaking, for both of us
. the hugely varying countryside. I don’t think there’s any I haven’t found some beauty in. I’m looking forward to seeing my photos properly on the big monitor. I have often read about the “boring” and flat Meseta – as I’ve mentioned previously I found a beauty there as I have at all other points of our journey
. the Spanish popular culture as we’ve touched it – the food, the wine. I’ve learned a lot about both, and I think will be better informed for the experience
. the iglesias and catedrals we’ve seen along the way. Mostly centuries old, they have a beauty to them rarely seen elsewhere. Some are architecturally astounding. Others simply go some way to help understand an important aspect of Spanish culture
. nearly all the people I’ve met (see for a cross-reference)

There is not a “haven’t enjoyed” list as such. Having said that, I’ve not enjoyed my interactions with people who:

. are insensitive to their fellow travellers through loudness or space invasion. I wonder at each individual level whether that’s through stupidity, arrogance or a lack of awareness. I note that they are in the minority
. travel the Camino by bicycle. In the main they act as if they expect the walkers to defer to them, and since the consequences of not doing so are potentially dire for the walker, their poor behaviour is constantly reinforced. They seem to think that throwing a “Buen Camino” over their shoulders as they speed by makes it all OK. Whilst cyclists are an minority on the Camino, this behaviour has been exhibited by the majority of those I’ve seen.

Finally, to complete today’s post, a few shots from the day.

The sign back before this house said “prepare to be psychologically challenged”. I thought, “there’s not much more which could challenge me now”. The house had dozens of A4 sized posters with thoughts to consider. I’ve included just one below:

Major road project – halted. Economics?

Cat selfie. She was very happy to come and sit on me. Her request

Peregrina cerveza

More Boranup

Directions for the hosses.

The day ended quietly. After the standard check in, shower, rest, we wandered into “town” as much as it is. I suspect that this town, a kilometre or so long strip of accommodation, restaurants and bars is no more than a final staging post for folk like us on there way to Santiago. We caught up with and had dinner with Melie and Kerry, and then a relativity early night before tomorrow’s final walk.

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