Today is the 4th. July, we are now in Portomarin, just 90k from Santiago. I say we. Three days ago I collected daughter Bernadette together with six companions from an Airport out on the Atlantic coast, at a place called Asturias - but that's the county not the actual city!
This is their 3rd day walking. They have covered just over 60k, and all are in good shape and high spirits.
This morning I shunted their rucksacks forward to this small town and booked them into a private Albergue - 2 rooms, 4 to a room, 9 euros each. A little more expensive than their previous stops, it was 6 euros each yesterday, and I think 7.5 euros prior to that. They have bunk beds, a pillow, separate toilets and showers for male/female, a sitting room area with T.V., a sizeable kitchen and dining area, washing facilities for clothes. It is only recently built and has a Bar/Resturante as part of the complex. Total accommodation I would think around 26, it has one double room ensuite.
I have enjoyed these last few days, although I must admit my feet are itching to get walking, I still have to finish my Camino, and we intend to walk on to Finisterre.
I will walk again on the 8th. and 9th. A total of only 18k, we will leave circa 5k to be walked on Saturday 9th., into the square in Santiago, we will then have time to get our Compostellas, and attend 12.00 mass.
Peter, Heather, Brennain, Tiernan, and Oisin, are here and they will walk with us through Santiago and into the square together. I will also be accompanied by Eilis and Pat Fitzsimmons, Rowan Hand and his daughter Ruth and hopefully Eddie and Lelia McIntyre. In all we should number 19, I think we'll raise a bit of a hooley after Mass!
I had a wonderful day yesterday, I went into Santiago to see if I could catch up on some of my Camino friends, and I did. It was almost 12.00 by the time I reached the square, I found the main door of the Church closed, and as I was making my way towards a side door I spied Tereza and Marek, a lovely young couple from the Czech Republic, we had met several times earlier on our
Camino. Tereza plays guitar and Marek plays a whistle.
I was delighted to see them, we had become separated probably about 3 weeks earlier. It is very easy to miss people, we all walk at different rates, stop sometimes in different places, perhaps take a rest day.
Whenever you meet people invariably you enquire who they last seen where etc., it is good to keep in touch.Gabriele, I knew was at Mass, she had telephoned earlier and I told her I was on my way in to see her. It was with great joy that I found her after Mass, I hugged her and congratulated her on completing her Camino.
I was then grabbed in a warm, very strong hug by Bernard, a very pleasant German whom we
had repeatedly met during the Camino. We were leaving the Cathederal to go and have a celebratory glass of wine when we were joined by another German couple, can't recall the names but we had bumped into each other several times. We were only sat down at an outside cafe when another Peregrino that I had met so often came along, Daniel, a Frenchman with no English, myself an Irishman with no French, but we had shared coffee and a drink together. He also gave me a great hug and kisses on both cheeks.
Then out of the blue came Freddy, an Italian, we had become firm friends earlier, and we had parted in Burgos. He was suffering badly from toothache and had to stay over to have it attended to. I had never expected to see him but I was delighted, he looked well, his tooth was okay and he also was in high spirits. He said he would visit me in Ireland and we'll walk round Ireland
together, just as long as we could pass the Pubs!
Could this be my next exploit some time in the future I wonder? An Irish Camino, The Ulster Way, The Tain, The Wicklow Way, I'm sure there are walking routes through the Midlands, down into Kerry, perhaps someone out there has already done it or at least mapped it out. I'd love to hear about it if it has been done.
I had a longish journey in front of me so I bade a fond farewell to my friends and turned towards the road again.
'Every thought that's coming off my mind,
I might go and say that it couldn't be done,
But it's not to stand naked on the rung o life,
it's for myself and my friends my stories are sung,
But the time is tossed, if on time you depend
and no word is posessed by no special friend,
And though the line is curved, it ain't quite the end,
I'll just bid farewell till we meet again.'
Words taken from a song which I have used several times before called the 'Restless Farewell'
Towards the road again.