September 28: Last Camino Post

Finished, or finito in Spanish.

Did 770 kilometers,800 from St Jean Pied de Port. For those of you with Fit that equates to 880,000 steps 🚶‍♂️.  We had rain for 6 days, heavy rain for one day and torrential rain of biblical proportions for one. On that day we had serious thunder and lightening (Jerry was scared) coupled with hail. We had an early morning with gale force winds and Temps of around 5 C.

We also experienced serious heat and into humidity through the roof. On those days I was dripping in sweat after about an hour of walking 🚶‍♂️ 😩.  And just when we had a beautiful day for walking we were inundated with the 3rd plague of Egypt. Swarms of flies and smidgens. Jerry had a face net, which he wore when it got seriously bad. So did others. I had to swat them. Smidgens were the worst as they flew into your eyes, up your nose and into your ears. Things improved when we arrived in Galicia province. All four provinces that we crossed were unique and had their own charms but Galicia was paradise. Lush and green. Rolling hills with valleys covered by a delicate mist in the early morning daylight hours. God has blessed this land. But, but, there were lots of hills to climb. Hard slogs.

We walked every day , averaging about 25 klicks a day. Because of a lack of sleep I took a half day’s rest in Burgos,  rented a hotel room so I could get some sleep because the Albergues were very noisy.

Towns, villages and hamlets were super quaint and very clean. All toilets and washplaces were spotless. You could eat off the streets. The city’s were unbelievable in their architecture and cultural icons. Massive cathedrals with intricate detail in the stonework. Beautiful building facades. Pamplona with it’s Hemingway connection in The Sun Also Rises. Beautiful Burgos, Leon and Santiago. As I have said many times…I love this country. And the Spanish people are warm and very friendly….Hola. But, I must warn you that very few, if any, speak English. Sometimes it is hard to get your point across.

There were many types of pilgrims. Those that were true to the trail and walked the whole thing with their backpacks. The part timers and weekend warriors who partially completed the walk. They were the worst as they took up most of the accommodation by booking in advance. There were the bull shysters who talked the talk but couldn’t walk the walk and the loudmouth braggards who were to be avoided. And they came from all over the world. I could not believe how old many of the pilgrims were. We were definitely in the majority.

One of disappointing aspects of the Camino was the lack of socializing and interaction among the walkers. Nada. Finish the days walk, hit the bed and turn on the Iphone or Ipad. These things are a curse I tell you. And some were just down right rude and unfriendly. we were able to connect with some young and old as I hope my pictures reflect..

To me the worst part of the walk was the terrain underfoot. At times it was dangerous. Many Caminos ended prematurely due to sprains and broken bones and torn ligaments. Nothing in the guide books or training plans will prepare you for the 4 klick downhill trek into Zubiri or the long downhill slog after the Cruz de Faro. Brutal and dangerous. If you are going to do this ensure your training focus is hill climbing.

Finnistere was a huge disappointment.

The huge number of pilgrims on the trail was a downer for me. You were never alone and the walk lacked that sense of isolation or feeling of oneness with God or whatever other belief system you adhere to – or that important sense of being  that is integral for the happiness and coexistence  with the world around you.

There is a huge amount of hype to this Camino. They try to make it some magical mystery tour or some existential out of body experience. Having said that your reason for doing this is a personal one. For me it boiled down to my love of walking and taking in that which we have been blessed with. In this case the architecture, art,ambience, food, drink ,  culture, landscapes and people of Spain and the many new friendships I have made. This Camino did that for me. It was the same with my walk in France 5 years ago.

Or as Jerry would say: ”  It was a good way to lose weight.”

Indeed, when I finished my walk in France 5 years ago I had a smile on my face. Now, with the end of my Spanish Camino and pilgrimage of 1700 kilometers, I can die a happy man.

Bien Camino.

Hope you enjoyed the blog as much as I had doing it.

I’ll post some pics tomorrow.



3 thoughts on “September 28: Last Camino Post”

  1. Big man , it has been a blast walking with ye. Who would have thought we would have almost walked the whole Camino together. The craic has been mighty but ur snoring kept the whole aburgues up. I jest. Keep er lit and happy travels for the future. I enjoyed the craic with Dot too. I feel I know her. You are a true gent, but you will have to learn to drink big beers when ye come to Northern Ireland. Slainte / Cheers

    1. Yeah Jerry. A real pleasure walking with you. Lots of laughs. Hope we stay in touch and maybe do another.

  2. A big thanks, once again. This was just an excellent, realistic, no b.s., heartfelt documentation of the Camino.
    I felt like I was on the journey with you.
    Maybe one day I will do it. Hopefully with your same attitude.
    Mucho Gracias,

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