A wiz of a wiz – Palas de Rei – Arzua

#We’re off to see the wizard the wonderful wizard of Oz#

Playing Dorothy, the tin man, the cowardly lion and the scatterbrain scarecrow – for one lifetime only – it’s me (and you too!)

The Camino has a handy way of highlighting every weakness you always hoped nobody would ever be able to see. I’ve ran away from my orange juice in Astorga due to chasing wasps, hard heartedly baggied the bottom bunk on every occasion possible, lost my belongings and brought woefully inappropriate gear and yet I’m still walking on – and at times the reason is becoming blurred!

 

It’s been the toughest camino jaunt yet. The five days of rain have started to sap at the spirits of all the pilgrims, even those fresh off the boat at Sarria are noticeably flagging. Rain is hard for so many reasons. The rain causes many camino injuries, blisters from wet gear to twisted ankles and falls on the slippery rocks below. The rain means it’s impossible to get your clothes dry forcing pilgrims to wear dank smelly clothes. The rain is accompanied by the cold. Yesterday I could see the breath in front of my face at 1pm.

However, as of today it’s only 38kms to Santiago. Around km 40 I was feeling plain tired. Yes, the feet hurt, it’s cold and wet, but I’m also getting fatigued. What’s amazing about those last 2kms, knowing about them is what causes you to feel so tired. The expectation, wanting to see your albergue around every corner makes the walking ten times tougher. If I could give anyone advise who comes out here it would be, if you’re without a departure date, is just to walk until you’re tired and then quit your day at the next albergue. Don’t check the map, don’t book ahead, just listen to your body. It’s a mental game. When I finally got into the albergue today – after having a shower and sorting out the laundry I feel completely fine. No aches, no pains. All ready to get going again.

 

So what’s the good news? Well, 38kms to Santiago splits into two gentle 19k days to arrive into the cathedral on a Sunday (how’s that for timing). My clothes are in the dryer and it’s looking good for a dry clean! My blisters are healing. And the best news for all of us pilgrims…

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Today’s walk was super beautiful, probably the best of the camino so far, I would love to see Galicia in the sunshine, on every camino through this area I’ve had rain and rain into Santiago. Arriving in gorgeous sunshine on Sunday would be the best gift I could hope for! I love watching the faces of arriving pilgrims, but for me, this will be the official start of my Camino! The reason I came out here in the first place was to do the Camino Finisterre/Muxia. I wonder if being on a new road will bring more enjoyment for me. I feel I am done for some time with the Camino Frances, when I’ve come out here previously my life had been in turmoil and whatever the Camino could throw at me just made me heal and feel alive where I felt lost. My mind has been at home for big swathes of this Santiago journey, missing my friends, missing my dog, missing my new romance. I need to find some meaning in walking to Finisterre – dropping a few pounds is not a reason to do it! (and with all the Pulpo I’m not sure I’ve lost any pounds anyway).

 

I need a question/purpose for Finisterre/Muxia (any ideas?). Walking cursing the rocks or blisters or rain or young pilgrims is not very productive! Perhaps I can just try to walk in gratitude – list everything I’m thankful for and meditate on why, which, was actually the original thought of my first Camino. Another piece of perfect symmetry – the day I end my Camino back in Santiago for the 2nd time this Camino is the same day I started my first 2 years ago (how’s that for timing).

 

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