I had a feeling immediately entering Santiago that this time the Camino Frances and I are finally over. At no point during the walking, at Monte de Gozo and despite the blisters and shin splints, did it occur to me not to walk to Finisterre but upon seeing the spires of the Cathedral my mind and body just relaxed, it felt done and I’ve decided to bus to Finisterre and stay for five nights by the sea in this fabled centre of spirituality whose fortunes are so linked with Santiagos. The thought of doing nothing for 5 days by the sea totally freaks me out! No activities!
I’ve booked my stay in a hotel overlooking the bay which apparently has fabulous views but a cranky and unhelpful owner with many reviewers calling it Spain’s ‘Fawlty Towers’. This only makes it more appealing. Apparently he gets very disturbed if you try and check in before 3pm, so i’ll hang about in the town to avoid irritating him before we even begin our client relationship!
This morning I awoke to find the four blisters on my right foot painful, swollen and sensitive and this only worsened on the way into Santiago. My little toe has a blister on the top and a blister on the bottom of it making dressing the toe fairly problematic. For the next 7 days I will spend my entire shoe wearing time in flip flops which should give them a chance to heal. Between both feet I have 4 pinch blisters, this is where your toes tuck in under one another and you basically stand on a bit of your toe. The solution to this, I’ve now learnt, is silicone gel protectors for toes. I will definitely be buying these for my future hikes and would recommend you bring them out on camino. Pinch blisters are very common for runners and hikers and also very painful – and so easily solved it seems! I’ll know for next time – my first Camino also suffered with these nasties.
Tonight I’m staying in a four person room with three people who have just finished the Camino Portuguese in the albergue Roots and Boots.
I’ve bought into all the pilgrim regalia available in Santiago (which is tons) including rings, bracelets, t-shirts and necklaces, one of the t-shirts has the route of the Camino Portuguese printed upon it. Because of the way I run my life, if one more person says Camino Portuguese to me today I have to take it as a sign and walk this route. Decisions are no longer made in my life through reason and calculations but superstition and signs (I say no longer, but thinking again, I’ve always run it that way… maybe it’s time to stop and give reason and calculations a try!) I’ll ponder on that!
I can’t imagine what I’m going to do with myself for five days in Finisterre! I’m not even sure what there is to do! I guess there will be opportunities to sunbathe, swim, eat pulpo and hang out with Camino bums. Actually just relaxing isn’t really something I do. It worries me that the mental spiders will come crawling all over me if I lay still long enough. Scary! Let’s try!
The bus takes 3 hours and leaves at 9am from someplace in Santiago. Now I’m over my Camino Frances obsession I guess I can work out what else I can do with my time remaining on the planet. Scary. Let’s try!
I’d still like to be fitter – this won’t happen walking – I don’t have the time to walk the amount you need to walk for fitness! That is for old people! My work offers a gym membership for £20 per month – I’m bad at going to the gym but going during work time sounds like a motivator to me! I’ll sign up when I get home.
Brain things – learn more Spanish – it’s been great fun on camino understanding the Spanish and I know the hospitalero/a have been relieved and treated me better for understanding them. I shall try this trick with angry Juan in Finisterre.
Get better with sql – an important skill in my industry ATM – would be useful to improve – I can do this at work too 😉
Learn to drive – this one has been on the cards for ages too.
Dress better – I resent this one a little bit but unfortunately it really does seem to matter to a great many people including girlfriends and bosses!
Fit, sql, spanish, drive, dress. Got it!
Lastly, I think my being done with the Camino, as I found during my walk, is about being truly done with that part of my life, the walking no longer serves me in my current mental state as it did in prior years. Eventually even Forrest stopped running (after 3 years and 2 months no less) – at some point healing happens and your life improves and walking 30kms a day just loses its appeal.
My head was full of home this Camino and my new life in Wimbledon and thank god for that. As one elderly pilgrim told me, in fact, the French mute (obvs not a mute in the end) who is walking 12kms per day from Puy en Velay, I am on the super highway of my life and while you’re on it and while things are good for many people a camino experience will not bring them the insights it can bring the broken hearted/spirited or those in need of inspiration. I can’t imagine walking the Frances for years (fingers crossed), if I do then something else went wonky. If I walk the Portuguese or Le Puy-en-Velay I hope it won’t be alone *nod to the French not reading this blog*.
Buen Camino Rat Fans from a sunny Santiago! 285km in 10 days isn’t a bad effort.
*puts feet up*.
Who does Andy play in the first round?