My last night in Santiago was perfect though bittersweet. I made plans with Linn to meet at my hotel then go have Chocolate & Chirros together. Of course she knew many of the people hanging out in the hotel lounge so we enjoyed a bit of unscheduled festivities. We were able to break away and enjoyed some private time to catchup on each other’s stories as we wandered about town in search of the right place.
Soon we were joined by a young South African man, who lives in Holland, we each had met while walking. We invited him to join us for dinner, which was to be in a very cozy little cafe on the other side of town. Linn also invited her friends “The Lithuanians” to join us. She often spoke of the so it was nice to finally meet. It was an emotional and teary farewell apre dinner but Linn broke the mood with a push-up challenge! (The young Lithuanian man had become known for his goal of doing 100 push-ups each day of his Camino) So they had a head to head contest right there on the sidewalk much to the consternation of passers by. We were all winners!!
Train to Porto Portugal-November 5th
On an early morning train to Portugal, thus ending the walking only portion, to reach the final goal of my “hat trick”, Fatima. A bit surreal to sit and watch the scenery fly by. I am taking this time to reflect a bit on the first two ” goals”.
More than anything else, people have had the greatest impact on me at every level, emotionally and spiritually. The sharing, love and support not only from other pilgrims but from shopkeepers and people on the streets, virtually everyone. There was a prevailing sense of hope and optimism as well as respect of everything Camino related.
I met people of all ages from dozens of countries, some spoke at least a little English, others none. However we were all able to communicate to some degree. There was endless support and very little judging. We walk west, together, separately, we shared food & drink, we cried & we laughed, we shared equipment, sleeping quarters, colds & flu. We shared a way of life that defies explanation, it has to be experienced.
When we leave behind the city of Santiago we leave, changed in many ways. I believe it will take time on our continuing Camino of life for those changes to be revealed.