Ponferrerada is the last major town before Santiago! There’s a fortress here that the Templar knights built (after they were directed to look after this place by the Kings of Leon). Once they were disbanded though, the area was taken over by the Dukes of Lemos. The town continued to thrive with the surge of medieval pilgrims though, which was only added too with the discovery of coal and iron ores here in the 20th century.
We were starting to get closer and closer to the end of the Camino, less than 2 weeks left. This was starting to feel pretty strange and I was finding myself starting to dread the end and yet unable to wait for it at the same time. I thought about people having walked long distances struggling to acclimatise back into their life before. Questions filled our conversations about what will you do after? How do you bring the Camino home with you. Some had jobs to go straight back to, others were going back to studies, others would continue to travel. The Magician and I were making plans about trying to have some kind of business on the Camino and maybe continue to travel as well. But with my lack of foreign languages I felt increasingly nervous about this. Fearing that I would soon become some kind of hermit in this type of environment. Overly dependent on the Magician as a translator, which for those who know me, I’m extremely independent and a control freak. This wouldn’t bode well for me….
I walked with my Brother and the Magician for the majority of the morning. My head spinning into the future, whilst missing the increasing beauty in front of me as we got closer and closer to Galacia. Here the Magician also found out that his other Brother that he’d met early in the walk (pre- me) would be joining us on our final walk into Santiago. He was bouncing round like a kid at Christmas. My ego became over run at this point, I had only met his other Brother once before and didn’t really know him much. I felt like I was being pushed to one side for a new exciting toy. I knew the majority of conversations would be in French and they would want time alone to catch up. This made me start to question what life together in the future would be really like, and brought me back to our early days together where I felt insecure in what he wanted from a relationship together. All my triggers from my failed marriage being triggered in a internal whirlwind, whilst I tried to portray that yes, I was absolutely fine, yes I WAS FINE!!! Argh…. sigh… (que internal eye rolls)
The Magician and my Brother spent most of the afternoon walking together, and I walked with 2 new walkers I met. One who’s nickname is after a French TV kids show, which is Kisses Cuddle Bear. This is because when he is drunk he tends to become very cuddly and tell everyone he loves them. Yep, I’d met my drunk twin, in male format….. If you like being hugged and told how much you are loved, just buy me a few beers and give me 30 mins. I clicked like a house of fire with Kisses Cuddle Bear, we had the same happy go lucky laid back attitude, and had yes, both walked out on jobs in search of what else was out there. Walking with him, and a very laid back German guy, they both helped to bring my head out of my endless fear led internal rhetoric and my feet back to the ground with long conversations of Disney movies in the sparkling sunshine.
Loving every step of the afternoon, I didn’t want it to end as we all walked along autumn kissed grape vines….