I woke up with the Magician to views of mist covered streets as we were high up in the hills. We sat and had a slow breakfast with Kisses Cuddle Bear. I had finally found a person that could eat more than the Magician. I had thought for a long time it wasn’t physically possible, but its true, he does exist. And they’re both French. It reminded me of my French exchange, where the French mothers were warned several times that the English just don’t eat as much as them. They still never seemed to believed it, and continually tried to give us packets of biscuits, a whole baguette sandwiches, fruit and boiled eggs for lunch every day. I think I might have only eaten a quarter of the sandwich a day. It makes me wonder how on earth the French are so skinny and yet the English are pilling on the pounds. Damn genetics….
The priest of O Cebreiro in the middle of the 60s wrote and lectured of the importance of the Camino. In 1984, he marked the route from France to Santiago for the first time with yellow arrows, which are synonymous with the Camino Frances. O Cebreiro itself is in the middle of a nature reserve. The Magician and I set off for the walk downhill ins the stunning surroundings of Galacia with gentile autumn colours surrounding us with crunching leaves underfoot.
Galacia is a region in Spain that has the most significant traces of pre- Christian culture, dating back 4,000 years BCE. The largest influences were the Celts who settled here in 500 BCE, through till the invasion of the Romans in 135 BCE. At this time the region was known as Gallaecia. This place finally reminded me of the beautiful scenes I had through most of France. I loved the Camino in France, there is a very strong culture based on the spirit of the Camino. In Spain I felt very disappointed to be honest, the Camino Frances is so well travelled and everything is very commercial. One of the things that hit me about the Camino in France is that a lot of the Gite owners would try to be accommodating to those who were doing the Camino with little to no money. Whereas in Spain, Municipals are established based on a Donation basis. When I walked in there wasn’t a donation suggestion, it was a box to pay a set fee. And unfortunately I heard stories where people stated they didn’t have much money, and asked if they could stay for free and typically the Municipals response was no. That being said in some of the Albergues and Restaurants I did see more of the Camino spirit to support someone’s pilgrimage, rather than to see it as a commercial revenue stream. I should probably clarify here the Municipals in Spain are meant to be charitable organisations set up purely for pilgrims (not interested in profit at all and run by volunteers). Where as Albergues are commercial businesses (basically hostels) in Spain (in France the Albergues are called Gites). Camino terminology lesson done!
The Magician and I were less than a week from Santiago! I really couldn’t believe the Camino would be over in just a few days. The reasons for me coming on the Camino rattled through my head. I’d wanted to discover and find myself again, to get to know my body (and understand how to feed and nourish it, without the impacts of my eating disorder). With the Magician getting more and more excited to see his friend I felt more and more pushed to the side. I remembered all my goals when I’d started the walk and worried if I had compromised these by walking with the Magician. My ego built up nervously in my mind, feeling like I was being cast aside for a new shiny toy. And I’d forgotten why I’d come here myself, so wrapped up in our comfortable blanket of love. I felt the invisible walls I’d created in my marriage trapping around me again. Unable to talk about my feelings, wary about being vulnerable again, convinced my heart would be ripped out. How could I actually trust again, after my husband left with no warning? Wasn’t that the ultimate lesson you can’t trust anyone but yourself? My stomach churned into terrifying knots, leaving me feeling sick.