We had a lie in this morning before heading out to grab breakfast with our Camino family. This was strange as it was the first time we’d walked without our back packs in over 2 months. Leaving our feet and shoulders feeling magically lighter. Unfortunately we needed to make our flights from Porto in a short week we had to keep walking today if we would reach Finisterra and Muxia. I felt the strange mix between joy and sadness running through me. During our breakfast of planning we knew we’d keep walking with some of our Camino family, but not others.
We ate a late lunch in a beautiful restaurant with one very special Camino friend, JC. He’d walked nearly 1,000 miles from Le Puy to Santiago. We’d met him a few weeks into our walk and he amazed me every day, camping most days in France. He’s disabled but he is not a victim of it, it doesn’t stop him from doing anything, nor does he accept sympathy or help from people. He’d waited a few extra days in Santiago to say goodbye to us, before going home to South France. I would miss our broken conversations in French and English. But I knew in the back of my mind this was the first of too many goodbyes for me.
Saying goodbye we rushed off to meet our other Camino family to start the walk on from the Cathedral square. As we were running so late, there was a very small chance if we could just wait a little longer we would be able to see my Brother again. He was sat exhausted after already been walking all day. Getting to see him made me exceptionally happy. We milled around, saying hello and goodbye to the group from South Korea that did the night walk with us. Then teasingly we tried to see if we could get our Brother and the rest of our Camino family to walk a little further with us. It was after 3pm, we’d have another 15k to walk. Then something magical happened. Our friends agreed to keep walking. This might not seem like magic, but it really was for me. Santiago is the spiritual end of a walk that takes ~30 days to complete. And to keep walking when your exhausted and think you’ve finished for the day is not easy. But they did. Strolling into the late afternoon sun, we shared a bottle of strong wine. Kisses Cuddle Bear and me proving we really were drunk twins by bursting into fits of giggles.
The walk itself was very flat. Coming directly out of the town I spotted a few tents, which made me think of some of the pilgrims that come to Santiago and not knowing what to do after continue to stay for what they think will be a few days, which turns to weeks. This made me feel sad, as it would be easy to become lost like this, paralysed, unsure if you should move or not. What would be the right decision? When in fact, there is never a right or wrong. There is just a way forward or not.
We slowly crept into Alto do Mar Do Ovellas feeling exhausted. There was only one Albergue that might be open. We all looked around at each other. Clearly members in our group didn’t have anymore energy to keep going. Even just to the albergue at the top of the road. My Brother and Kisses Cuddle Bear took the baton and walked up to talk to the albergue owner. After a fretful 15mins they returns and gave us the bad news… We’d have to keep walking. This didn’t go down well, and a few minutes later they burst out laughing. The albergue was closed for winter, but he was happy to take us and would even make some simple sandwiches for us. The place was simple and warm, but instantly became heaven when we all sat together, sharing all the food we had together, laughing, playing music. And I reminded myself, the adventure wasn’t over yet, the magic was still all around us.