My happiness does not depend on whether or not to walk the Camino de Santiago. Every day I walk my camino…
After a few days in a simple hostel with lovely people in Porto, Giri (my ex-partner and still my mate) an I have to leave to start our track. We walk to the subway. I notice a beggar. He is sitting like a king in a shop window, while enjoying a kind of a sandwich. His joy is my share. What a beauty!
We begin our journey differently then expected. To be honest, I did not expect so much! Arriving at Vila de Conde is surprising. It is a beautiful spot on the coast with a true Templar history. My heart is fully open. Essentially, if my camino should end up here, that would be perfect! In the afternoon we arrive at the main route. You can not miss it, even if you should like it! I start to realize that Giri and I are not the only ones on this route. There seems some twenty other pilgrims, recognizable on there shell.
Being a pilgrim is related to an inner connection with TAU what means God. I do not feel the need to show this. But to stay overnight in the Auberges, we need a pilgrims pass. We break this rule the first night already. I do not like the atmosphere in the Auberge and we find a simple shelter for just the two of us.
We are early risers. The most pilgrims leave later, so we do not meet many fellow hikers. Unfortunately, the chapels and churches are usually closed. The one they are open are often so profusely that you forget what it is all about…
One of the highlights is our stay at Jacinto and Fernanda’s house. This beautiful couple use there spare time to catch up and care for us pilgrims as if we were their children. They are absolutely unconditional.
After a 80 miles we are about half way. After Valencia we cross the Spanish border and arrive in the beautiful countryside of Galicia. We spend a day in Tui, a charming town with a beautiful cathedral and great gardens around. Then begins the fun. The clock goes one our back. If we walk on at 6.00 hours it is still stays dark for more then an hour. The path takes us regularly on the original Roman trade route. Unfortunately, we are no longer the only early birds. The pilgrims doubled with a factor of 5. To get sure to have one of the few beds in the Auberges, they create a real run.
No, this is not really my thing. I have the feeling that there is constantly somebody behind my heels and I have to be careful not to lose my inner silence. We find the balance in it by going occasionally off the path to lie down in nature for a while or to do a few qigong exercises. Just perfect! It is beautiful walking weather. The one day it is raining is the worst one. We have to walk more then two hours over an industrial estate. Believe me, that is not really a pleasant thing! I am surprised how quickly my body recovers, especially since I have gone off with a serous injury of my foot. What an amazing phenomenon our body is! What breaks me up occasionally is the lugging of the luggage. At the same time it is the charm: living with only what is needed. And we need so little…
We walk the path to get rid of entrenched beliefs. It is time for something new. Outer churches and saints have no value to me. It is not only the accent on the suffering of Jesus I cannot connect myself with, it is also the unnatural picture of Mary. For me she is a goddess and symbolizes the middle between light and dark, the middle between the two Mary’s, the absolute harmony.
To discover our own nature we have to reconnect with the mystery of nature. Pilgrim is a symbolical road to connect with this path, with the inner self. Spirituality in a form, traditional or new age, immediately loses momentum.
We stay overnight in a convent, along an alternative route. It is a beautiful place without specific purpose with more than twenty simple beds. I do not take a shower and I prefer the toilet outside, but simplicity has never been a point for me. What could be nicer then pee outside under a beautiful starry heaven? Our host is not practical at all, so Giri and I and Leo from Poland are preparing joyfully a kind of a meal. The food is well received by the others and I can say the three of us enjoyed tremendously the working together.
Our last night is not far from Santiago. So we leave late this morning, around 10.00 o’clock. Believe it or not, we are the only hikers. A miracle! After a few great encounters, suddenly we find ourselves in the centre of the city. The cathedral is impressive. The well is touching me and I dip my hands as a symbol of innocence…
We could not leave our backpacks in the cathedral so we first have to find a simple hostel. Santiago is a lively and a touristic city. I estimate that every day some 500 to 750 pilgrims walk in by foot. There are also many tourists buses every day. Yet the atmosphere is pleasant and relaxed. There is lots of music on the street. People are happy and laugh a lot. Sometimes they even cry without apparently reason. Listen; what we did is peanuts, but some pilgrims are on the road for months. Some of them are welcomed by their partner, their family. You can imagine that this is an enormous transformation for both parties.
It is an emotional thing to get your last stamp. It looks more like a fight. No, I do not need a certificate. I certainly will not hang it on the wall. Later on we line up for the crypt of James. This also happens in a strange energy. With a sense of humour I would like to call it spiritual greediness.
Although the cathedral is impressive on the inside, I do not click in. In contrast with the cathedral in Le Puy in France. This church was in all respects a revelation for me.
We are born as gods, most of the time we have forgotten this. That becomes clear as we experience some of the pilgrims night life. There is a lot of noise on the streets. Around 3.30 am the first wiping-machine start to collect all the broken glasses. The man with the broom follows and before dawn the streets are spotless again. When the partygoer in the afternoon is back on scene, he is unaware of the mess he left behind. The show must go on. Long live the economy!
We take a bus to Muxia – the alternative end of the world. Although I have two dull hours on the bus, wondering what the hell I am going to do, that feeling disappears immediately when I see the Atlantic coast. Wow, here I can be totally myself. I touch and see God in everything. Butterflies in all colours and sizes are guiding us on our path. In the early morning we burn our worn-out clothes on the beach. It is a tradition and a symbol of a new start.
The people here are Celtic speaking. We could be in Ireland as well. The end of our trip is even as divine and impressive as the beginning…
We fly back home from Santiago via Madrid. I could not have imagined that I would love this city with its six million inhabitants so dearly. What a difference with Holland. Everybody is so relaxed! If I am among the people, on the crowded square, at the Puerta del Sol, everywhere I am just mySelf…
The purpose is not relevant. It is just the road that is important…