The day started off with a doozy when I was forced to climb over the entry gate in order to get out of the hostel. I don’t really see the point of locking the gate to your compound if you’re going to have 30 strangers sleeping there every night. I suppose I ought to just be thankful that we’re being kept safe from the ficticious banditos savaging peregrinos along the Camino.
The day was fairly normal except that I’m close enough that each mile takes on more significance. I’ve hit that bittersweet feeling where part of me is happy to be done and part of me is sad that it’s almost over. Each action is the last one – the last time I’ll hit a new town, the last time I’ll pull out my credenciale for a stamp, the last time I’ll share a room with strangers.
I’m seeing no one on the trail that I started with or walked with for a while. Yesterday, I still spent a little time with two women – a Romanian and an Italian – who I’d been bumping into the past two weeks. By the way, if it sounds like I’ve been talking to a lot of women it’s because about 70% of the people out here are women and, let’s face it, the fairer sex is more interesting than a dude. Don’t worry, Jen, no albergue sex was had – they can’t hold a candle to you.
While I’m on the subject, I do need to thank my wife for holding down the fort while I went gallavanting around for 6 weeks. I’m extremely fortunate and happy to have had this opportunity and I’m not sure how many spouses would put up with me. I’m really looking forward to seeing you next week.
I ran into another large group of very religious Americans today. We shared our respective views on faith and my lack thereof and was told that they had witnessed a miracle on the trail. That intrigued me. Apparently there was a gentleman named Jose of unspecified foreign origin who didn’t speak good English but who’s foot was swollen and injured. When they met him again two days later (he had taken a bus) and inquired about his foot, Jose indicated it was still hurting. They formed a circle around him and prayed. Fervently, I presume, because after their prayer Jose indicated his foot felt better. They saw him walking on it the next day! Now they were pretty convinced this was divine intervention and the power of prayer in action, so I didn’t have the heart to tell them that overuse injuries do heal if you stay off the injured extremity. Plus I would probably say the same thing Jose did out of courtesy if I had a bunch of strangers circled around me and chanting. I’m not trying to make fun of the story – the Americans are clear believers and have every right to that view – I think I’m just too cynical to credit things that have a scientific rationale as divine intervention. I have yet to witness anything resembling a miracle personally. The Americans told me it was because I was not open to it. Maybe they’re right.
As I walked on, a phrase describing the situation occured to me: “One man’s faith is another man’s delusion”. Alas it’s not an original thought because Google credits it as a quote to a guy named Anthony Storr. Nonetheless it feels like there’s some truth to it.
Tomorrow I have a mere 17 miles to walk to get to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and the official end of The Way. I’ll be there by mid-day but that still leaves plenty of time for some more thinking. Stefan, Lauchlin, Maria and Philipp will be rolling into town on Sunday and I’m really looking forward to seeing them again. It’s nice to live a life where you always have something to look forward to.
July 21, 2017
Casa Domingo to A Salceda – 22 miles
A German Cafe in Spain but I don’t see a single beer