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Published: April 22nd 2013
So this blog is not going to be as detailed as I would have liked. Too much time has passed and my memories of this amazing period of my life are nothing but beautiful clips of what they were. There was so much to remember I am at a struggle to bring it all into a chronological order.
Upon leaving Burgos (for the second time) we headed on towards our next major city, which was Leon. I really can't remember too much between these two cities. Only that I was in the most excruciating and constant pain. My knee was in a seriously bad way, looking back I have no idea how I made it. It took a good year before it was even remotely back to what it used to be, and even now I get pains from it.
Upon arriving in Leon, we had a painful decision to make. We were not going to make it to Santiago in time based on the distance we were walking and the amount of time we lost in Burgos. Additionally the mountain lay before us and I knew that my knee was never going to make the ascent,
let alone the even more painful descent. With a heavy heart, I had to make the decision to skip the mountains and head by train to another city further East called Ludo.
Ludo was in the last 100km of the Camino proper. With that brought a new version of pilgrims. Pilgrim lights as I like to call them, they only walked 100km and it really isn't enough. You can't get a feel for it, it also meant extraordinary large and crowded albergues, up to 250 people! utter madness.
So we set out across Galicia with the intent of arriving in Santiago within four days. Nothing could have prepared me for the beauty of this county. I love it, I wish I could go back even now. But with beauty, came hills, which really put the pressure on my rapidly failing knee. I am not sure I believe in a God, but something got me through those few days.
Then the day came when we saw it, our destination. Santiago. I can't put into words the feelings which came into my heart as I stood and saw this city which for weeks had been my sole purpose and
indeed driving force behind my greatest ever challenge. I walked up to that Cathedral in the pouring rain and I broke down in tears of joy as I thought of all the trials, tears and happiness that had brought me here. I can't remember a point in my life where I was more at peace with myself. I walked into the Church and I kissed and hugged the statue of St James like I was greeting an old friend. Truthfully, by this point I feel like he was and still is to this day. We then sat through the Pilgrims mass, which brought more tears and then the most amazing sight of the swinging of the Butafumeiro. I felt so privileged to have seen this, I recommend all of you to google it right now.
Later that day, we were joined by all the travelers I had met on my way, we were all reunited for one beautiful night in the square of St James, we drank and ate in solitude and happiness, and we were joined by other pilgrims, who wanted to basque in the happiness that we all shared. All while we serenaded by the haunting sounds
of the Spanish Bagpipes. Rejuvenated by this success, I walked on to the end of the Earth, where I would look out upon the most Westernly point of the old world.
It was three days of hard tiring walking, but I made it. And I looked out to the vast empty abyss of the Atlantic, then as is the custom, I burnt something which embodied something leaving me as a result of my trip. I burnt my hair band, which had accompanied throughout.
Spain is to date my favourite country, I love the Camino, I love the people and I love the people I met. I would go back today if I could. But I'll go back one day, when the day is right. But if you're reading this thinking you want to, then I tell you do it, book you're tickets right now, because you won't believe it until you've experienced it!
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