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Leaving the Camino

Lucyk

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Primitivo 2015
We all know that for a number of people, maybe a lot of people, their Camino doesn't turn out the way they planned. Maybe they even leave it early. We don't hear much from them. They probably end with a lot of complicated feelings and are not likely to spend time talking in Facebook groups or forums like this one. I'm one of those people whose Camino came to a sudden and unexpected end, and because it doesn't get talked about much in public, I wrote this blog post to explain why I left:
Puente la Reina to Estella
As you can tell, I found a lot that was positive in my short time on the road. As friends told me when I came back, "The Camino isn't going anywhere," and maybe I will try again some day. (And if you are interested, I followed up this post with a long one about Estella, it's lovely churches, and some of its difficult history.)
 
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koilife

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
We all know that for a number of people, maybe a lot of people, their Camino doesn't turn out the way they planned. Maybe they even leave it early. We don't hear much from them.
You're right, of course, and it's easy to forget. Thank you for helping us to remember.

My son and I spent one afternoon helping an 81 year old Austrian woman (Marie, I think) who twisted her knee right in front of us on a descent. We did all the right field first aid to try and salvage things and get her into town, but it was clearly getting worse, so we helped her to the local medical center where they very kindly but firmly told her she wasn't going to be walking for a couple weeks and she needed to get home. They immobilized her, medicated her, and we kept her company for the rest of the evening.

She went through the expected range of emotions, but mostly just a bone-deep sadness about the very real possibility that she would never be able to complete a Camino, which was a long-held dream of hers. The next morning, we helped her to the bus station and onto her bus. She wasn't an openly affectionate person, but she gave us both hugs, and kissed my son like he was her own grandson.

I never heard from Marie again, and I often wonder if she ever tried to finish. I pray she did.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Thanks for sharing @Lucyk and hope you are feeling better.
You made the right call without doubt!

I recall reading a similar story last year, in the same area.........

Having to go home, is something we all dread I think.
We push ourselves on and hope things will get better.
Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.

Hopefully you'll get back to the Camino one day soon.

I'll share a story that I have told here before.

On my first Camino I really struggled physically. Mainly because I was unfit and overweight and had injured myself training.

After about 15 kms each day my Achilles Tendons would be screaming at me.
But with stretching, icing, rest, meds.......I would press on.
I honestly did not expect to make it to Santiago.
I just enjoyed each day as it came, as if it might be my last on the Camino..........

But it was not the physical strain that had me thinking of going home.
It was the emotional strain.......... Don't underestimate it.

Just prior to Leon............I had a tough choice to make.



It was about 2 hours out of Leon……. (the short version)

I’d hit a real low point. I really felt my Camino was coming to an end. That I needed to go home. That it was selfish to continue this journey. I was struggling, really struggling. (My wife was home alone dealing with her sick Father) I had been grappling with this decision for days.......

I just stopped at the side of the path.

I dropped to my knees with tears in my eyes.
I grasped a rosary that a Catholic friend had loaned me, as I did each day when saying my thank you….

I looked up and asked. “OK. How is this supposed to work? Do you give me a sign or something?
I’m really struggling with this decision. I feel like I should go home. But should I complete this journey? Over to You……….”


Not really feeling any better, I stood up and continued along the path…….


ONE.

After about 300 metres, I saw an old man with a dog walking towards me. He was stooped a little, probably about 70 years of age. He looked a bit like a Shepherd.

As we got closer, I glanced up. Looked at him and said Buenos Dias. As he replied he smiled and our eyes met.

A chill went down my spine and I stopped in my tracks, as he walked past. After a few moments I turned to look the way he had gone. He also turned and gave me a wave.

The hair stood up on the back of my neck. During that brief greeting and warm smile, the eyes looking back at me were unmistakable. They were the loving eyes of my late Father.

Wow. What just happened I thought….. That was a very clear encouragement, from above, from beyond? Who knows? But it was Dad behind that smile! 100%…..


TWO.

As I was reflecting on this potential ‘sign’ I started up a small hill. I paused for reflection and to take a drink. Not 300 metres beyond where I had seen the man.

My phone rang! Due to the problems at home I made sure I was easily contactable. Though no one normally called me. I usually checked in with them when I could.
So most days I spoke to my wife, by calling her, not her calling me.. (The issue at home was….. that her Father was very sick….)

It was my wife. Her voice was really upbeat and lifting. I asked her how her Dad was, and that I was thinking I should come home. No way she said! How can you help anyway? You’re not a Heart Surgeon! Finish the journey ‘for us’ she said…..

I so needed that call. That call. Right then………

Feeling much better, I now quickened my step towards Leon. Surely only another hour away.


THREE

With a bit more of a spring in my step, I started off along the gravel track….

Not two minutes later. I heard a familiar voice behind me. An Aussie Twang…..

“Hey Robo, how're you going mate”!

It was Rob from Melbourne whom I hadn’t seen in well over a week. A chirpy character with whom I’d shared some long and deep conversations whilst walking and over a glass or two of Vino Tinto…..

He clapped me on the back as he came level and we shared our journeys of where we’d been and who we’d seen since we last met. His pace was faster than mine and it was a struggle to keep up…., with my achilles injuries. But I needed this connection.. ….. Right now I needed it.

So I quickened my pace for 15 minutes or so whilst we chatted and then bid him farewell, expecting to see him down the track at some stage. I did, about 2 weeks later……

I paused for a moment as he ‘took off’ down the track with effortless long strides……

What the heck had just happened!!!!!

In a time of need I had asked for guidance. And in the space of 5 minutes, I was given a sign. One…..Two…..Three!

Amazing things can happen on the Camino………


I was all set to go home once I reached Leon............
 
Last edited:

Nana6

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
France ( 2020)
Thanks for sharing @Lucyk and hope you are feeling better.
You made the right call without doubt!

I recall reading a similar story last year, in the same area.........

Having to go home, is something we all dread I think.
We push ourselves on and hope things will get better.
Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.

Hopefully you'll get back to the Camino one day soon.

I'll share a story that I have told here before.

On my first Camino I really struggled physically. Mainly because I was unfit and overweight and had injured myself training.

After about 15 kms each day my Achilles Tendons would be screaming at me.
But with stretching, icing, rest, meds.......I would press on.
I honestly did not expect to make it to Santiago.
I just enjoyed each day as it came, as if it might be my last on the Camino..........

But it was not the physical strain that had me thinking of going home.
It was the emotional strain.......... Don't underestimate it.

Just prior to Leon............I had a tough choice to make.



It was about 2 hours out of Leon……. (the short version)

I’d hit a real low point. I really felt my Camino was coming to an end. That I needed to go home. That it was selfish to continue this journey. I was struggling, really struggling. (My wife was home alone dealing with her sick Father) I had been grappling with this decision for days.......

I just stopped at the side of the path.

I dropped to my knees with tears in my eyes.
I grasped a rosary that a Catholic friend had loaned me, as I did each day when saying my thank you….

I looked up and asked. “OK. How is this supposed to work? Do you give me a sign or something?
I’m really struggling with this decision. I feel like I should go home. But should I complete this journey? Over to You……….”


Not really feeling any better, I stood up and continued along the path…….


ONE.

After about 300 metres, I saw an old man with a dog walking towards me. He was stooped a little, probably about 70 years of age. He looked a bit like a Shepherd.

As we got closer, I glanced up. Looked at him and said Buenos Dias. As he replied he smiled and our eyes met.

A chill went down my spine and I stopped in my tracks, as he walked past. After a few moments I turned to look the way he had gone. He also turned and gave me a wave.

The hair stood up on the back of my neck. During that brief greeting and warm smile, the eyes looking back at me were unmistakable. They were the loving eyes of my late Father.

Wow. What just happened I thought….. That was a very clear encouragement, from above, from beyond? Who knows? But it was Dad behind that smile! 100%…..


TWO.

As I was reflecting on this potential ‘sign’ I started up a small hill. I paused for reflection and to take a drink. Not 300 metres beyond where I had seen the man.

My phone rang! Due to the problems at home I made sure I was easily contactable. Though no one normally called me. I usually checked in with them when I could.
So most days I spoke to my wife, by calling her, not her calling me.. (The issue at home was….. that her Father was very sick….)

It was my wife. Her voice was really upbeat and lifting. I asked her how her Dad was, and that I was thinking I should come home. No way she said! How can you help anyway? You’re not a Heart Surgeon! Finish the journey ‘for us’ she said…..

I so needed that call. That call. Right then………

Feeling much better, I now quickened my step towards Leon. Surely only another hour away.


THREE

With a bit more of a spring in my step, I started off along the gravel track….

Not two minutes later. I heard a familiar voice behind me. An Aussie Twang…..

“Hey Robo, how're you going mate”!

It was Rob from Melbourne whom I hadn’t seen in well over a week. A chirpy character with whom I’d shared some long and deep conversations whilst walking and over a glass or two of Vino Tinto…..

He clapped me on the back as he came level and we shared our journeys of where we’d been and who we’d seen since we last met. His pace was faster than mine and it was a struggle to keep up…., with my achilles injuries. But I needed this connection.. ….. Right now I needed it.

So I quickened my pace for 15 minutes or so whilst we chatted and then bid him farewell, expecting to see him down the track at some stage. I did, about 2 weeks later……

I paused for a moment as he ‘took off’ down the track with effortless long strides……

What the heck had just happened!!!!!

In a time of need I had asked for guidance. And in the space of 5 minutes, I was given a sign. One…..Two…..Three!

Amazing things can happen on the Camino………


I was all set to go home once I reached Leon............
Love your story. Prayers change things and us
 
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Bala

Veteran member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances: SJPdP-Burgos, (2015); Burgos-Sarria (2018); Sarria-Santiago (2018).
Frances (2020)
I hope you are now fully recovered, Lucy. Thank you for sharing your story. Things often don't go well on the Camino, but we rarely hear about those times, once we leave the trail. And that can sometimes leave an unrealistic impression for someone preparing for a first pilgrimage. Your straightforward honesty - and good sense - are refreshing.

I hope you are able to return at some point and finish your journey. Somehow I have a feeling you will. Wishing you all the best.
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
Hi Lucy. Commiserations. I know how you feel as I have just stopped halfway through my latest camino. I just couldn’t put weight on my leg. I feel blessed that I have walked six previous caminos without issue, and that I could be collected and driven home as I live in Spain. The saddest part was parting from my much loved walking partner. But there will be other caminos in other years (or even another camino later in this year). I hope you are now fully recovered. I am getting there.
 

Delphinoula

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C. PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C.Franconia 2019 C.Algeciras Sevillia 2019
Swabian C. (2020)
Hi Lucy,
There is a reason the Camino is called the way. Once you decided to walk it, somehow if you let it you are always on it. Going to the store or getting health wise better. Climbing an uphill in live or on the way. Your pilgrimage does not need to stop. Yeah the Spanish hill sites are great but most the time a tarmac road is just that.
One of the best things I learnt on the Camino is selfcare. I think you took that with you as well.
Bon Camino
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I'm not actually that Religious. More 'Spiritual'.
But on Camino I kind of turn into a wannabe Catholic :rolleyes::rolleyes:

It is written that all things happen for a reason. Also, we frequently do not understand why something happens, either to us or to those we know and love (on any level).

IMHO, this is the incarnation of Camino Rules #2 and #3: to wit:

2. The Camino provides...
3. Santiago, as your intercessor with a Supreme God, works in strange ways to support pilgrims who are coming to him...really he does... just ask Robo...

I have seen these same, serendipitous situations, far too often during my six-year association with doing annual pilgrimage AND in my annual volunteering at the Pilgrim Office to doubt them.

I have witnessed near identical situations and been told stories that would give you “chicken skin” / goose bumps. Weird would be a secular description. But l think that, divinely inspired might be another.

But then again, I BELIEVE! While on the Camino, like Robo, I have had these sort of things happen to me. I have also had what I call my “God moment,” when I felt a real divine presence, and was energized to press on, exactly when I happened to need some sign.

Yes, some would say this is silly. But, as I said, I choose to believe. I get it. I just accept and move ahead, paying it forward both here in Spain, on a Camino, and at home.

Hope this helps.
 
Last edited:

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
Sorry to hear how your Camino ended for the moment. Amongst all the other feelings I am sure it must be very frustrating for you. I have also had the misfortune to have ended a Camino prematurely. I walked from my home in the UK almost to St Jean Pied de Port. About 1200km. An accident just 20km from the end left me immobilized with a prolapsed spinal disc. I did recover fairly quickly after returning home and six months later completed that journey and eventually carried on to Santiago. I hope you soon return and find joy in your journey again.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
This is a case of closing the door after the cow runs out but....

I traveled a lot internationally and visit a travel doctor for any trip longer than 3 weeks. She keeps me up to date in what bad things could happen to you from a health perspectives where I plan to go. She also proscribes Azithromycin (500 mg) to always take with me.

She’s given me a simple rule:

Day 1 Pepto
Day 2 ONE dose of Azithromycin
Day 3 Doctor

My wife got violently ill in Portugal so we skipped Day 1 and went right to Day 2. Within 2 hours she was feeling much better.

I always though going to a travel doc before a long trip was silly. But I’ve changed that belief.

BTW, not recommending any medicine. That’s only for your doc to do.
 

MaineSally

MaineSally
Year of past OR future Camino
Cam Frances SJPDP to Santiago ('17): Finisterre ('17); Muxia ('17): Camino Portuguese ('19)
We all know that for a number of people, maybe a lot of people, their Camino doesn't turn out the way they planned. Maybe they even leave it early. We don't hear much from them. They probably end with a lot of complicated feelings and are not likely to spend time talking in Facebook groups or forums like this one. I'm one of those people whose Camino came to a sudden and unexpected end, and because it doesn't get talked about much in public, I wrote this blog post to explain why I left:
Puente la Reina to Estella
As you can tell, I found a lot that was positive in my short time on the road. As friends told me when I came back, "The Camino isn't going anywhere," and maybe I will try again some day. (And if you are interested, I followed up this post with a long one about Estella, it's lovely churches, and some of its difficult history.)
Ah LucyK, I can honestly feel for you. I, too, had to fly home after two large toe infections. I was on the Portuguese at the end of March. 20+ miles for five days in a row, with warmer than usual temps, created just the right conditions for bacteria to set in (hematoma under both large toenails and blisters on the cuticles. I will spare all the picture!) I couldn't wear my hiking shoes on Day 4, so switched to chaos sandals which I had not practiced in with any regularity. Then I ended up with blisters on the sides on my feet from those! I now had no good options. I soaked my feet, elevated them and iced them for two full days. On my third rest day in Tomar I made it to the ER in the early morning (a time when folks are heading to work and kids are heading to school.). They prescribed an antibiotic, etc. and then they held my hands, got to my eye level and said with the most compassion, "You will need to reschedule your camino for another time." It was as if they knew how badly I wanted to push, but were giving me permission to step off the Camino...a decision I didn't want to make. I just put on my hiking shoes today (it's been a month) and I walked a couple of hours. Maybe my feet actually "grew" after my camino of two years ago, and ordering a duplicate pair in the same size may have been the wrong thing to do, but I was measured. I think I'd be smart to re-read Davebuggs suggestions on socks and liners before heading back to Portugal...which will, hopefully, be in mid September. Maybe even consider a different hiking shoe brand.

The camino will be there when you're ready. You, like I, found wonderful, compassionate people that nurtured us when we needed it. My best memories were
of the Albergue in Tomar (Residencial Avenida...Antonio Pieres.). I now have a friend in Tomar!! What a gift.

So, as you sit in your digs in the Windy City, plot and plan for your next trip over.

The hospitality along the various "Ways" seem consistent...locals are supportive of pilgrims, and their capacity to share their homes, food, and time
to assist all, whether struggling or not, is reason to be out on the trail. It's humanity at its best.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
This is a case of closing the door after the cow runs out but....

I traveled a lot internationally and visit a travel doctor for any trip longer than 3 weeks. She keeps me up to date in what bad things could happen to you from a health perspectives where I plan to go. She also proscribes Azithromycin (500 mg) to always take with me.

She’s given me a simple rule:

Day 1 Pepto
Day 2 ONE dose of Azithromycin
Day 3 Doctor

My wife got violently ill in Portugal so we skipped Day 1 and went right to Day 2. Within 2 hours she was feeling much better.

I always though going to a travel doc before a long trip was silly. But I’ve changed that belief.

BTW, not recommending any medicine. That’s only for your doc to do.

I think it's wise if you have a good Doctor to talk through the things that can happen and how to deal with them. I travel with a mini pharmacy! Well 5-6 meds to deal with allergies, stomach complaints, inflammation and pain...... just a couple of tabs of each really. To keep me going till I can get to a Doctor.

My doctor gives me strict instructions on when and where to use the meds, most of which are 'just in case' for my use only! (That's important of course. Sharing meds without medical training and a knowledge of the patient's history is a No No.)

It's more a case of........if your Achilles gets really bad in the middle of nowhere and you have to 'walk out' 10 kms to get a taxi to a Doctor........take these.

Of course as many of us know, the medical services in Spain are outstanding !
 
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Lucyk

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Primitivo 2015
Hi Lucy,
There is a reason the Camino is called the way. Once you decided to walk it, somehow if you let it you are always on it. Going to the store or getting health wise better. Climbing an uphill in live or on the way. Your pilgrimage does not need to stop. Yeah the Spanish hill sites are great but most the time a tarmac road is just that.
One of the best things I learnt on the Camino is selfcare. I think you took that with you as well.
Bon Camino
I think that's true. I think I've been on it for decades.
 

Cayou

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015 Villafranca to SdC 2016 St Jean to LosArcos 2018 Leon to SdC 2019 Le Puy to Conques
Small notation on Stomach Flu. Need to be careful with sugary drinks/sodas like your Limon. Bacteria, Virus, and organiisms - LOVE TO BE FED - Especially with Sugars. Trust me, I also love sweets, especially with long long hikes. Best of luck with your recovery. Probiotics help. No sugary yogurt!
 

LiltingBanshee

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2020)
I’m so sorry you had to leave, Lucy. Hope you can return soon. Would be wonderful to read the Camino blog of a historian of medieval Spain. Good luck healing, and BTW Anne of Cleves is buried at Westminster Abbey.
 

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Year of past OR future Camino
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
We all know that for a number of people, maybe a lot of people, their Camino doesn't turn out the way they planned. Maybe they even leave it early. We don't hear much from them. They probably end with a lot of complicated feelings and are not likely to spend time talking in Facebook groups or forums like this one. I'm one of those people whose Camino came to a sudden and unexpected end, and because it doesn't get talked about much in public, I wrote this blog post to explain why I left:
Puente la Reina to Estella
As you can tell, I found a lot that was positive in my short time on the road. As friends told me when I came back, "The Camino isn't going anywhere," and maybe I will try again some day. (And if you are interested, I followed up this post with a long one about Estella, it's lovely churches, and some of its difficult history.)
Get well soon.
 

Delphinoula

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C. PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C.Franconia 2019 C.Algeciras Sevillia 2019
Swabian C. (2020)
Here some remedies that helped me my kids my dogs.
Activated Charcoal pills
Fasting while drinking water.
Black tea if you cannot keep down, make ice cubes out of it (not for small kids)
carrot soup after Dr. Moro a remedy that a physician last century found for babys.
Fasting and rest.
After a couple of days slow food introductions like salt crackers and tea.
 
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alhartman

2005-2017 Delightful 346 days in Spain and France.
Year of past OR future Camino
2017
So sorry you had to leave; but definitely the right decision after reading your blog. There was no real reason for you to push on in Spain.

I would also note that forums like this are mostly self selective--and few with a bad experience join. Many members will post some of their trials, tribulations, failures, but most along the thread that they continued on, overcame the challenges, and (forgetting the true intensity of past pain in its full misery), had a successful and memorable camino.

And the Camino will still be there for another try. And your Camino was still a learning lesson--listening closely to you body. That decision is to be celebrated!

From Kenny Rogers
You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
 

jo webber

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Sept 9th 2017
I had a wonderful Camino. I was unable to finish due to injuring my knee.

The first injury was only 3 days in. So I walked slow and short distances. After a couple of weeks I felt somewhat healed. Then came a 1/2 mile of steep downhill, on pavement. I could no longer walk without extreme pain. Each night I would wake several times trying not to scream out.

So, I became a tourist. The train took me to all of the sites I really wished to see. This was not easy either, to try to walk just small distances. In Cordoba the pain became so intense I went to the hospital emergency room.

After arriving home I saw Drs, went to therapy. I walked with crutches, then a cane. Then small walks without sticks. It's been a year and a half, my knee has now healed but is still weak. I may or may not walk again, life happens. As some here, I am still on my own Camino.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
1989
You definitely made the right decision. As others have said, the Camino isn't going anywhere. It will be there, waiting for you, when you are ready and able to resume. If/when you go back you can start at Estella. Keep your credencial and get your next stamp at Estella right after your last stamp there. Many people do the Camino in stages rather than all in one go.
 

JamesGeier

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF Spring 2016
CF Autumn 2017
VdlP Spring 2021
I cannot agree more with the signature of @Koidream - the Camino will never leave you. And, when you return, @Lucyk, it may be very special.

I walked the Camino Frances in the spring of 2016. On the meseta at Fromista, I became ill, saw a doctor, and continued. At Carrion de los Condes, I was much worse, saw another doctor, and left Carrion de Los Condes in an ambulance to the hospital in Palencia. I was there overnight, recovered, and re-started my Camino in Sahagun, walked to Santiago de Compostela and on to Finisterre.

I walked the Camino Frances again in the autumn of 2017. When I walked out of Carrion de los Condes, it was a truly magical day - 18 months before, I left Carrion de los Condes in an ambulance, and today under a beautiful sunny sky, I was walking on my own power...truly magical.

@Lucyk, I do hope you are able to return and enjoy that beautiful walk from Puenta la Reina to Estella. I suspect you will have a magical day, as I did on the meseta.

Buen Camino,
--jim--
 
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sillydoll

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
In 2014 I was doing a recce for a new 22-day walk from Logroño to Santiago that we would start offering the following year. A friend had asked to join me and I was grateful for her company. We were going to part ways in Astorga as I had to get a bus to El Ferrol where I was meeting a group of pilgrims who I would lead to Santiago on the Camino Ingles.
On Day One, from Logroño to Navarette, I took a step backwards to get a photograph of my friend approaching the village, tripped over a root and fell backwards. I held the camera up in my right hand and put out my left hand to break my fall. What I did was break my left arm at the wrist. (The camera was OK but I didn't get the perfect shot!)
At the hospital in Logroño, where there was no orthopedic registrar, they suggested I return home and have the fracture pinned. They let me go with a gutter splint (a half cast).
I didn't walk right away but got buses, trains, taxis etc between villages all the way to Burgos while my friend walked. At every bus stop and train station, I met walking wounded in casts, on crutches, in bandages etc. There are no stats of injured pilgrims on the Camino but if those I met are a sample of the numbers, the statistics must be quite high.
In Burgos I visited the hospital and they manipulated the fracture and applied a lightweight pop cast. I continued taking buses and trains, and taxis to Astorga.
In Astorga I got a bus to El Ferrol and met my group and led them to Santiago with a cast on my arm. Over a dozen pilgrims asked to take my photograph, perhaps to show their friends a crazy, middle-aged South African woman stubbornly staying on the Camino with a broken arm!
Some of it was stubbornness, some of it was determination. In 2013 I led a group of not-so-able pilgrims from Sarria to Santiago (it took us 17 days). I kept thinking of them - the 74 year-old lady with her walker, the 89 year-old, the mother and daughter with a familial foot problem, and the woman who'd had a tumour the size of an egg removed from her skull the year before which left her wobbly. If they could walk the Camino with their infirmities then so could I.
Having an injury is not the same as being ill; a broken arm is not as serious as a fractured lower limb.
PHOTO: On my right is Bob Spenger - Uncle Bob - who walked with our Camino Ingles group at IMG_1011.JPG age 90. It was his last walk on the Camino and there was no way I was going to cancel and disappoint him!
 

Coachtolife

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Portugues in September
We all know that for a number of people, maybe a lot of people, their Camino doesn't turn out the way they planned. Maybe they even leave it early. We don't hear much from them. They probably end with a lot of complicated feelings and are not likely to spend time talking in Facebook groups or forums like this one. I'm one of those people whose Camino came to a sudden and unexpected end, and because it doesn't get talked about much in public, I wrote this blog post to explain why I left:
Puente la Reina to Estella
As you can tell, I found a lot that was positive in my short time on the road. As friends told me when I came back, "The Camino isn't going anywhere," and maybe I will try again some day. (And if you are interested, I followed up this post with a long one about Estella, it's lovely churches, and some of its difficult history.)
I’m so happy you listened to your body!! Keep healing.
 

Ksalud

Member
We all know that for a number of people, maybe a lot of people, their Camino doesn't turn out the way they planned. Maybe they even leave it early. We don't hear much from them. They probably end with a lot of complicated feelings and are not likely to spend time talking in Facebook groups or forums like this one. I'm one of those people whose Camino came to a sudden and unexpected end, and because it doesn't get talked about much in public, I wrote this blog post to explain why I left:
Puente la Reina to Estella
As you can tell, I found a lot that was positive in my short time on the road. As friends told me when I came back, "The Camino isn't going anywhere," and maybe I will try again some day. (And if you are interested, I followed up this post with a long one about Estella, it's lovely churches, and some of its difficult history.)
 

Old Kiwi

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I understand completely the disappointment at not being able to finish a Camino. In 2016 I got as far as Acebo but could go no further as I was in absolute agony. I got a taxi to Ponferrada and then a bus to Santiago and into a hospital. It turned out that I had celulitis and an infection in the bones of my left leg. After a week I was able (with a lot of help) to get to London where, my son lives, and into hospital there. I was there for three weeks before recovering enough to get back to New Zealand and into hospital for another three weeks. Another six months of treatment and I was able to walk again. But now for the good news. Three weeks from today, I will be somewhere between St Jean and Roncesvalles. I am going to start again and am determined to go all of the way to Finisterre.
 
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nycwalking

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
I understand completely the disappointment at not being able to finish a Camino. In 2016 I got as far as Acebo but could go no further as I was in absolute agony. I got a taxi to Ponferrada and then a bus to Santiago and into a hospital. It turned out that I had celulitis and an infection in the bones of my left leg. After a week I was able (with a lot of help) to get to London where, my son lives, and into hospital there. I was there for three weeks before recovering enough to get back to New Zealand and into hospital for another three weeks. Another six months of treatment and I was able to walk again. But now for the good news. Three weeks from today, I will be somewhere between St Jean and Roncesvalles. I am going to start again and am determined to go all of the way to Finisterre.

What a testimony.

Buen camino and excellent health and wealth to you.
 

Dancing Rain

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Salvado (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Thanks for sharing @Lucyk and hope you are feeling better.
You made the right call without doubt!

I recall reading a similar story last year, in the same area.........

Having to go home, is something we all dread I think.
We push ourselves on and hope things will get better.
Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.

Hopefully you'll get back to the Camino one day soon.

I'll share a story that I have told here before.

On my first Camino I really struggled physically. Mainly because I was unfit and overweight and had injured myself training.

After about 15 kms each day my Achilles Tendons would be screaming at me.
But with stretching, icing, rest, meds.......I would press on.
I honestly did not expect to make it to Santiago.
I just enjoyed each day as it came, as if it might be my last on the Camino..........

But it was not the physical strain that had me thinking of going home.
It was the emotional strain.......... Don't underestimate it.

Just prior to Leon............I had a tough choice to make.



It was about 2 hours out of Leon……. (the short version)

I’d hit a real low point. I really felt my Camino was coming to an end. That I needed to go home. That it was selfish to continue this journey. I was struggling, really struggling. (My wife was home alone dealing with her sick Father) I had been grappling with this decision for days.......

I just stopped at the side of the path.

I dropped to my knees with tears in my eyes.
I grasped a rosary that a Catholic friend had loaned me, as I did each day when saying my thank you….

I looked up and asked. “OK. How is this supposed to work? Do you give me a sign or something?
I’m really struggling with this decision. I feel like I should go home. But should I complete this journey? Over to You……….”


Not really feeling any better, I stood up and continued along the path…….


ONE.

After about 300 metres, I saw an old man with a dog walking towards me. He was stooped a little, probably about 70 years of age. He looked a bit like a Shepherd.

As we got closer, I glanced up. Looked at him and said Buenos Dias. As he replied he smiled and our eyes met.

A chill went down my spine and I stopped in my tracks, as he walked past. After a few moments I turned to look the way he had gone. He also turned and gave me a wave.

The hair stood up on the back of my neck. During that brief greeting and warm smile, the eyes looking back at me were unmistakable. They were the loving eyes of my late Father.

Wow. What just happened I thought….. That was a very clear encouragement, from above, from beyond? Who knows? But it was Dad behind that smile! 100%…..


TWO.

As I was reflecting on this potential ‘sign’ I started up a small hill. I paused for reflection and to take a drink. Not 300 metres beyond where I had seen the man.

My phone rang! Due to the problems at home I made sure I was easily contactable. Though no one normally called me. I usually checked in with them when I could.
So most days I spoke to my wife, by calling her, not her calling me.. (The issue at home was….. that her Father was very sick….)

It was my wife. Her voice was really upbeat and lifting. I asked her how her Dad was, and that I was thinking I should come home. No way she said! How can you help anyway? You’re not a Heart Surgeon! Finish the journey ‘for us’ she said…..

I so needed that call. That call. Right then………

Feeling much better, I now quickened my step towards Leon. Surely only another hour away.


THREE

With a bit more of a spring in my step, I started off along the gravel track….

Not two minutes later. I heard a familiar voice behind me. An Aussie Twang…..

“Hey Robo, how're you going mate”!

It was Rob from Melbourne whom I hadn’t seen in well over a week. A chirpy character with whom I’d shared some long and deep conversations whilst walking and over a glass or two of Vino Tinto…..

He clapped me on the back as he came level and we shared our journeys of where we’d been and who we’d seen since we last met. His pace was faster than mine and it was a struggle to keep up…., with my achilles injuries. But I needed this connection.. ….. Right now I needed it.

So I quickened my pace for 15 minutes or so whilst we chatted and then bid him farewell, expecting to see him down the track at some stage. I did, about 2 weeks later……

I paused for a moment as he ‘took off’ down the track with effortless long strides……

What the heck had just happened!!!!!

In a time of need I had asked for guidance. And in the space of 5 minutes, I was given a sign. One…..Two…..Three!

Amazing things can happen on the Camino………


I was all set to go home once I reached Leon............

What a lovely reminder of “the shepherds” that came & guided us on our first camino ..... they touched my heart ...... and I had the time and space to deeply grieve for my father who had died five years previously. .... so blessed ......
 

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