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2019 Camino Guides

Not what I expected but...

Storyteller Matt

Storyteller Matt
Camino(s) past & future
I am planning to walk a portion of the Camino in Oct (2018)
#1
I am day 2 on the Camino. Started in Sarria. Right now in an albergue in Ventas de Narón. Can't sleep. 1:30 am.

I don't know what I'm feeling at the moment. This is one of the hardest things I have ever done. The film The Way, and all the talk of spiritual connection on the Camino, do romanticize the experience. But it is bloody hard work.

I have had my moments, of course. And there are times when the exhaustion and pain bring me closer to the Spirit of the Universe (as I understand it). Other times, the pain makes me stop and shout aloud to no one, "This is the worst idea I've ever had."

The worst part of this journey is that I feel alone. I haven't bonded with anyone yet, and both nights so far, the pilgrims haved "cliqued up" and I'm kind of left out. This is odd because I am a social creature in the "real" world, able to assimilate into any group. The Camino has brought out different aspects of my personality.

All this time, I have walked alone. Other pilgrims are faster or slower than I want to go. I am okay with this. I talk to the Camino, my late father (whom I walk to honor), the beloved cat that I lost this summer, the Higher Power of my understanding. I don't really feel their presence, but I talk to them.

I will finish my modest 114 km to Santiago. I will earn my Compostela, although that seems less important to me now. I will press on, and I will finish. I'm not sure why I'm doing this now. I'm not sure why I started. But I'm here, and as the AA Big Book says, more will be revealed to us later.

PS: The Wise Pilgrim Guide, sold on this site, has been a lifesaver. There you go, Ivar. Free promotion!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk June "2017"
#4
Can I ask, what pain? If your only day 2 from Sarria, are you doing big miles? Unfit? What exactly. Forget about the movies, they can and often do romticise everything. I know I struggled with the heat and often found I couldn’t sleep much before 1:30 when the temps seemed to drop. Keep going, it can be surprising who drops by to help you on your way....... I have had the pleasure of much fitter, faster, younger Pilgrims, drop to my pace and spend a while chatting which helped me along the way greatly and left me the better for such blessings.

David.
 
Camino(s) past & future
'Portuguese,Frances,Norte,Salvador/primitivo,Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, VDLP spring19
#5
Hi Matt
You mention you’re a social guy.
Next time you’re passing someone, being passed, stopped for a break ; say hi to a stranger. Sometimes the person you’d least expect to bond with is a hidden gem.
If you are feeling that company is some you’re looking for., let it be known.
You may be seeing many groups that started way back and sometimes they may not even think that you are alone. They may feel you’re choosing to be. If they don’t think to invite you ., just ask if you can join them..
I hope you’re feeling uplifted soon
Buen Camino
Annie
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#6
You are only on Day 2 @Storyteller Matt ;)

It generally takes me a few days to get into the Groove. You need to get used to the routine etc.

By the last day, you should be loving it :D This is unfortunately the problem with a relatively short Camino I think. You don't get time to get used to it and go through those 3 phases. Physical, Emotional, Spiritual...... Each can take a few days in my experience.

The loneliness can be tough. Never so lonely as in a crowd. I often feel the most lonely on Camino when I'm in a really full/busy place. Just a deep sense of sadness sometimes.....

You need to snap out of it buddy. And that's not easy. I have found myself in a a bit of a funk for 2 or 3 days a couple of times.

Things I find that help:

When you are stopping for a break or a meal and someone is alone, ask if you can join them. Often they will be glad of the company too!

Make a point to say Hi to people along the way. Conversations will often start, really interesting ones!

Stick with it ;)

Just as an afternote (1): IMHO the section from Sarria does have a very different 'vibe' from the earlier Frances section. Not bad, just different.

The people starting in Sarria are often part of a Group. Sometimes very large noisy groups. And quite naturally they tend to stick to themselves. Though this year we had fun chatting to a group of ladies who were part of the church group from the USA, complete with gigantic support bus!

The people walking from further away may have already formed friendships and 'camino families' by the time they reach Sarria. So they havev their own social group too.

And for others walking from further away, they may view the section from Sarria as merely the final straight! I felt a bit like that the first time. When you have walked almost 700 kms already, on reaching Sarria, you are 'almost there' and maybe are just looking forward to finishing.

But having said all that. The part from Sarria is really nice. Lovely scenery, and a real 'buzz' in the air. It can just be a bit busy depending on the time of year.

My first time walking that section, I made a point of talking to new people every day, so that I wouldn't slide into the long walker v short walker mentality. The 'long walkers' are easy to spot and are often just head down trying to finish. The 'short walkers' are full of energy and enjoying every step :)

I made sure I chatted with a few 'short walkers;' every day. Their energy was infectious. And I needed it! ;)
I mean no disrespect using the terms short and long walkers! It's an easier way to describe the dynamics that's all. :)

And an after note (2) I was just re reading a similar post from way back and someone used a wonderful phrase.

Embrace the Suck! :eek:

Don't fight it. go with the flow. And the big secret for me? Start each day looking for something really good! Anything. A place, a view, a cute dog, an amazing building, a quiet church in which to think, an interesting person to say hello to, a nice rock to sit on whilst you sit to listen to the wind blow through the trees. It's all there...............you just need to be looking for it ;) These things feed the soul and your spirits.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago 2017
#7
Matt - Everything is right on schedule. You are only a few days in. Powering through days as you describe is part of it. It is part of the experience. It is part of the accomplishment. When you feel beat, just stop, take a break, pause to see what and who are around you. I recommend you find a few people who have been walking for weeks. By the time I got to Sarria I had been at it for 5 weeks and the new walkers were a lot of fun to get to know. They will encourage you and you can energize them. But don't quit. You are almost there! Buen Camino.
 

Cybermum

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances may 2019 Portuguese Feb 2019
#10
Have you thought about what energy you are giving out ? Perhaps it's one of slight fear and negativity. People naturally stay away from those energies subconsciously. My friend felt down at a festival and said people were ignoring here when all people were doing is getting on their own business. Pilgrimages were never meant to be easy and every experience is a learning experience. When alone you have time to watch and learn. Be the first to say hello . Everyone is wonderful!!!!Good luck xxxx
 

Storyteller Matt

Storyteller Matt
Camino(s) past & future
I am planning to walk a portion of the Camino in Oct (2018)
#12
6:30 am now. Just woke up. I want to thank everyone for the encouragement. I will abide and endure. I did make a couple of friends the first night, but they left the albergue early because they had been on the Camino since Pamplona and wanted to go farther.

To answer a couple of of your questions, it might be best to give a brief narrative so far.

First of all, I am in good shape. I've been training for this Camino for a year, working up to.my daily goal distances first, then adding my pack to my training. I've been doing the last bit of training in the Florida heat and humidity, much worse conditions than the cool.October in Spain. If there is one thing I lacked, it was inclines to train for climbing.

Second, I flew into Nice to stay with friends for a week to get acclimated to the time change. While on the Riviera, I took.my annual hikes up Chemin de Nietzsche to Exercise and Chemin de La Turbie above Monaco as last-minute prep.

I know what my mistakes were first day. I flew in to Madrid the afternoon before, then took a red-eye train to Sarria. I was only going to walk a little ways the first day, but I slept well on the train and set out overconfident.

Further down the Camino, I realized I did not have all the provisions I needed, and places to get them were not appearing. Someone told me I would not find a grocer until Portomarin. I was feeling good, so I thought, what the hell? I'll press on to Portomarin.

23 km. When I was only going to walk 10 to 15 that day. Some people say we are "humble" pilgrims. Well, I didn't start out that way. The Camino has humbled me.

Mid-afternoon, pilgrims were fewer. I stopped to go use the bathroom in the woods. I saw many pilgrims walk by. When I re-emerged onto the Camino, they were well ahead of me. I lost sight of them in Ferreiros.

Okay, you know how a few hundred meters outside Ferreiros, the Camino veers off the paved road to the right, and the marker is slightly hidden behind the embankment? I walked right past it. I was striding along, smiling, singing Bowie songs because I liked the way my voice echoed across the hills (seriously, "Life On Mars"). I walked all the way to the bottom of the hill, about 1 km, then had to walk back up, adding two km to my journey.

Looking back, I see day one as a day of learning. I see every mistake I made. Day two, I only walked 12 km and stopped early afternoon. You took the afternoon to redistribute the weight in my pack and assess the next few days to Santiago.

I admit I am less social because I am so tired, and because I've spent a lot of time looking inward. I'm told back home I have a rather attractive vibe (one guy told me on my birthday, "I don't need to wish you happy birthday because you're already the happiest guy I know"), but it's not coming out here. So I'm going to look at that as I continue down the road.

I've changed my goals for the moment. Shorter days walking. More time resting. Continue stretching and yoga, which I do every evening (yesterday, I even did a vinyasa flow on those stone picnic tables just before Gonzar). The hardest part is hearing much older walkers boast to their friends about how far they're walking ("Sorry, love, we have another 50 km to go and only have an hour before tea"). I'm 55 and in great shape, but those folks make me think I'm not working hard enough.

Again, I will persevere, and I am learning from my mistakes. Geez, I've been writing on my phone here for an hour. I better get breakfast and get back out there.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#13
Comparing yourself to others is always a lost cause, @Storyteller Matt .
Better than...worse than...even equal to...every bit of it is a potential source of pain.
Find your own right pace and settle in to that, and who cares how fast or slow you go. It's a camino not a competition.
Happy walking today - buen camino, peregrino.
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
July 2019: Cammino di Assisi (La Verna to Assisi)
#16
A couple thoughts, beyond all the good stuff that’s been said:

- I walked alone most days. I liked it that way. The few days I walked with a partner were lovely and magical, but they were the exception.

- You are in a strange part of the Camino. I was in Galicia in October, and towns either had many hundreds of pilgrims, or only three to five individuals. Since it looks like you’re walking your own stages rather than what the guides tell you to do (a good thing), I’d just accept this as ‘your’ Camino.

- It can be difficult being a solo walker when you stop at a place that’s dominated by Camino ‘families.’ No matter how friendly everyone is, it’s going to feel weird. Just know that there are thousands of people who felt the same way!

- I never had any one single moment that approached anything transcendental. The sum total of the walk did, though.

- I really really really hope that this walk ends on a positive note and that you come back to walk 30 days. Or 60. Or 90.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Frances July 2017
#18
Hey Matt,

I think it's great that you feel comfortable sharing that things aren't going as you imagined, the people on this forum are generally here because we've loved it and a counterview is most valuable.

I fear two of the issues you are having are just a symptom of other people deciding to start somewhere further up the trail. Even a relative slob like me can get the hang of this long distance walking thing if I'm given three weeks of doing it all day every day, so don't beat yourself up about that, the people you see walking 30Km+ now were probably not doing quite so well on their second day.

I'm afraid on my first camino I was certainly guilty of the clique thing, my companions and I became very close and were very protective of the relationship we built up. Much to my shame this went as far as (after about three days) very pointedly telling a guy who had tried to join our group that he wasn't welcome, something I would never have done back home and still have occasion to reflect upon. It really wasn't any judgement on him, just trying to preserve a dynamic that we knew would only last until Santiago and then be gone forever, still it was selfish. The good news is that I certainly changed my ways second time around and our group was far more open, though I can still imagine that to those looking from the outside this may not have been obvious.

It also strikes me that you're a little down on the fact that you are only walking a "modest 114km". There's nothing modest about walking 114kms, especially in the hills and mountains of Galicia, ask most people you meet back home how they'd feel about walking that far and it might bring some context to what you're doing, it is hard and for me at least that was what was ultimately rewarding.

If you have time I strongly suggest you carry on to Finisterre, a lot of groups tend to break up once they get to Santiago and people may be more open. But that isn't to say you should give up on engaging now, you will find people who I'm sure will be more than happy to include you.

Buen Camino,

Rob.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#19
This is one of the hardest things I have ever done.
That truth is infrequently found in the Forum! Somehow the Camino has gotten the reputation of being easy. Maybe the bouncy stride of the aged Martin Sheen contributed to that!

With perseverance it is quite doable; 300,000+ annual compostelas prove that. But it is hard physically and mentally, and your post shows that. In you five to six days of walking, you really will not hit the total exhaustion wall that many pilgrims hit after about two weeks. Since they physically have become much stronger from the two weeks of half-marathons, the wall is mostly mental with some blood chemistry, blisters, sleep deprivation, and joint aches thrown in.

Thank you for the insightful comments. The Camino in Spain is really about the other pilgrims, so I hope you can find that. Pilgrimages in France are much more about France and the French, with pilgrims, mostly French, more of an appendix. Try a walk in France to see the difference, and they are hard, too!
 

Dancing Rain

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Salvado (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
#20
Walk your own Camino. Often the first ten days are the most challenging.....and then we let go into what it is .... let go of our preconceptions .... and be in what it is.....accepting. Be gentle on yourself ..... your body, your being is unique... and your Camino will be uniquely your own. Buen Camino
 

SRutledge

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
plan to walk in 2018
#21
I did your exact same journey last spring. Yes some people are judge-y ("St James didn't start in Sarria") but most are not. If you're a bit down - look around, where you are, isnt it amazing that you got there? I too saw many people older than me, doing much better - I learned that many Europeans have walked all their lives - and me, being NOrth American, we live a car culture. Walking is "weird" for most people. SO I wasnt as fast but I finished. I would suggest you go to Finisterre even if its a bus tour. The day I left Santiago, i saw a group of pilgrims leaving for Finisterre - i almost wept because I realized I could have done that, and prolonged the sense of achievement and joy. Buen camino friend!
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#22
"St James didn't start in Sarria"
Maybe he did! While his wanderings, if any, are unknown, they are likely to have ranged in the area of Galicia. His remains supposedly arrived in the vicinity of Padron, a city much closer to Santiago de Compostela than Sarria. If being carried is still a "pilgrimage," then Santiago did not go far!!!;)

No compostela for him.:mad:
 

SRutledge

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
plan to walk in 2018
#23
Before I left I was conscious that i was "only" walking 114 KM. not the whole Camino. And I got over that. But one day I saw that little message about St James spray painted on one of the stone markers ! Rude!
 

Traa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I want to walk Camino in Sept/Oct 2017
#24
Comparing/competing with others?! Who are you doing this Camino for? Sounds like you prepped well physically, not so much psychologically....
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#26
Hi Matt, not sure if will be still in Santiago that day, but it might also help others. There are now AA meetings in English every last Saturday of the month here in Santiago, see attachment with contact info. IMG_2773.JPG

Buen Camino, SY
 

Daxzentzu

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
FRANCES (2018) in planning
#27
I am day 2 on the Camino. Started in Sarria. Right now in an albergue in Ventas de Narón. Can't sleep. 1:30 am.

I don't know what I'm feeling at the moment. This is one of the hardest things I have ever done. The film The Way, and all the talk of spiritual connection on the Camino, do romanticize the experience. But it is bloody hard work.

I have had my moments, of course. And there are times when the exhaustion and pain bring me closer to the Spirit of the Universe (as I understand it). Other times, the pain makes me stop and shout aloud to no one, "This is the worst idea I've ever had."

The worst part of this journey is that I feel alone. I haven't bonded with anyone yet, and both nights so far, the pilgrims haved "cliqued up" and I'm kind of left out. This is odd because I am a social creature in the "real" world, able to assimilate into any group. The Camino has brought out different aspects of my personality.

All this time, I have walked alone. Other pilgrims are faster or slower than I want to go. I am okay with this. I talk to the Camino, my late father (whom I walk to honor), the beloved cat that I lost this summer, the Higher Power of my understanding. I don't really feel their presence, but I talk to them.

I will finish my modest 114 km to Santiago. I will earn my Compostela, although that seems less important to me now. I will press on, and I will finish. I'm not sure why I'm doing this now. I'm not sure why I started. But I'm here, and as the AA Big Book says, more will be revealed to us later.

PS: The Wise Pilgrim Guide, sold on this site, has been a lifesaver. There you go, Ivar. Free promotion!
A very personal insight thank you. I appreciate your candour and support your every step

Some people are unaffected and for them it’s just another walk

As they say “it’s not how you start it’s how you finish” and I wish you buen Camino

I’d really like to know how you’re getting on
 

Storyteller Matt

Storyteller Matt
Camino(s) past & future
I am planning to walk a portion of the Camino in Oct (2018)
#28
End of day 3. A very good day.

I had two dreams last night. Not sure if I mentioned them. In one of them, my late father was telling me, "You don't listen, you're not listening." When I insisted that I was, he said, "No, you're not listening."

So I listened today. I heard a lot of wind whispering in the trees. It occurred to me that the original root of "spirit" is "breath," and in the AA Big Book, four times God is referred to as the Spirit of the Universe. Perhaps upon listening, I was hearing the universe breathing?

The second dream was about being followed by giant ants. I had no idea I would see giant ants for real at Portos later that day. Weird.

I thank you for your comments, especially the admission by one of you that you actually excluded another pilgrim on your first walk. I don't judge you, man, because I was once the same way. Today, I'm the opposite. My close friends even tease me because when we're out in public, the misfits and lost souls are drawn to me because they sense that I accept them. My buddies will say, "New best friend tonight, Matt?"

With no tribe on the Camino, I don't really have too many opportunities to connect with outcasts looking for an in. I did have one cool moment day one where a bizarre Italian man who acted like Ramon in The Way was singing Opera and so I joined him in the final strains of "Nessum Dorma."

Anyway, today I was mostly alone and okay with it. I'm beginning to think it is supposed to be that way. At the albergue in Ventas de Narón, I offered to provide ear plugs since I snored, and someone said, "Why don't you sleep in the next room? No one else is using it."

So I was exiled from the room, set apart from everyone else.

Tonight, I was the first to check into the albergue in Palas de Rei. They showed me to my bed, then put everyone who checked in after in the opposite room! So again, I have a room to myself.

I shouldn't complain about that, because it's kind of nice, but two nights in a row tells me the universe wants me to do this alone.

Nonetheless, a good walk today. We shall see what tomorrow brings.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#30
Matt, thanks for your posts. Another take on your solitary night time confinement: you are one lucky guy! You do not have to put up with any other snorer! Look, we hear you! We are walking with you! Be who you are, where you are. Look for nothing, and you will get everything... eventually. Keep talking to us. We are listening.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#31
Sadly you started off at a sprint and not a marathon but it sounds like you've slowed down a bit.

Take you're time. Santiago isn't going anywhere and is sitting there, patiently waiting for you.

As others have said, it's all right for you to make the opening overtures - mine was brewing tea by the side of the road. I met up with an Irish/Canadian friend last week and, as we reminisced she said "Do you remember how we first me? You were making tea . . . " that was 17 years ago.

Two further points: that's right, St James didn't start in Sarria, he started in Palestine but came by boat (Camino Palestinian?) and, if you ask for the Certificate of Distance it will say "118kms" a bonus 4 kms!

Seriously, keep focused, eyes on the target and you'll do it - WW1 marching songs and long (imaginary) chats with my daughters helped me!

Best wishes.
 

CdnDreamer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2015 & 2018) San Salvador (2018)
#32
@Storyteller Matt - I'm glad to see you are relaxing into the experience and accepting what comes. Your story of being exiled reminded me of the same feeling on my journey this spring.

I walked the Salvador (9 days) with 2 women this spring and then they went off to the sunny south of Spain and I took the train back to Leon to walk the Frances. They asked if I wanted to come along, but I was determined to continue walking even though it was raining almost every day.

I was feeling alone and sorry for myself about leaving them and I got on the train. I was the only person in the front car. There were only a couple of people in car 2. The rest of the train was full. It took a while, but eventually I just laughed - the universe was providing me with more time to feel sorry for myself and to continue feeling all alone. That night, I met a wonderful woman and walked the Frances with her.

I think the camino teaches us to accept what comes along and to know we are on the right path in life. I don't know the meaning of dreams, but your dreams sound amazing - like you are on the right path.

I think you are beginning to see the camino magic!
 

Storyteller Matt

Storyteller Matt
Camino(s) past & future
I am planning to walk a portion of the Camino in Oct (2018)
#33
Just a note. The graffiti I saw said JESUS DIDN'T START IN SARRIA.

I haven't seen the one pertaining to St. James.

The graffiti seems to be the work of some poor insecure soul who wants recognition for his labors and resents that those who start in Sarria get a Compostela same as those who start further out.

Seems his Jesus told a parable about the man who hired workers at various times of the day and paid the same wages to each. Matthew 20: 12-16:

"‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.

I mean, if he's going to invoke the name of the Carpenter, he should know the Carpenter's work.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#34
My fried took a picture if it 7F4BB501-96E9-4EA6-8AA3-F499F3E119A1.jpeg
Is that the one?
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#35
My condolences to you for starting in Sarria. When I do it again, I’ll skip that stretch.

As a 36 yr friend of Bill W, I assure you more will be revealed.

My suggestion is to finish this year, go home and think it over. Come back and start at the other end, you’l get a different perspective.
Nothing wrong with starting in Sarria, it's a lovely walk from there to Santiago.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#36
Tonight, I was the first to check into the albergue in Palas de Rei. They showed me to my bed, then put everyone who checked in after in the opposite room! So again, I have a room to myself.

I shouldn't complain about that, because it's kind of nice, but two nights in a row tells me the universe wants me to do this alone.
.
Or........you are being blessed with good fortune :)

One of my biggest Camino 'lessons', when I was a bit down, was to look for the good in everything.
And it was always there, and I could see it, if I was open to it.

You're going well. Buen Camino ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#37
Hey @Storyteller Matt . You might come across an old friend of mine in the next day or two. I'm sure he'll raise your Spirits. Look out for him just after Amenal I think. He'll put a smile on your face and into your heart :) You'll know him when you see him. He's always there. Rain or shine.

Other Forum members will know of him and will have read this story of my first meeting with him.....

Tomas had a profound impact on me when I first met him in 2015.

But Sharing Camino friends later, with others, might not always work.

If you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, you probably have your own friends as well as mutual friends. And your friends are probably quite different from your partner’s friends. …

I’m sure the same happens on the Camino. You ‘click’ with others of a certain type.

But what if you walked your first Camino alone. And your second with your ‘life partner’? And along the way you dropped in to visit a really good friend. This happened to me last month.

Would Pat like him? Or just think he was some ancient weirdo that she could not really engage with? That was my dilemma.

But I took a chance. And a degree of risk. After all, introducing those with whom we’ve formed strong bonds, is really a reflection of us too, isn’t it?

For the sake of telling the story I’ll change names and places to avoid hordes of people seeking out Tomas. I’m not sure he would appreciate all the attention.

I met him during my first Camino last year. I walked a very slow Camino. I mean really slow.
It took me 40 days to get from St Jean to Santiago. And even then I had to jump forward a day to make up time.

But it was the walk of a lifetime. Sure I was injured. I was actually carrying injuries at the start that were caused during training. The dreaded Achilles tendonitis. But I coped.

Some days were like heaven. If you have walked a Camino yourself, you’ll know what I mean. Life just seems so damned good! I felt on top of the world Probably the happiest in my life.

But other days were the pits. Walking alone perhaps added to the gloom. Pits of pain and despair. Wondering why I was doing this? Should I go home? Was it all worth it?

There were a few days or part days like that. More than a few actually. And 2 or 3 ‘bad’ days in a row were really hard to snap out of.

But something always did snap me out of it. Either a self-inflicted ‘kick up the backside’ or sometimes an incident or a ‘Camino Angel’ (1) changing the mood dramatically.

I called these my Camino ‘moments’.

They were often moments of great peace and enhanced spirituality. Or moments involving places of immense beauty or often through chance encounters with others along the way….

And so it was when I met Tomas. …

It was during the last 100 km of the Camino Frances. My injuries had got worse. I was down to walking only 10-12 km per day and was eager to finish and go home. Every day was painful.

And every day I was trying to come to terms with how the ‘final 100’ was so different from the earlier stages of the Camino Frances.

I was trying to embrace the difference.

The crowds, the heightened level of commercialism, the hordes of ‘whooping’ cyclists.

And I managed. …. on the whole. I accepted that this section was just different and was to be appreciated for different qualities and experiences.

And Tomas was part of that learning process. I met him in the last few days. I won’t say where.

I saw him from a distance. He looked as old as the hills themselves.

Weathered by who knows how many winters and summers.

I was having a tough day when I stopped to spend time with Tomas. But I was drawn to him in some way. Perhaps the sense that he would somehow share with me the wisdom of the ages or make everything better like a welcome hug from a dearly loved grandfather. Yes….we hugged. Tomas is like that. And we spent quite a while enjoying each other’s company.

I left promising to visit him on my next Camino and with my spirits soaring all the way into Santiago.

And so a year passed. Almost to the day.

I was now walking my second Camino. This time with my wife Pat.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to mention Tomas or not. Maybe just ‘drop in’ and see if she enjoyed his company as much as I did.

But then I was no longer worried about what she might think of my old friend. After all, who wouldn’t love Tomas? OK, there was a small amount of trepidation. What if she thought I was weird being drawn to a friend like Tomas?

And then I could not remember exactly where he lived! But I knew I would recognise the place as soon as I saw it. And him.

So I told Pat about Tomas as we were walking. “I think we’ll meet Tomas today I told her. But I was wrong. It was the next day….

I spotted the curve in the path and knew this was where he lived.

“He’s just around that corner” I told Pat. “You’ll know him when you see him” I told her. And she did….

“Is that Tomas” she cried out, her face lighting up with joy. We were still 200 meters away …. “Yes”, I said. “That’s him”.

I spent a moment with him getting reacquainted and then introduced Pat.

I sat back and just watched…. After all, who could not love Tomas. And she did too. It was that obvious.

And she got a hug! A long lasting one that she didn’t want to break from. I took a picture of them together.

Her spirits lifted. Just like mine had the year before. She was almost skipping along the path and for the first time…. started talking about our ‘next’ Camino.

It was almost as if by meeting Tomas, she now understood what the Camino is really all about.

Tomas must have seen hundreds of thousands of pilgrims pass by. And I’m sure quite a few got hugs just like we did……

I asked Pat what it was like hugging Tomas.

She thought for a moment, and said. “It was like hugging God“. And you know, that’s exactly what I felt. Last year and this.

I’d love to know how old Tomas is.
If I had to guess? 200….
you see Tomas is a tree.
A huge, strong, beautiful tree.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#38
Hey @Storyteller Matt . You might come across an old friend of mine in the next day or two. I'm sure he'll raise your Spirits. Look out for him just after Amenal I think. He'll put a smile on your face and into your heart :) You'll know him when you see him. He's always there. Rain or shine.

Other Forum members will know of him and will have read this story of my first meeting with him.....

Tomas had a profound impact on me when I first met him in 2015.

But Sharing Camino friends later, with others, might not always work.

If you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, you probably have your own friends as well as mutual friends. And your friends are probably quite different from your partner’s friends. …

I’m sure the same happens on the Camino. You ‘click’ with others of a certain type.

But what if you walked your first Camino alone. And your second with your ‘life partner’? And along the way you dropped in to visit a really good friend. This happened to me last month.

Would Pat like him? Or just think he was some ancient weirdo that she could not really engage with? That was my dilemma.

But I took a chance. And a degree of risk. After all, introducing those with whom we’ve formed strong bonds, is really a reflection of us too, isn’t it?

For the sake of telling the story I’ll change names and places to avoid hordes of people seeking out Tomas. I’m not sure he would appreciate all the attention.

I met him during my first Camino last year. I walked a very slow Camino. I mean really slow.
It took me 40 days to get from St Jean to Santiago. And even then I had to jump forward a day to make up time.

But it was the walk of a lifetime. Sure I was injured. I was actually carrying injuries at the start that were caused during training. The dreaded Achilles tendonitis. But I coped.

Some days were like heaven. If you have walked a Camino yourself, you’ll know what I mean. Life just seems so damned good! I felt on top of the world Probably the happiest in my life.

But other days were the pits. Walking alone perhaps added to the gloom. Pits of pain and despair. Wondering why I was doing this? Should I go home? Was it all worth it?

There were a few days or part days like that. More than a few actually. And 2 or 3 ‘bad’ days in a row were really hard to snap out of.

But something always did snap me out of it. Either a self-inflicted ‘kick up the backside’ or sometimes an incident or a ‘Camino Angel’ (1) changing the mood dramatically.

I called these my Camino ‘moments’.

They were often moments of great peace and enhanced spirituality. Or moments involving places of immense beauty or often through chance encounters with others along the way….

And so it was when I met Tomas. …

It was during the last 100 km of the Camino Frances. My injuries had got worse. I was down to walking only 10-12 km per day and was eager to finish and go home. Every day was painful.

And every day I was trying to come to terms with how the ‘final 100’ was so different from the earlier stages of the Camino Frances.

I was trying to embrace the difference.

The crowds, the heightened level of commercialism, the hordes of ‘whooping’ cyclists.

And I managed. …. on the whole. I accepted that this section was just different and was to be appreciated for different qualities and experiences.

And Tomas was part of that learning process. I met him in the last few days. I won’t say where.

I saw him from a distance. He looked as old as the hills themselves.

Weathered by who knows how many winters and summers.

I was having a tough day when I stopped to spend time with Tomas. But I was drawn to him in some way. Perhaps the sense that he would somehow share with me the wisdom of the ages or make everything better like a welcome hug from a dearly loved grandfather. Yes….we hugged. Tomas is like that. And we spent quite a while enjoying each other’s company.

I left promising to visit him on my next Camino and with my spirits soaring all the way into Santiago.

And so a year passed. Almost to the day.

I was now walking my second Camino. This time with my wife Pat.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to mention Tomas or not. Maybe just ‘drop in’ and see if she enjoyed his company as much as I did.

But then I was no longer worried about what she might think of my old friend. After all, who wouldn’t love Tomas? OK, there was a small amount of trepidation. What if she thought I was weird being drawn to a friend like Tomas?

And then I could not remember exactly where he lived! But I knew I would recognise the place as soon as I saw it. And him.

So I told Pat about Tomas as we were walking. “I think we’ll meet Tomas today I told her. But I was wrong. It was the next day….

I spotted the curve in the path and knew this was where he lived.

“He’s just around that corner” I told Pat. “You’ll know him when you see him” I told her. And she did….

“Is that Tomas” she cried out, her face lighting up with joy. We were still 200 meters away …. “Yes”, I said. “That’s him”.

I spent a moment with him getting reacquainted and then introduced Pat.

I sat back and just watched…. After all, who could not love Tomas. And she did too. It was that obvious.

And she got a hug! A long lasting one that she didn’t want to break from. I took a picture of them together.

Her spirits lifted. Just like mine had the year before. She was almost skipping along the path and for the first time…. started talking about our ‘next’ Camino.

It was almost as if by meeting Tomas, she now understood what the Camino is really all about.

Tomas must have seen hundreds of thousands of pilgrims pass by. And I’m sure quite a few got hugs just like we did……

I asked Pat what it was like hugging Tomas.

She thought for a moment, and said. “It was like hugging God“. And you know, that’s exactly what I felt. Last year and this.

I’d love to know how old Tomas is.
If I had to guess? 200….
you see Tomas is a tree.
A huge, strong, beautiful tree.
I always say that trees are old souls. I truly believe that. Tomas was one of those old souls.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (Sept 2016)
SDC/ Finesterre/ Muxia (2016)
#39
We know people who spend a fair bit of money to have the privilege of sleeping alone and you are getting it for no extra!
When it isn't what you want, but seems to recur, you're right- you are being gifted something for a reason.

I would bet that, in this Camino, having a room to yourself provides ample time for prayer and meditation. (something I found near possible in the common rooms) How precious to have time as you so aptly put it to listen
I too looked for fellowship on my Way even having a triangle on the back of my pack with nary anyone commenting
Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019), Portuguese (2019)
#41
You are only on Day 2 @Storyteller Matt ;)

It generally takes me a few days to get into the Groove. You need to get used to the routine etc.

By the last day, you should be loving it :D This is unfortunately the problem with a relatively short Camino I think. You don't get time to get used to it and go through those 3 phases. Physical, Emotional, Spiritual...... Each can take a few days in my experience.

The loneliness can be tough. Never so lonely as in a crowd. I often feel the most lonely on Camino when I'm in a really full/busy place. Just a deep sense of sadness sometimes.....

You need to snap out of it buddy. And that's not easy. I have found myself in a a bit of a funk for 2 or 3 days a couple of times.

Things I find that help:

When you are stopping for a break or a meal and someone is alone, ask if you can join them. Often they will be glad of the company too!

Make a point to say Hi to people along the way. Conversations will often start, really interesting ones!

Stick with it ;)

Just as an afternote (1): IMHO the section from Sarria does have a very different 'vibe' from the earlier Frances section. Not bad, just different.

The people starting in Sarria are often part of a Group. Sometimes very large noisy groups. And quite naturally they tend to stick to themselves. Though this year we had fun chatting to a group of ladies who were part of the church group from the USA, complete with gigantic support bus!

The people walking from further away may have already formed friendships and 'camino families' by the time they reach Sarria. So they havev their own social group too.

And for others walking from further away, they may view the section from Sarria as merely the final straight! I felt a bit like that the first time. When you have walked almost 700 kms already, on reaching Sarria, you are 'almost there' and maybe are just looking forward to finishing.

But having said all that. The part from Sarria is really nice. Lovely scenery, and a real 'buzz' in the air. It can just be a bit busy depending on the time of year.

My first time walking that section, I made a point of talking to new people every day, so that I wouldn't slide into the long walker v short walker mentality. The 'long walkers' are easy to spot and are often just head down trying to finish. The 'short walkers' are full of energy and enjoying every step :)

I made sure I chatted with a few 'short walkers;' every day. Their energy was infectious. And I needed it! ;)
I mean no disrespect using the terms short and long walkers! It's an easier way to describe the dynamics that's all. :)

And an after note (2) I was just re reading a similar post from way back and someone used a wonderful phrase.

Embrace the Suck! :eek:

Don't fight it. go with the flow. And the big secret for me? Start each day looking for something really good! Anything. A place, a view, a cute dog, an amazing building, a quiet church in which to think, an interesting person to say hello to, a nice rock to sit on whilst you sit to listen to the wind blow through the trees. It's all there...............you just need to be looking for it ;) These things feed the soul and your spirits.
Great stuff Robo! You nailed it. I think your explanation of the differences between starting in Sarria and someplace further away from Santiago are spot on and good advice. It is important to understand the pros and cons of a decision to start in Sarria. Thanks!
 

Storyteller Matt

Storyteller Matt
Camino(s) past & future
I am planning to walk a portion of the Camino in Oct (2018)
#42
Day 4. I made friends today. Stuck to my 15k minimum and am at Melide, still plenty tired. I'm going to find a bed and take a shower, but I couldn't pass through this town without dining at Pulperia de Garnacha first. I am checking in from there. More updates later.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2001) (2018)
#43
I am day 2 on the Camino. Started in Sarria. Right now in an albergue in Ventas de Narón. Can't sleep. 1:30 am.

I don't know what I'm feeling at the moment. This is one of the hardest things I have ever done. The film The Way, and all the talk of spiritual connection on the Camino, do romanticize the experience. But it is bloody hard work.

I have had my moments, of course. And there are times when the exhaustion and pain bring me closer to the Spirit of the Universe (as I understand it). Other times, the pain makes me stop and shout aloud to no one, "This is the worst idea I've ever had."

The worst part of this journey is that I feel alone. I haven't bonded with anyone yet, and both nights so far, the pilgrims haved "cliqued up" and I'm kind of left out. This is odd because I am a social creature in the "real" world, able to assimilate into any group. The Camino has brought out different aspects of my personality.

All this time, I have walked alone. Other pilgrims are faster or slower than I want to go. I am okay with this. I talk to the Camino, my late father (whom I walk to honor), the beloved cat that I lost this summer, the Higher Power of my understanding. I don't really feel their presence, but I talk to them.

I will finish my modest 114 km to Santiago. I will earn my Compostela, although that seems less important to me now. I will press on, and I will finish. I'm not sure why I'm doing this now. I'm not sure why I started. But I'm here, and as the AA Big Book says, more will be revealed to us later.

PS: The Wise Pilgrim Guide, sold on this site, has been a lifesaver. There you go, Ivar. Free promotion!
Some times we are searching so hard for something that we overlook the obvious. It sounds to me like you’re already “getting it”, you just haven’t realized it yet.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2001) (2018)
#44
Just a note. The graffiti I saw said JESUS DIDN'T START IN SARRIA.

I haven't seen the one pertaining to St. James.

The graffiti seems to be the work of some poor insecure soul who wants recognition for his labors and resents that those who start in Sarria get a Compostela same as those who start further out.

Seems his Jesus told a parable about the man who hired workers at various times of the day and paid the same wages to each. Matthew 20: 12-16:

"‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.

I mean, if he's going to invoke the name of the Carpenter, he should know the Carpenter's work.
It made us both laugh when we saw this as we walked by, but FYI to who ever wrote it...Jesus didn’t start from St Jean either!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#45
End of day 3. A very good day.

I had two dreams last night. Not sure if I mentioned them. In one of them, my late father was telling me, "You don't listen, you're not listening." When I insisted that I was, he said, "No, you're not listening."

So I listened today. I heard a lot of wind whispering in the trees. It occurred to me that the original root of "spirit" is "breath," and in the AA Big Book, four times God is referred to as the Spirit of the Universe. Perhaps upon listening, I was hearing the universe breathing?

The second dream was about being followed by giant ants. I had no idea I would see giant ants for real at Portos later that day. Weird.

I thank you for your comments, especially the admission by one of you that you actually excluded another pilgrim on your first walk. I don't judge you, man, because I was once the same way. Today, I'm the opposite. My close friends even tease me because when we're out in public, the misfits and lost souls are drawn to me because they sense that I accept them. My buddies will say, "New best friend tonight, Matt?"

With no tribe on the Camino, I don't really have too many opportunities to connect with outcasts looking for an in. I did have one cool moment day one where a bizarre Italian man who acted like Ramon in The Way was singing Opera and so I joined him in the final strains of "Nessum Dorma."

Anyway, today I was mostly alone and okay with it. I'm beginning to think it is supposed to be that way. At the albergue in Ventas de Narón, I offered to provide ear plugs since I snored, and someone said, "Why don't you sleep in the next room? No one else is using it."

So I was exiled from the room, set apart from everyone else.

Tonight, I was the first to check into the albergue in Palas de Rei. They showed me to my bed, then put everyone who checked in after in the opposite room! So again, I have a room to myself.

I shouldn't complain about that, because it's kind of nice, but two nights in a row tells me the universe wants me to do this alone.

Nonetheless, a good walk today. We shall see what tomorrow brings.
I think I met that same opera-singing Italian guy in Roncesvalles in 2015. He serenaded the entire restaurant.
 

Gcmacrae

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
#46
I am day 2 on the Camino. Started in Sarria. Right now in an albergue in Ventas de Narón. Can't sleep. 1:30 am.

I don't know what I'm feeling at the moment. This is one of the hardest things I have ever done. The film The Way, and all the talk of spiritual connection on the Camino, do romanticize the experience. But it is bloody hard work.

I have had my moments, of course. And there are times when the exhaustion and pain bring me closer to the Spirit of the Universe (as I understand it). Other times, the pain makes me stop and shout aloud to no one, "This is the worst idea I've ever had."

The worst part of this journey is that I feel alone. I haven't bonded with anyone yet, and both nights so far, the pilgrims haved "cliqued up" and I'm kind of left out. This is odd because I am a social creature in the "real" world, able to assimilate into any group. The Camino has brought out different aspects of my personality.

All this time, I have walked alone. Other pilgrims are faster or slower than I want to go. I am okay with this. I talk to the Camino, my late father (whom I walk to honor), the beloved cat that I lost this summer, the Higher Power of my understanding. I don't really feel their presence, but I talk to them.

I will finish my modest 114 km to Santiago. I will earn my Compostela, although that seems less important to me now. I will press on, and I will finish. I'm not sure why I'm doing this now. I'm not sure why I started. But I'm here, and as the AA Big Book says, more will be revealed to us later.

PS: The Wise Pilgrim Guide, sold on this site, has been a lifesaver. There you go, Ivar. Free promotion!
Seems to me that your Camino is having just the right effect on you. This is what it is all about. For the introvert, it provides bonding, the extrovert, detachment. Solitude, a blessing. Relish in every wayward emotion. The journey is the destination.
 

Jzijzo

Quest 2019
Camino(s) past & future
June (2019)
#47
I am day 2 on the Camino. Started in Sarria. Right now in an albergue in Ventas de Narón. Can't sleep. 1:30 am.

I don't know what I'm feeling at the moment. This is one of the hardest things I have ever done. The film The Way, and all the talk of spiritual connection on the Camino, do romanticize the experience. But it is bloody hard work.

I have had my moments, of course. And there are times when the exhaustion and pain bring me closer to the Spirit of the Universe (as I understand it). Other times, the pain makes me stop and shout aloud to no one, "This is the worst idea I've ever had."

The worst part of this journey is that I feel alone. I haven't bonded with anyone yet, and both nights so far, the pilgrims haved "cliqued up" and I'm kind of left out. This is odd because I am a social creature in the "real" world, able to assimilate into any group. The Camino has brought out different aspects of my personality.

All this time, I have walked alone. Other pilgrims are faster or slower than I want to go. I am okay with this. I talk to the Camino, my late father (whom I walk to honor), the beloved cat that I lost this summer, the Higher Power of my understanding. I don't really feel their presence, but I talk to them.

I will finish my modest 114 km to Santiago. I will earn my Compostela, although that seems less important to me now. I will press on, and I will finish. I'm not sure why I'm doing this now. I'm not sure why I started. But I'm here, and as the AA Big Book says, more will be revealed to us later.

PS: The Wise Pilgrim Guide, sold on this site, has been a lifesaver. There you go, Ivar. Free promotion!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Finisterra-Muxia 2017; SK Camino Kosiče-Levoča Oct 2017; El Norte March 2018; Ingles Nov 2018
#49
I am day 2 on the Camino. Started in Sarria. Right now in an albergue in Ventas de Narón. Can't sleep. 1:30 am.

I don't know what I'm feeling at the moment. This is one of the hardest things I have ever done. The film The Way, and all the talk of spiritual connection on the Camino, do romanticize the experience. But it is bloody hard work.

I have had my moments, of course. And there are times when the exhaustion and pain bring me closer to the Spirit of the Universe (as I understand it). Other times, the pain makes me stop and shout aloud to no one, "This is the worst idea I've ever had."

The worst part of this journey is that I feel alone. I haven't bonded with anyone yet, and both nights so far, the pilgrims haved "cliqued up" and I'm kind of left out. This is odd because I am a social creature in the "real" world, able to assimilate into any group. The Camino has brought out different aspects of my personality.

All this time, I have walked alone. Other pilgrims are faster or slower than I want to go. I am okay with this. I talk to the Camino, my late father (whom I walk to honor), the beloved cat that I lost this summer, the Higher Power of my understanding. I don't really feel their presence, but I talk to them.

I will finish my modest 114 km to Santiago. I will earn my Compostela, although that seems less important to me now. I will press on, and I will finish. I'm not sure why I'm doing this now. I'm not sure why I started. But I'm here, and as the AA Big Book says, more will be revealed to us later.

PS: The Wise Pilgrim Guide, sold on this site, has been a lifesaver. There you go, Ivar. Free promotion!
From a fellow Friend of Bill and leaving next week for my second Camino this year alone, I suspect as others mentioned, by starting in Sarria you’re meeting groups of bonded pilgrims that have been walking together already a full month. Don’t despair. You know “nothing happens by mistake”, take it ODAT and “Let Go and Let God”. Wishing you another safe 24.
 
Camino(s) past & future
3rd May (2018) Camino Frances
#50
I am day 2 on the Camino. Started in Sarria. Right now in an albergue in Ventas de Narón. Can't sleep. 1:30 am.

I don't know what I'm feeling at the moment. This is one of the hardest things I have ever done. The film The Way, and all the talk of spiritual connection on the Camino, do romanticize the experience. But it is bloody hard work.

I have had my moments, of course. And there are times when the exhaustion and pain bring me closer to the Spirit of the Universe (as I understand it). Other times, the pain makes me stop and shout aloud to no one, "This is the worst idea I've ever had."

The worst part of this journey is that I feel alone. I haven't bonded with anyone yet, and both nights so far, the pilgrims haved "cliqued up" and I'm kind of left out. This is odd because I am a social creature in the "real" world, able to assimilate into any group. The Camino has brought out different aspects of my personality.

All this time, I have walked alone. Other pilgrims are faster or slower than I want to go. I am okay with this. I talk to the Camino, my late father (whom I walk to honor), the beloved cat that I lost this summer, the Higher Power of my understanding. I don't really feel their presence, but I talk to them.

I will finish my modest 114 km to Santiago. I will earn my Compostela, although that seems less important to me now. I will press on, and I will finish. I'm not sure why I'm doing this now. I'm not sure why I started. But I'm here, and as the AA Big Book says, more will be revealed to us later.

PS: The Wise Pilgrim Guide, sold on this site, has been a lifesaver. There you go, Ivar. Free promotion!
The fact that you are finding the Camino different to what you expected is a great place to start. You can look at your presumptions. Most people who started earlier just felt pain, from blisters, from shin splints, painful muscles. We started knlwing that we were day one...day 2...day????, after a while not knowi ng what day or date it is. Letting go of the boundaries, the shoulds and shouldn'ts and all that is left is walking...walking..walking. then you see the inner strength jn yourself and in the people that you pass or that pass you
 

Storyteller Matt

Storyteller Matt
Camino(s) past & future
I am planning to walk a portion of the Camino in Oct (2018)
#51
Day four was my day. Something clicked. Met good people. Had a good walk. An Aussie I dined with was on his sixth Camino. His words of why he loved it made something click. Now I'm sorry I started in Sarria. I want a longer Camino.

I will be back.

I'll share more later.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#53
Day four was my day. Something clicked. Met good people. Had a good walk. An Aussie I dined with was on his sixth Camino. His words of why he loved it made something click. Now I'm sorry I started in Sarria. I want a longer Camino.

I will be back.

I'll share more later.
So glad to hear that things are starting to click for you.
 

dink56

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino santiago 2015
camino portugues 2018
#54
As you have obviously found out it takes a while to settle into a walk and bond with the other pilgrims. The longer the walk i have found the more memorable as you run into the same people again and again making it much easier to form a real connection. Coming in at the last 100kms will always make it much harder to start to connect as you notice other have. I have just completed the Portugese camino having completed Camino Frances in 2014 and this one felt much different which I can only attribute to the length of the hike. I am slow to warm up and being on the path longer I feel gives me a better chance to make solid bonds with others and helps towards a more enjoyable experience for me. Having said that I met some great folk on the Portugese camino but still will look for a longer camino next time. Happy hiking
 

JudiJay

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (coastal) 2016
#55
I am glad that things have improved for you Matt since saying that you thought your Camino purpose might be revealed later. I just wanted to say that minne was; seven months later when I became critically ill and only my fitness, according to the doctors, saved my life. Why was I so much fitter than usual? It could only have been that inexplicable-at-the-time Camino call. Buen Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
'Portuguese,Frances,Norte,Salvador/primitivo,Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, VDLP spring19
#56
Day four was my day. Something clicked. Met good people. Had a good walk. An Aussie I dined with was on his sixth Camino. His words of why he loved it made something click. Now I'm sorry I started in Sarria. I want a longer Camino.

I will be back.

I'll share more later.
So Matt —. ??? Do you feel the change in how you feel at end of day4 to you how you felt on your opening post was due to the camaraderie?
Just wondering (for others) ..
I note you’ve added that you’ll share more later., so I hope you mention why when you do.
Anyway ., just keep enjoying each moment
Buen Camino
Annie
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Finisterra-Muxia 2017; SK Camino Kosiče-Levoča Oct 2017; El Norte March 2018; Ingles Nov 2018
#57
Day four was my day. Something clicked. Met good people. Had a good walk. An Aussie I dined with was on his sixth Camino. His words of why he loved it made something click. Now I'm sorry I started in Sarria. I want a longer Camino.

I will be back.

I'll share more later.
Oooooh you’ve been bitten ! I’m so very happy. The Camino has moved me to a new depth of “spiritual awakening” after 18 solid years with Bill. Maybe our Caminos will cross one day as I plan on walking for as long as possible. Buen camino!
 

Storyteller Matt

Storyteller Matt
Camino(s) past & future
I am planning to walk a portion of the Camino in Oct (2018)
#59
What clicked for me was something a fellow pilgrim said. he said you hit a point where you stop caring about all the things that bothered you back home. Like your appearance, you're clothes, whether or not people like you. all those petty social games we play in the so-called real world just don't matter out here. You don't have time for them.

He also said that there's a certain joy in realizing how little you need. Everything you need is on your back. All those material comfort you dwell upon back home are no longer in the forefront of your thoughts.

I carried that on day four and now day five. Just living in the process, going with the flow.

The only problem now is, my back is on fire. I've been doing yoga stretches, trying to work it out. But... It's 6:00 pm on a Sunday, and I'm the only guy in this 15-bed albergue in Arzúa. If this holds up, that's three nights private. Cool. The Camino wants me to work on myself, I think.
 

Daxzentzu

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
FRANCES (2018) in planning
#61
Day four was my day. Something clicked. Met good people. Had a good walk. An Aussie I dined with was on his sixth Camino. His words of why he loved it made something click. Now I'm sorry I started in Sarria. I want a longer Camino.

I will be back.

I'll share more later.
This is heart warming

Thank you for sharing
 

Storyteller Matt

Storyteller Matt
Camino(s) past & future
I am planning to walk a portion of the Camino in Oct (2018)
#62
In Santiago!

i must be honest, I'm not sure how I feel. I have not been to the Cathedral yet. The Compostela seems almost a moot point. My last few days have been rough.

Day five was on a Sunday. I arrived in Arzúa and most everything was closed. I found a little albergue with 15 beds. I was the first to arrive... also the last. The only one in the albergue, which everyone tells me is a blessing, but it just felt... weird. Like the Camino, or the universe, was trying to isolate me.

That night, my back seized up. Worst back pain I have ever felt. At one point, I was screaming with even the slightest movement. Screaming. Not a little groan or an "oof" but full-on screams like when Martin Riggs is being tortured with electric shock in Lethal Weapon. Part of me is glad no one was there to witness the drama, but another part wishes I was not alone. Maybe someone could have worked the pressure points or provided some assistance, I don't know.

I went downstairs with a little baggie and asked one of the few open bars if I could have some ice. Ice and ibuprofen worked a bit, plus intense yoga stretches. There for a time, I feared I would not get to Santiago, and the thought was so overwhelming that I wept.

Next day, Monday (yesterday), I was able to walk, thankfully. I placed an ice bag against my back, under my backpack. I stopped a lot to do stretches. Last night, I stayed in a lovely albergue in O Pedrouzo. I went out to eat, consumed something rich and awful, however, and...

I woke up sick to my stomach. The walk today reminded me of the time I got food poisoning in Cameroon and collapsed in the jungle. I remember feeling close to death, actually sensing myself leaving my body, and I felt peace. The only thing that made me fight to get up and keep marching was I didn't want to leave my wife in Africa with a dead husband.

Today, I felt sick like that. I drank a lot of water. I stopped a lot. I tried to throw up but had only dry heaves. When I got to Santiago, I went straight to the hotel room I booked to take a hot bath.

Now, I'm awake from a nap, sore as hell, and feeling rather pathetic. I'm normally very strong, you see. I don't get back pain. I don't get sick. I take excellent care of myself. I'm fit. I've trained for this, and I'm used to hiking with a pack. All of this is new to me. It was as if the Camino was trying to break me, which it did, but to what end?

What makes it worse is that I only hiked from Sarria. Over and over, I had long walkers telling me how you can't get the full sense of the Camino unless you walk at least two weeks. The message, while not stated, seemed to be clear: "You're doing it wrong."

So it doesn't even feel like I had a real Camino; I just dipped my toe in something that was too big for me and found the water to be so hot that I collapsed. All you joyful pilgrims, talking wistfully about your pilgrimages. I had joyous moments, but I am suffering eo much at the moment that I can't call them up as treasured memories.

I am so miserable right now, I don't know if I'll try this again. 114 almost killed me. I can't imagine doing more or, heaven forbid, the full 800. But the only way I will come back is if I can walk a longer walk. So it's a double-edged sword. Anyway, I feel like a loser that I let 114 kick my guts out like that.

I'm resting now. I will go to the Cathedral tomorrow. We will see how I feel then.
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#63
Hi @Storyteller Matt : do not be too hard on yoursefl! You reached Santiago. You are NOT, I repeat NOT a loser. And I am always right ;).
You walked what you were able to do in your timeframe.
Btw there is no " full 800 ". Starting in Saint Jean is just an artificial startingplace. Some start from their doorstep at home, some from Saint Jean and you from Sarria!
There is no right or wrong in this situation.

You say that you take excellent care of yourself ..so now do take care of your emotions and feelings.

You should feel proud of yourself and your achievement!

A virtual hug!
 

Iriebabel

Iriebabel aka Cyborg Turtle
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
Camino Del Norte for April (2019) possible Primitivo
#65
@Storyteller Matt seems you may have possibly contracted a virus. A couple other threads here where others have been affected. Get some rest keep and pushing fluids (bottled water if you can) . Hope you feel better by tomorrow. Don't worry if you feel like the camino didn't work for you. Things happen and bad things happen to good people sometimes. Give yourself sometime to sort it all out. If you have some time and can make it to Muxia I recommend it..you don't need to walk you can take the bus. For me this short trip made all the difference in the world. Muxia helped me to process all that I did on the camino. You may find that sitting in the pilgrim’s mass and seeing the cathedral may also feel a sense of accomplishment. Sometimes it is not always the compostela paper that makes the difference. It might simply be sitting and watching the pilgrims or listing to the singing or if your lucky catch the swinging of the incense. You made it. 100km and that is to be celebrated. Good luck and take care. Get well soon.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#66
So it doesn't even feel like I had a real Camino
Not to dismiss how you feel, Matt...and...you did. In fact, it sounds like you've had a more intense pilgrimage than most. There are people in Santiago who've gone throigh that mill themselves and will understand: @SYates and @natefaith for starters as well as the good people upstairs at the Pilg!rim Office.
Well done, peregrino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
#67
In Santiago!

i must be honest, I'm not sure how I feel. I have not been to the Cathedral yet. The Compostela seems almost a moot point. My last few days have been rough.

Day five was on a Sunday. I arrived in Arzúa and most everything was closed. I found a little albergue with 15 beds. I was the first to arrive... also the last. The only one in the albergue, which everyone tells me is a blessing, but it just felt... weird. Like the Camino, or the universe, was trying to isolate me.

That night, my back seized up. Worst back pain I have ever felt. At one point, I was screaming with even the slightest movement. Screaming. Not a little groan or an "oof" but full-on screams like when Martin Riggs is being tortured with electric shock in Lethal Weapon. Part of me is glad no one was there to witness the drama, but another part wishes I was not alone. Maybe someone could have worked the pressure points or provided some assistance, I don't know.

I went downstairs with a little baggie and asked one of the few open bars if I could have some ice. Ice and ibuprofen worked a bit, plus intense yoga stretches. There for a time, I feared I would not get to Santiago, and the thought was so overwhelming that I wept.

Next day, Monday (yesterday), I was able to walk, thankfully. I placed an ice bag against my back, under my backpack. I stopped a lot to do stretches. Last night, I stayed in a lovely albergue in O Pedrouzo. I went out to eat, consumed something rich and awful, however, and...

I woke up sick to my stomach. The walk today reminded me of the time I got food poisoning in Cameroon and collapsed in the jungle. I remember feeling close to death, actually sensing myself leaving my body, and I felt peace. The only thing that made me fight to get up and keep marching was I didn't want to leave my wife in Africa with a dead husband.

Today, I felt sick like that. I drank a lot of water. I stopped a lot. I tried to throw up but had only dry heaves. When I got to Santiago, I went straight to the hotel room I booked to take a hot bath.

Now, I'm awake from a nap, sore as hell, and feeling rather pathetic. I'm normally very strong, you see. I don't get back pain. I don't get sick. I take excellent care of myself. I'm fit. I've trained for this, and I'm used to hiking with a pack. All of this is new to me. It was as if the Camino was trying to break me, which it did, but to what end?

What makes it worse is that I only hiked from Sarria. Over and over, I had long walkers telling me how you can't get the full sense of the Camino unless you walk at least two weeks. The message, while not stated, seemed to be clear: "You're doing it wrong."

So it doesn't even feel like I had a real Camino; I just dipped my toe in something that was too big for me and found the water to be so hot that I collapsed. All you joyful pilgrims, talking wistfully about your pilgrimages. I had joyous moments, but I am suffering eo much at the moment that I can't call them up as treasured memories.

I am so miserable right now, I don't know if I'll try this again. 114 almost killed me. I can't imagine doing more or, heaven forbid, the full 800. But the only way I will come back is if I can walk a longer walk. So it's a double-edged sword. Anyway, I feel like a loser that I let 114 kick my guts out like that.

I'm resting now. I will go to the Cathedral tomorrow. We will see how I feel then.
Hi Matt,
Sounds like you might have pulled/strained a muscle simply because you have been so stressed and your muscles have tightened

Personally, I would stop the constant stretching as the muscle may be inflamed.

Also it seems that there is a bug going round in your neck of the woods

Seriously Matt, you have done so well in getting to Santiago so don't be putting yourself down constantly

Just say to yourself..........well done Matt
Best wishes
Annette
 
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Frances July 2017
#68
Matt, I'd maybe have accepted that you were a loser if after you posted on day 1 about how things weren't going as you imagined you'd just given up. But on the contrary you've faced up to every challenge, emotional and physical and came out the other side having reached your goal, that sounds pretty damn successful to me. There'll always be someone who's gone further with one arm tied behind their back barely breaking a sweat but that's them and what they do really shouldn't diminish your sense of achievement.

I hope once the back pain has gone and you're home you have time to reflect and maybe be a bit easier on yourself, you did great and by the sound of it experienced more than I did in my camino last year.

All the best,

Rob.
 
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MeandIan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May2018
#69
Since reading your story Ian and I made every effort to greet and speak to every peregrino who was walking alone, thinking it might be you. Or even just to break the ice. We usually do, but now we did it mindfully. We will still be in Santiago for another two days. Perhaps we can meet?
 
Camino(s) past & future
The Camino Frances 2005
The Portugese Camino 2014
The Camino Ingles Easter 2015
The Camino Ingles April 2016
The Camino del Norte/The Primitivo 2016
#70
Hi Matt, so glad you made it to Santiago.
Do you know of the Pilgrim House, it is a lovely place with friendly people. You have had a very difficult camino and maybe it will help you talking to the staff in Pilgrim House.
All the best to you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#71
Since reading your story Ian and I made every effort to greet and speak to every peregrino who was walking alone, thinking it might be you. Or even just to break the ice. We usually do, but now we did it mindfully. We will still be in Santiago for another two days. Perhaps we can meet?
:D:D:D
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#72
Hi Matt, so glad you made it to Santiago.
Do you know of the Pilgrim House, it is a lovely place with friendly people. You have had a very difficult camino and maybe it will help you talking to the staff in Pilgrim House.
All the best to you.

But take into consideration that Wednesdays Pilgrim House is closed.
https://pilgrimhousesantiago.com/contact/
 

Storyteller Matt

Storyteller Matt
Camino(s) past & future
I am planning to walk a portion of the Camino in Oct (2018)
#73
Since reading your story Ian and I made every effort to greet and speak to every peregrino who was walking alone, thinking it might be you. Or even just to break the ice. We usually do, but now we did it mindfully. We will still be in Santiago for another two days. Perhaps we can meet?
I will be here thru Thursday. I take the train to Madrid early Sunday morning. I plan on attending the mass tomorrow. Also, need to find a laundromat nearby the hotel. Perhaps our paths will cross.
 

Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
Stay curious.
And walk a camino.
#75
I'm normally very strong, you see. I don't get back pain. I don't get sick.
I belong to the same tribe. Never need help, always strong, constantly aiming at ridiculously high standards, ready to help others 24/7. Exhausting, isn't it? And ultimately unrealistic. Everybody gets sick and needs help at some point. And about those ridiculously high standards? I found out that I invented those myself because the sad truth is that I am just afraid to ask for help, be vulnerable. It is less scary to keep pushing myself, stay 'autonomous' (whatever the hell that means) and suffer in silence and preferably alone. Because that is the honourable thing to do, or so I kid myself.

Because it isn't. There is nothing shameful about getting sick or needing help. There is no dishonour in walking from Sarria to Santiago. A camino isn't something you lose or win. You either walk it or you don't, it's that simple. And you walked one, oh boy, did you walk one. And the fact that you are also able to honestly tell us about your trials and tribulations, your doubts and your fears, makes it even more admirable. I for one think you are a badass. Well done.
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
#76
Hi Matt, congrats on reaching Santiago! Sounds like you've been through quite the emotional journey. Good job persevering.

If you're there through Thursday, please do visit the team at Pilgrim House (Rua Nova, 19, a couple blocks "behind" the Cathedral) and have a chat with them. They'd love to meet you and hear about your journey. (Nate and I work there as well, but right now we're out of town.) The hours are 11am - 6pm. Take care and enjoy your time in SdC!
Faith
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#78
Congratulations and commiserations! Sometimes unrealistically high "standards" and shame at missing them, looks oddly like lack of humility. Are you so much stronger than regular people? Once you recognize and accept your own weaknesses, you can relate better to others. Just a thought to ponder.
 

Storyteller Matt

Storyteller Matt
Camino(s) past & future
I am planning to walk a portion of the Camino in Oct (2018)
#79
Thanks for the support. I've been looking back over the photos, and an awareness of "I just did that" flooded over me. I think I have found enough peace to fall asleep.

By the way, did I make a wrong turn somewhere and miss the metal statues of the pilgrims be holding Santiago? You know, the ones they showing the movie? Or are they even real? Were they just a Hollywood accoutrement? Whatever the case, I was looking forward to seeing them and I never did.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#80
You absolutely did it.
And in the world at large,who walks over 100kms?? It's no small thing, that.
And to have persevered as you did, through all the challenges?
This is also a rare thing.
Edit: No, you didnt make a wrong turn. The statues are a little off piste, a short distace from the big monument that you pass coming down into Sanriago.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Frances July 2017
#81
Thanks for the support. I've been looking back over the photos, and an awareness of "I just did that" flooded over me. I think I have found enough peace to fall asleep.

By the way, did I make a wrong turn somewhere and miss the metal statues of the pilgrims be holding Santiago? You know, the ones they showing the movie? Or are they even real? Were they just a Hollywood accoutrement? Whatever the case, I was looking forward to seeing them and I never did.
The statues are a little away from the path at Monte do Gozo. Can't remember precisely but think they're a little to the south of the Camino route.
 

Iriebabel

Iriebabel aka Cyborg Turtle
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
Camino Del Norte for April (2019) possible Primitivo
#82
Thanks for the support. I've been looking back over the photos, and an awareness of "I just did that" flooded over me. I think I have found enough peace to fall asleep.

By the way, did I make a wrong turn somewhere and miss the metal statues of the pilgrims be holding Santiago? You know, the ones they showing the movie? Or are they even real? Were they just a Hollywood accoutrement? Whatever the case, I was looking forward to seeing them and I never did.
You mean these? Some pictures in this thread. Yes Monte de Grazo satutues are to the far left of the path you took downhill. Opposite hill side to the statue dedicated by Pope John Paul
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...g-pilgrims-of-monte-de-gozo.37867/post-660717
 
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Camino(s) past & future
The Camino Frances 2005
The Portugese Camino 2014
The Camino Ingles Easter 2015
The Camino Ingles April 2016
The Camino del Norte/The Primitivo 2016
#84
Also, need to find a laundromat nearby the hotel.
It is possible to do laundry at the Pilgrim House, there is washing machine and dryer. And you can sit in an armchair and watch the people walking by.
I hope you have a nice time in Santiago. If you feel for a daytrip, you can walk to Negreia and get a bus back to the city.
 

JRO

Member
Camino(s) past & future
santiago to muxia
#85
Thanks for the support. I've been looking back over the photos, and an awareness of "I just did that" flooded over me. I think I have found enough peace to fall asleep.

By the way, did I make a wrong turn somewhere and miss the metal statues of the pilgrims be holding Santiago? You know, the ones they showing the movie? Or are they even real? Were they just a Hollywood accoutrement? Whatever the case, I was looking forward to seeing them and I never did.
You SOOOOO did it!!! Seems like there was a ton of emotion, pain, suffering, insights, getting lost, getting found, learning to be "alone" with yourself.....wow did you cram alot into very little time. Kinda like a "flash" Camino. I'm so sorry to hear of your suffering at the end when you should get to revel and rejoice; hoping that you are feeling much better for your final time there. And, you are also in big, deep trouble like all of us who went once (yep, I only did about 8 days) and are now forever hooked on this site, each other, the IDEA of more camino-ing....See you over there again at the very next opportunity. Heal and travel safely my friend.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#86
Well done Matt you made it!
Don't stress over the distance thing.

A longer Camino is in some ways just easier. You settle into it ;)
And the good days and bad days balance out.
Not so easy on a shorter walk :eek:

Great effort buddy :)
 

Daxzentzu

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
FRANCES (2018) in planning
#87
Hey @Storyteller Matt . You might come across an old friend of mine in the next day or two. I'm sure he'll raise your Spirits. Look out for him just after Amenal I think. He'll put a smile on your face and into your heart :) You'll know him when you see him. He's always there. Rain or shine.

Other Forum members will know of him and will have read this story of my first meeting with him.....

Tomas had a profound impact on me when I first met him in 2015.

But Sharing Camino friends later, with others, might not always work.

If you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, you probably have your own friends as well as mutual friends. And your friends are probably quite different from your partner’s friends. …

I’m sure the same happens on the Camino. You ‘click’ with others of a certain type.

But what if you walked your first Camino alone. And your second with your ‘life partner’? And along the way you dropped in to visit a really good friend. This happened to me last month.

Would Pat like him? Or just think he was some ancient weirdo that she could not really engage with? That was my dilemma.

But I took a chance. And a degree of risk. After all, introducing those with whom we’ve formed strong bonds, is really a reflection of us too, isn’t it?

For the sake of telling the story I’ll change names and places to avoid hordes of people seeking out Tomas. I’m not sure he would appreciate all the attention.

I met him during my first Camino last year. I walked a very slow Camino. I mean really slow.
It took me 40 days to get from St Jean to Santiago. And even then I had to jump forward a day to make up time.

But it was the walk of a lifetime. Sure I was injured. I was actually carrying injuries at the start that were caused during training. The dreaded Achilles tendonitis. But I coped.

Some days were like heaven. If you have walked a Camino yourself, you’ll know what I mean. Life just seems so damned good! I felt on top of the world Probably the happiest in my life.

But other days were the pits. Walking alone perhaps added to the gloom. Pits of pain and despair. Wondering why I was doing this? Should I go home? Was it all worth it?

There were a few days or part days like that. More than a few actually. And 2 or 3 ‘bad’ days in a row were really hard to snap out of.

But something always did snap me out of it. Either a self-inflicted ‘kick up the backside’ or sometimes an incident or a ‘Camino Angel’ (1) changing the mood dramatically.

I called these my Camino ‘moments’.

They were often moments of great peace and enhanced spirituality. Or moments involving places of immense beauty or often through chance encounters with others along the way….

And so it was when I met Tomas. …

It was during the last 100 km of the Camino Frances. My injuries had got worse. I was down to walking only 10-12 km per day and was eager to finish and go home. Every day was painful.

And every day I was trying to come to terms with how the ‘final 100’ was so different from the earlier stages of the Camino Frances.

I was trying to embrace the difference.

The crowds, the heightened level of commercialism, the hordes of ‘whooping’ cyclists.

And I managed. …. on the whole. I accepted that this section was just different and was to be appreciated for different qualities and experiences.

And Tomas was part of that learning process. I met him in the last few days. I won’t say where.

I saw him from a distance. He looked as old as the hills themselves.

Weathered by who knows how many winters and summers.

I was having a tough day when I stopped to spend time with Tomas. But I was drawn to him in some way. Perhaps the sense that he would somehow share with me the wisdom of the ages or make everything better like a welcome hug from a dearly loved grandfather. Yes….we hugged. Tomas is like that. And we spent quite a while enjoying each other’s company.

I left promising to visit him on my next Camino and with my spirits soaring all the way into Santiago.

And so a year passed. Almost to the day.

I was now walking my second Camino. This time with my wife Pat.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to mention Tomas or not. Maybe just ‘drop in’ and see if she enjoyed his company as much as I did.

But then I was no longer worried about what she might think of my old friend. After all, who wouldn’t love Tomas? OK, there was a small amount of trepidation. What if she thought I was weird being drawn to a friend like Tomas?

And then I could not remember exactly where he lived! But I knew I would recognise the place as soon as I saw it. And him.

So I told Pat about Tomas as we were walking. “I think we’ll meet Tomas today I told her. But I was wrong. It was the next day….

I spotted the curve in the path and knew this was where he lived.

“He’s just around that corner” I told Pat. “You’ll know him when you see him” I told her. And she did….

“Is that Tomas” she cried out, her face lighting up with joy. We were still 200 meters away …. “Yes”, I said. “That’s him”.

I spent a moment with him getting reacquainted and then introduced Pat.

I sat back and just watched…. After all, who could not love Tomas. And she did too. It was that obvious.

And she got a hug! A long lasting one that she didn’t want to break from. I took a picture of them together.

Her spirits lifted. Just like mine had the year before. She was almost skipping along the path and for the first time…. started talking about our ‘next’ Camino.

It was almost as if by meeting Tomas, she now understood what the Camino is really all about.

Tomas must have seen hundreds of thousands of pilgrims pass by. And I’m sure quite a few got hugs just like we did……

I asked Pat what it was like hugging Tomas.

She thought for a moment, and said. “It was like hugging God“. And you know, that’s exactly what I felt. Last year and this.

I’d love to know how old Tomas is.
If I had to guess? 200….
you see Tomas is a tree.
A huge, strong, beautiful tree.
Wow

I’ve been reading and coming back to reading your post every day now

And it still moves me

Thank you for showing me that it’s not just about the people you meet. It’s about who you meet!

Thank you
 

Cybermum

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances may 2019 Portuguese Feb 2019
#88
In Santiago!

i must be honest, I'm not sure how I feel. I have not been to the Cathedral yet. The Compostela seems almost a moot point. My last few days have been rough.

Day five was on a Sunday. I arrived in Arzúa and most everything was closed. I found a little albergue with 15 beds. I was the first to arrive... also the last. The only one in the albergue, which everyone tells me is a blessing, but it just felt... weird. Like the Camino, or the universe, was trying to isolate me.

That night, my back seized up. Worst back pain I have ever felt. At one point, I was screaming with even the slightest movement. Screaming. Not a little groan or an "oof" but full-on screams like when Martin Riggs is being tortured with electric shock in Lethal Weapon. Part of me is glad no one was there to witness the drama, but another part wishes I was not alone. Maybe someone could have worked the pressure points or provided some assistance, I don't know.

I went downstairs with a little baggie and asked one of the few open bars if I could have some ice. Ice and ibuprofen worked a bit, plus intense yoga stretches. There for a time, I feared I would not get to Santiago, and the thought was so overwhelming that I wept.

Next day, Monday (yesterday), I was able to walk, thankfully. I placed an ice bag against my back, under my backpack. I stopped a lot to do stretches. Last night, I stayed in a lovely albergue in O Pedrouzo. I went out to eat, consumed something rich and awful, however, and...

I woke up sick to my stomach. The walk today reminded me of the time I got food poisoning in Cameroon and collapsed in the jungle. I remember feeling close to death, actually sensing myself leaving my body, and I felt peace. The only thing that made me fight to get up and keep marching was I didn't want to leave my wife in Africa with a dead husband.

Today, I felt sick like that. I drank a lot of water. I stopped a lot. I tried to throw up but had only dry heaves. When I got to Santiago, I went straight to the hotel room I booked to take a hot bath.

Now, I'm awake from a nap, sore as hell, and feeling rather pathetic. I'm normally very strong, you see. I don't get back pain. I don't get sick. I take excellent care of myself. I'm fit. I've trained for this, and I'm used to hiking with a pack. All of this is new to me. It was as if the Camino was trying to break me, which it did, but to what end?

What makes it worse is that I only hiked from Sarria. Over and over, I had long walkers telling me how you can't get the full sense of the Camino unless you walk at least two weeks. The message, while not stated, seemed to be clear: "You're doing it wrong."

So it doesn't even feel like I had a real Camino; I just dipped my toe in something that was too big for me and found the water to be so hot that I collapsed. All you joyful pilgrims, talking wistfully about your pilgrimages. I had joyous moments, but I am suffering eo much at the moment that I can't call them up as treasured memories.

I am so miserable right now, I don't know if I'll try this again. 114 almost killed me. I can't imagine doing more or, heaven forbid, the full 800. But the only way I will come back is if I can walk a longer walk. So it's a double-edged sword. Anyway, I feel like a loser that I let 114 kick my guts out like that.

I'm resting now. I will go to the Cathedral tomorrow. We will see how I feel then.
You are amazing and don't think anything else. I'm sure I would have got an ambulance out and ended up in hospital and not finished the camino. How many people would have soldiered on in your condition ? I'm so sorry you had a hard time . Perhaps you can join a party next time or co ordinate your trek on this forum . My motto is to always try something twice if it didn't go right so the good memories outweigh the older bad ones. I went to Japan to work and found the first time isolating . I decided I had to Trump those memories so changed tactics ( yes what did I do wrong) changed location and now I can't get enough of Japan and all the friends I made !!!
Find some people to talk with in Santiago . Don't isolate yourself and get yourself checked out if need be xx xx big hugs you bloody trouper
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#89
Wow

I’ve been reading and coming back to reading your post every day now

And it still moves me

Thank you for showing me that it’s not just about the people you meet. It’s about who you meet!

Thank you
Oh there are plenty of amazing characters I have met along the Way.
Dogs, Cows, Cats, Trees, Rocks............
That's why I like to walk slowly ;)
There are just so many to meet. :eek:
 
Camino(s) past & future
I will be walking the Camino starting August 26, 2016 from St Jean.
#90
I am day 2 on the Camino. Started in Sarria. Right now in an albergue in Ventas de Narón. Can't sleep. 1:30 am.

I don't know what I'm feeling at the moment. This is one of the hardest things I have ever done. The film The Way, and all the talk of spiritual connection on the Camino, do romanticize the experience. But it is bloody hard work.

I have had my moments, of course. And there are times when the exhaustion and pain bring me closer to the Spirit of the Universe (as I understand it). Other times, the pain makes me stop and shout aloud to no one, "This is the worst idea I've ever had."

The worst part of this journey is that I feel alone. I haven't bonded with anyone yet, and both nights so far, the pilgrims haved "cliqued up" and I'm kind of left out. This is odd because I am a social creature in the "real" world, able to assimilate into any group. The Camino has brought out different aspects of my personality.

All this time, I have walked alone. Other pilgrims are faster or slower than I want to go. I am okay with this. I talk to the Camino, my late father (whom I walk to honor), the beloved cat that I lost this summer, the Higher Power of my understanding. I don't really feel their presence, but I talk to them.

I will finish my modest 114 km to Santiago. I will earn my Compostela, although that seems less important to me now. I will press on, and I will finish. I'm not sure why I'm doing this now. I'm not sure why I started. But I'm here, and as the AA Big Book says, more will be revealed to us later.

PS: The Wise Pilgrim Guide, sold on this site, has been a lifesaver. There you go, Ivar. Free promotion!
Be a Texan and everyone that you see along the walk say " how are you doing" and don't forget to wave to everyone. Buenos dias, Buenas tardes. You might annoy some but most people will be happy you ask.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - central from Porto (2018 - planned)
#91
I am so miserable right now, I don't know if I'll try this again. 114 almost killed me. I can't imagine doing more or, heaven forbid, the full 800. But the only way I will come back is if I can walk a longer walk. So it's a double-edged sword. Anyway, I feel like a loser that I let 114 kick my guts out like that.
Something it may be worth recalling, Matt, is that many pilgrims find the first week the most physically challenging. It is a trope of the Camino Frances that the first third is the physical challenge, Many find that it gets better (physically) after that. I know that was the case for me. After the first week or so I had found ways to reduce and mitigate the physical issues that at one point I thought would keep me from reaching Santiago.

So don't feel like a loser that the first 114 km almost killed you. For those laid low by the Camino, it is generally in that stretch.

For what it's worth.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances sep 2018
#92
Same as David for me, the first week was hard, also emotionally. Everything seems so far and long away. After a week you get stronger and the walk is easier, you see actual progress on a map :) By that time you are also in the harmonica of people comming, going and meeting again.

A sign somewhere half way down said “Santiago is still a long way, like in the beginning” that demotivated me a little but it also made me laugh after a 2 week walk.

Im back home for a month now, had good and bad times on the camino but cant wait to get back :)
 
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