8 th October

Well home in Blighty after a very long train journey.
We took the 10 am train from Santiago to irun on french boarder. The REFNE trains can not be booked for the whole journey long distance if you have to change. So our train arrived at Madrid charmartin Clara comp where we changed trains to irun but you have to get off in San sabastian to get a local train which can take you to Bayonne for tgv to Paris.
We stayed in irun for the night as was going to visit my friends where I used to live near Lourdes and Lynda has always wanted to visit Lourdes. It seemed a fitting end to our Pilgrimage.
The highs and lows:
Highs:

  • The people we met and the stories they told us why they were walking . One lovely man in his late 70s was walking with his wife’s ashes as he saw the film ‘ the way’.
  • Just getting up every morning and walking, eating and finding a bed.
  • Loved walking in the Pyrenees and Galicia, the countryside was beautiful.
  • Feeling fitter as the walk went on and feeling my trousers getting looser.
    *Having time out from work and the treadmill of everyday life to stop and actually think what I want to do with the remainder of my life.
    *To look forward to coming back to the UK warts and all.
  • Not to hear news, TV and everyday problems.
  • Knowing I had a bed and shower for the night as we booked right through the trail a month beforehand as it was getting booked up in May. Some people prefer just turning up when they had enough walking for the day but if you do , you have to get somewhere early to make sure you get a bed. We heard of many people having to taxi to the next village or further to get a bed.I even heard of people having to walk 40 or 50 km to find accommodation and ending up with bad feet.
  • Meeting our Camino uncles, lovely 4 American friends walking together all in their late 70s. I learnt a lot of them ( and also helped to put 2 back together again,,knee wise).
  • Enjoyed walking with my Nordic poles which you really needed ( even hiking poles) as some of the trail was quite treacherous walking conditions and very steep downhill paths.

The lows:
*Issues with a walking partner we travelled with, ended up walking with just 2 of us.My advice is, to make sure you know the person well if you travel with someone. We actually heard of couples breaking up on the Camino.

  • The Meseta area of Spain.
    I knew before I went I did not want to walk it as I had already walked a day of it. It was desert like walking ,no scenery just yellow fields, not a tree insight. Funny enough it was the highlight for some as they said you only have yourself to concentrate on. Not for me as I prefer seeing beautiful mountains and trees etc.
  • Getting a blister and having to walk with the pain of it.
  • The traveling to and from ( suggest flying).
  • Living out of a suitcase and wearing same things everyday.
  • The Spanish food. As I have a cow’s milk and wheat allergy , I lived off tortilla and salads with a teaspoon of tuna. Really didn’t enjoy the lack of vegetables and decent food.
  • Getting home with a cold that turned out to be covid
  • The change in the trail after I walked it in 2009. Some of the route had changed ( rerouted I suppose due to erosion of the path) making you walk more on tarmacked roads and heavily gravelled paths which were mud before and easier to walk on. Some places like the iron cross where you place your stone had been totally vamped up. Before it was just a cross with stones. Now it’s a tourist attraction with a tarmacked road and big car park and a picnic area and benches with a chapel built there.

So all in all ,it was a great adventure,one that I would recommend to everyone to do in their life time.
What’s next?????

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