Summer Camino – thoughts from Finisterre

Uta has realized that it is gratitude which is really significant, something I had not previously considered and I now understand and accept that this is a major subject, much deeper than the simple word suggests. The meaning of a word like ‘gratitude’ can differ from person to person and allowance should be made for this. The same applies to all my explorations and contemplations in this book. I am not claiming to possess any special or specific knowledge or abilities. My thoughts developed while walking and while writing this diary and they are important to me. I would be pleased if they could also have some resonance for the reader. The following represents my understanding of the word ‘gratitude’: … Read full text

Summer Camino – arriving at Finisterre lighthouse

The next day Uta and I made our separate ways from Finisterre town to the Finisterre lighthouse. Uta walked on the coastal road and I took the path over the hill-tops further inland. It appeared that we had picked a most appropriate day for this last stretch and for me it was the climax of my pilgrimage. After walking through the rough countryside of Galicia, nowadays the home of modern Spanish Galicians and in centuries past of the Celts or Druids, this was the culmination of what one could also call my spiritual path – my Camino of life.  Perhaps I had left some of the modern hectic stress behind; perhaps my body, mind, spirit and soul had become less … Read full text

Summer Camino – On arrival in Santiago > excerpt 2

Sitting on the steps leading to the cathedral, I added the following to my diary: ‘My peace suddenly came to an end. It is now 18:00 and since midday I am waiting for Uta who today, Saturday, should have arrived either at 12:50 by train or at 15:15 by bus. In fact, as I mentioned before, even yesterday afternoon I was on the square, just in case she had bypassed León and headed straight for Santiago. Up to now there is no Uta in sight. People come and go, but my wife is not among them’. I had pinned up a notice in the pilgrim’s office just in case we missed one another; it is still there, unanswered. Arno has … Read full text

Summer Camino – On arrival in Santiago > excerpt 1

On arrival in Santiago  + the Botafumeiro I collected my Compostela from the Oficina del Peregrino and was amazed how diligently the stamps I had collected on the way were inspected. I assume this was to ensure that I had not cheated by using public transport on the last 100 km. I was also questioned about my motivations for doing the walk. I obviously passed the test and finally received my ‘parchment scroll’ which confirmed that THEODERICUM (my Latin name) ….had devoutly visited this Sacred Church for religious reasons (pietatis causa). A young German pilgrim cited ‘exercising’ as his reason for undertaking the walk and, in spite of his pleas, he did not receive the Compostela. He received a plain … Read full text

Summer Camino – day 18

Day 18  –  Irene  to  Santiago de Compostela   (23.7 km) Seven o’clock was my starting time after a breakfast in the Santa Irene albergue and I stayed in sight of a pilgrim with a headlight. He walked some distance ahead and gave me a clue of the direction to follow. We went through a forested, bushy landscape, with many twists and turns, so that at times the distant light was not visible, and this created some minor anxieties: I must not forget to take a headlamp the next time around. It was dawn by the time I had my first coffee in Arca do Pino and being 450 km further west from my starting point certainly had an influence on … Read full text

Summer Camino – day 17

Day 17  –  Ribadiso  to  Santa Irene   (19.1 km) I met Vladimir from Budapest close to Santa Irene and we searched for the albergue which we found about a kilometre past the village. Having walked only twenty kilometres on this day, we were early and had to wait for 1½ hours before the doors opened at two in the afternoon. This gave me time to add to my diary while sitting in the nearby forest. The albergue in Santa Irene was once an old school building next to the busy road between Arzúa and, further West, Arca do Pino, which is already a satellite city of Santiago, a sign that we were close to our destination. The walls of the … Read full text

Summer Walk – day 16 > excerpt 3

Day 16  –  Palas de Rei  to  Ribadiso   (26.4 km) > excerpt 3 On a typical day my walk now started around 7:00 am, just before dawn. After about two hours I would have coffee, sometimes with a pastry. Earlier on, in a very small bar with granny sitting in a rocking chair in one corner, I had my best coffee ever; probably not the best in quality but best in quantity. The bar did not even have a percolator; it served coffee and hot milk out of large urns. The cup, however, looked as if it belonged to Gulliver. It had an old-fashioned round shape and a big handle and its volume was probably that of three normal cups. … Read full text

Summer Camino – day 16 > excerpt 4

Day 16  –  Palas de Rei  to  Ribadiso   (26.4 km) > excerpt 4 Two Canadian ladies, Sussie Hansen and Ginette and an American Chemist called Tony and I had a menu del dia at Ribadiso. Our first course choice was soup, spaghetti, salads, or vegetables. The second course offered chicken, pork, fish, calamari or ham, all with chips. For dessert there was fruit, vanilla pudding, ice cream or a dry cake ‘Tarta de Santiago’. Added to this meal was a bottle of wine or a beer. The meal cost €8.00 per person. Tony was one of the pilgrims with whom I was trapped while walking around the Monastery in Samos with the bee-hive of enthusiastic ladies in tow of the … Read full text