Acabo de peregrinar.
Well shucks, man, I finished. No more walking. That is, no more Walking, no more pilgrimage. This morning I woke up at 9:00. 9:00! On a typical Camino day I was up at 6:00 or 6:30 and walking within about 20 minutes, or earlier if it was going to be a really hot day. By 9:00 I’d be a couple towns down the road.
And I took a shower…in the morning! Camino showers were in the afternoon, partially because by the time I reached the albergue (pronounced “al-bear-gay” by the way) I was in desperate need of a shower but also because showering makes your feet all wet and soggy and soft, and more vulnerable to blisters, so inadvisable in the morning.
And today I expect to only wear my sandals. My shoes are on vacation. Smelly, smelly vacation. On the outside windowsill.
Sleeping in, showering when I want, and wearing only sandals are three things I enjoy…but it is really tempting to give them all up for the sweat and blisters and uncertainty of walking. Maybe there’s a shaded little beach next to a river just beyond that hill… Maybe a really interesting person from who-knows-where is in the next albergue.
But I am done. And it’s weird. And it’s good. Tonight I will go to bed in the same place I woke up. (Well, same city anyway, I am still day-to-day on accommodations…if anyone knows of a couch I could sleep on tonight, let me know.) I know where the nearest store is, and a good bar, and a bench in the shade.
When I was here before, three hundred kilometers ago, I was surrounded by the energy of finishing. My pack of five-ish fellow walkers counted down the kilometers to Santiago, and up arriving it was satisfaction, celebration, and farewells. I was the only one not done, not going home.
Then I walked to Finisterra, and the albergue and town were saturated with that same sense of completion. People burned their hiking boots and threw their walking sticks into the sea. It is a tiny town and buses back to the city leave every couple hours.
Then on to Muxia, where it was the same, everyone was finishing. And back to Finisterra, same same. Back to Muxia. Again. Including the Dutch couple who walked all the way from the Netherlands, three thousand km or something like that. Oy vey!
I bused to A Coruna, where I joined up with a fantastic Scotsman named Charlie to walk the Camino Ingles back down to Santiago. Again, arriving in the city had a culmination feel. Same same, but different.
This time I was actually finishing. And because the Universe has a sense of humor, Charlie was not. He stayed overnight and took a bus south the next day to start the last section of the Camino Portuges. I was on the other side of the fence now.
So now I am finished. I can sleep in, let my blisters heal, and maybe finally tell you about Manjarin. I stayed up late reading last night. I bought a heavier bag of groceries today.
I’m sure there are more things I would like to say about this, but right now I am going to go for a walk. No, a stroll. I am going to go for a stroll around town. Slowly. My backpack stays here.