14.10.2013 - 14.10.2013 13 °C
It was a magical day to walk today. We traveled only 27 kilometers, and it was cold but we had the beautiful green fields around us. It rained a little bit, which made us to walk quite a bit faster, but we left today a little later than our normal time because the people in the albergue where we stayed did not get up early like they normally do and we overslept by an hour.
Officially we crossed the middle point between St Jean Pied de Port and Santiago de Compostela, where we had done 398 kilometers and have another 398 kilometers to go. But, I have discovered there are two more places to walk after Santiago - Muxia and Finisterre. This last place is a latin word which means The End of the World. It was a place that people thought of as the end of the world before America was discovered in 1492.
We are therefore thinking to change our plans and carrying on walking to Muxia and Finesterra after we reach Santiago; we will leave this decision for later but I think it would be a great experience.
Tonight it was an amazing night for us. I had heard there a wee still some of the first albergues that pilgrims used to sleep in from decades ago. We had not had any luck finding one until now, and this was thanks to the hospitalario Carlos who told me about these places where we could still visit. I had been dreaming about this place ever since he recommended it and honestly this albergue was more than my expectations and imagination could dream of.
The albergue was special because it is really old and has been used by pilgrims for many years, it is also free to use with only the request of a donation if possible, and the hospitarios are volunteers.
As we mentioned, we left later than normal this morning and I was so excited to arrive at this place that I walked really fast today. We arrived and the door opened to admit the pilgrims five minutes later, ha ha ha (so it was lucky we left late this morning). Two amazing volunteer hospitalarios opened the door, Alan and Otto, one from New York and the other from Germany. They were two of the friendliest and most helpful people we have met during these weeks walking the Way, which is saying something because we regularly meet amazing people.
They have been working in this albergue as a hospitalarios for two weeks and they were telling us that people can help in some of the albergues on the Way, but only for two weeks per year as the work is really intense: cleaning the place, greeting the pilgrims, helping the pilgrims, organizing them for cooking the communal dinner, preparing the breakfast, and finally saying goodbye to them the next day.
The albergue was the old church of the town, and it was a really old brick place. Otto and Alan made it clear they were there in SERVICE to all of us. We arrived, got rested and showered, and around 6:30 they put the ingredients for dinner out and invited everybody to come down to help if they wanted – which we both did. Some people prepared the salad, others cut the vegetables for the pasta, others did the bread, and the fruit for dessert as well. Otto and Alan organized the tasks for us so well and we all had fun doing it.
At 7:30pm the idea was to go and see the sunset but there was no sun and it was raining. Therefore the plans changed and we went the small chapel in the Albergue to read some prayers and sing a special song. It was the well-known La Bamba but with special words for the camino experience. Here is a paragraph:
It was absolutely hilarious and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. After this we had the most delicious and filling dinner. At 10pm Otto and Alan played a babies lullaby over the speakers for all of us, meaning that the lights were going to be switched off and it was time to go (or run) to bed. A simply stunning night for me!!!
At 6am another song started playing, this time it was louder and energetic to encourage us to get up and go and have energetic big breakfast for the long days walk ahead of us. This night was so memorable, we made amazing friends, shared a lot, and learned a lot about service.
It reminded me of the Kopua Monastery in New Zealand, a place where service is practiced by the monks there. Alan and Otto were here for two weeks to give what they had received when they did their Way. It was a way to say thank you and give a little (or a lot) back to the Way. An amazing lesson for me!!
I am finally understanding the meaning of the Way in my life. I knew the beginning was hard, and it was certainly for difficult for my feet, but now that I decided not to pay so much attention to my feet, things have started to flow.
Meeting people, finding angels, helping strangers, been helped by strangers, listening to amazing stories, hearing reasons why the Way has called us all to come here to walk for a week, or several weeks, or for months or more. I am starting to see how human beings can be special in the most loveable ways, how simplicity and the creation of things from nothing are magical, and how love is there in everything. This walk is becoming what I always hoped it would be - magical, full of angels, complex but also very simple, hard but enjoyable, time to discover God, and find the power of inspiration …,.
I do not know how to describe this feelings but the Way is really unique, powerful and transforming. I am here in tears writing this, to feel how blessed I am to be able to be part of this dream, my dream from when I was much younger, and the dream for many others, hundreds, thousand, and maybe millions of people who all wanted to walk the Way and share the dream to give time, effort, and commitment and enjoy life how it really is: simple and special.