6 weeks in Santiago and I’m still pinching myself every day. I live in a tiny country town and I wake each morning to roosters crowing, birds awakening and dogs barking in the distance. This morning I can’t see out my window for the fog that’s rolled in and the air is still. It is so beautiful.
Being a pilgrim automatically enrols you into such a wonderfully tight knit community full of compassion and kindness. I love the direction my life has taken. I’m thriving in my ‘new’ life. I will never work in an office again!! The Camino has changed everything for me. It certainly knocks you off your pedestal and it is a great leveller.
My favourite thing to do right now is to meet pilgrims who have just arrived, and have a coffee, breakfast or lunch with them to listen to their stories….everyone has a story. I meet them for coffee and do an orientation walk around town showing them hidden secrets of Santiago and taking them places that pilgrims generally do not know about. We finish with a short interview (which I intend to publish).
School takes up much of my time and we get homework as well. I’m enjoying it though and practice in the bars, restaurants and shops whenever I can.
This language is so complicated and the weird thing is that I translate everything in my head into French and then Spanish. What the…?!Our classes have been fun and there is only three of us so it’s pretty intense.
My day revolves around school and whatever time the classes start. For the last two weeks, we have had afternoon classes. It is so hard to concentrate later in the day, and even harder if we have had a wine or two at lunch. Gone are the siestas on these days, so we yawn our way through class and dream of getting home. Our routine is varied and on these days, after sleeping in, eating brunch and going to school, the day us almost over and we stagger home and go to bed. Now we are back to morning classes so the day can once again be filled with frivolity afterwards. It gets dark at 11pm so it’s tricky and we often don’t realise how late it is.
So much has happened since my last blog. We finished our mini camino injury free and settled back into our routine again.
On our return, the festival of St Rita was happening. Everyone in town was carrying red roses to be blessed at mass . Our friend Johnnie who plays the church organ had organised one of the evening masses to be dedicated to Monica’s daughter. Stephen changed the words to one of the songs to be relevant and it was really beautiful. We all cried and Monica left with an enormous bunch of red roses, given to her by the people in the congregation. Such a special experience.
A carnival has been in town for the past week and they have taken over our beautiful Alameda Park. It is full of bright lights, food stalls, game stalls with cheap toys as prizes and an enormous Ferris wheel that spins so fast!
Santiago is beginning to swell with pilgrims each day. It’s like a tide. By afternoon, the town is heaving with exhausted, dusty pilgrims wandering around with a glazed look in their eyes as they are hit with reality after walking for weeks in tranquil countryside. I remember that feeling well. It is a shock. The tapas bars are overflowing and the square by the cathedral is a scene of tears, laughter and bewilderment.
By morning, the tide goes out as people continue their walk to Finisterre or go home, and a new wave of people arrive. The rain washes the streets and cleans it for the next day just as the waves roll in and leave the beach a few hours later, clean and untouched. I sit and watch as I did at home on the beach.