When one has been walking every day for 36 days, it is very unsettling when one stops walking. When I wrote about decisions I noted that what to do each day was decided for us. Walk. Now we do not have to walk. We have to transition to days that are not filled with walking.
One consequence of that should already be apparent. You haven’t been seeing daily blogs. I hate to confess it, but it is relatively easy to write daily when I get 8 hours or so to think about things and when I am presented with so many stories on a regular basis.
After we finished our walk we tried being tourists. You know, we shopped, toured the cathedral and the Pilgrim Museum, tried eating in restaurants instead of bars…those sort of things. We planned to take the bus to Finisterre for people say it is amazing but we couldn’t see ourselves cooped up in a bus for 3 hours each way after being outside almost constantly for so long, so we did not make the trip. We bought some traveling clothes to wear home as a change from the same two changes of clothing we had worn for what seemed to be forever. We bought books to read, something we purposefully denied ourselves during the walk, so as not to insulate ourselves from the Camino experience.
Sunday we flew to Madrid from where we were booked to fly home. We had time and this was a great city so we successfully navigated bus routes and the Metro to visit the Prado Museum of Art. They had a display of Renoir paintings on exhibit as well as their permanent exhibit of art works of Goya, El Greco, Murillo, Vasquez, and others. It was amazing and we walked a lot in the process but we weren’t “walking.” it was different. I’m not sure when, if ever I’ll get over just walking every day. It is, as I said, unsettling.
I really don’t believe that our Camino journey has ended. We heard several pilgrims say that they don’t know why they walked the Camino nor what they would learn from it and they were not sure when they would understand those things — when they reached Santiago, in a few weeks or in a few years. They only knew that they would, when it was right for them, understand the why of the pilgrimage. I suspect you may be hearing more from me on the subject. (That is those of you who haven’t stopped reading my posts when we reached Santiago.)
My feelings right now are those of gratitude. I’m grateful that we were able to make this wonderful journey and to do it without significant injury. We appreciate all of the good wishes and prayers that were directed our way. I enjoyed the comments and feedback to my blog. A big thanks goes to Griff Wigley (http://wigleyandassociates.com/) for helping me set up the blog, for teaching me to post by cell phone, for fixing my photo orientations, and for editing out some of the duplicate postings that technology created for me.
What’s next? Well, while on the Camino on October 15, I was notified that I was accepted into the Master of Food Culture and Communications program at the University of Gastronomy in Italy for next year. That means that June and I will be spending a year in Bra, Italy while I complete those studies. We will need the next few months to prepare our lives and our minds for that. It is, in a sense, another Camino. It is another road to travel to learn more about ourselves and another culture and, of course, to share more stories over the table.