We have arrived … We have survived … the road to Santiago de Compostela. Today at 5.00pm Spanish time, we arrived at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela and that marks the official completion of our walk on the Camino Frances after 28 days of walking. The atmosphere at the Cathedral defies descripition. Hundreds of happy pilgrims sitting around the square – exchanging stories of their journeys, sharing experiences, elated to meet up with friends they have made along the way or just simply happy to see familiar faces. We are part of these happy pilgrims. It was like one big reunion gathering. We felt very relieved and at the same time rather proud of ourselves for being able to see it through. Our success is due in no small part to the enormous support and encouragement (that we have been receiving throughout our journey) from our families, relatives, friends and team mates. It has not been an easy journey but everytime we suffer the pain and discomfort from blisters, muscle aches and pain, we think of the cause that we are doing it for and we just have to endure it and soldier on because we know that it will make a difference to those we are doing it for. Right now I still find it hard to believe that I have actually walked 663.53km. If I had not fallen sick and taken 2 days off, I would have walked the 708km. I have been wearing an ID tag around my neck on this walk. I have my emergency information engraved on it. In addition, there are three little words that constantly remind me of what my mother has always instilled in me – NEVER GIVE UP. Each time I bow my head as I am walking, I will see my ID tag and invariably these three words will stand out. I have drawn strength from them so very often on this walk. Another extraordinary thing that I have done on this walk is pray. I have friends who have asked me to say a little prayer for them when I am walking the Camino (friends who are not in good health, or are very stressed or just simply in need of the extra blessing) and with all the quiet time that I have while walking, I find myself fulfilling these requests and soon I found myself being rather prayerful, and I feel good. Perhaps all the mysterious ways that God has worked during our walk is because I believed. Talking about prayers, we prayed that our walk into Santiago de Compostela will be in good weather. After 3 days of continuous rain, we had beautiful sunshine and lovely cold winds today. Now, what can you make of this? Back to today’s final leg of our walk. We did not set out till 9.05am. With only 21km, we were going to do it leisurely, no rush. The initial route was still muddy from the overnight rain but after 8km, we were on packed gravel and later asphalt – rather welcomed because it is really a yukky feeling to walk through mud. Although the sun was shining most of the time, the cold winds compensated for the heat and made our walk truly wonderful today, despite the several long and rather steep ups and downs. What a great way to finish. I thought we have seen the last of the ups and downs in yesterday’s walk but they continued, even right here in Santiago de Compostela. On a lighter note, Li Leng has donors who would pledge $50 for every blister that she has. So she has been counting her blisters and today she discovered five!! You will never be able to imagine how she can be so happy every time she finds a new blister. Poor Steven, by the time we finished today he was literally dragging his feet. My legs are feeling really tired today – it is as if my body knows the hard work is over so now it does not need to hold up. We were issued with Certificates and mine will definitely take pride of place amongst my prized possessions. Each time I look at it, I will remember how determination, courage and having the heart in the right place has made me achieve one of the biggest efforts in my life. But now it is time to relax and enjoy tomorrow (our only full day in Santiago de Compostela) before we fly to Barcelona on Thursday to take the flight home on Friday morning. They volcano ash from Iceland continues to wreak havoc so we are praying hard that the airports in Spain will not be closed and that our flights will take off as scheduled.
Posted by Administrator on 11 May 2010 at 4:52 pm