DAY TWENTY-SIX: Monte de Gonzo – Santiago
5km – 23oC – sunny and hot
The shortest walk on this camino, as we entered our destination at 10 in the morning. It was great to walk together with us four into Santiago. As we came closer into the old city center, we became more quiet and I turned in myself. When I saw the first glimpse of the cathedral I felt the urge to predicate the Gnostic Lord’s prayer.
“O Birther! Father- Mother of the Cosmos. Focus your light within us – make it useful…”
After a while I looked back and my group was gone.. and I started walking to the cathedral while singing out loud 🙌. We where all coming to this last stage, the arrival, on our own (way). I liked it very much this way, and funny enough, arriving to the cathedral felt more intense or important then at my first camino.
After some pictures, coffee and relaxing we went to get our Compostela. In the one hour line I met an American woman which was for many years a child psychologist and now runs an adoption agency. We had some really interesting conversations about the work we did and especially around children with attachment problems. While she was sharing her passion for this work she was getting quite emotional. This is camino and why I love it so much, that even in a queue these amazing connections arise.
I had the idea to give myself a haircut in Santiago, but Ricardo said that he brought his shaving machine so after a shower in the albergue I used his clipper or however you call it. But after half way it just didn’t work anymore, so I looked like somebody who was fucked over by his friends after a crazy party. So with my bandana on I walked to find a barber who could finish the job and make me look sane again 😂.
In the evening we went to the pilgrims mass and the botafumeiro swung high into the cathedral, such a beautiful ritual.
The evening was filled with good food, and so so much fun, laughter, dancing and singing in the streets 🎉
DAY TWENTY-SEVEN: Santiago – Negreira
21km – 24oC – sunny and hot
Santiago the end!? No way, like my previous camino my real ending will be at sea, at the end of the world, Finisterre! But first to Muxia!
It was the beginning of this year that I left my home and went to the Eusebius church in Arnhem to ‘pay homage’ to a statue of Saint Jacob, just like I did before I went to my first camino. I wasn’t going on a pilgrimage to Santiago, as I went traveling to Ireland, but still this felt right. I carried my camino shell with me in my car, and after a few months in Ireland I started to dream about the camino. In the last month I decided to end my travels this year with walking to Santiago along the coast.
It was therefore really special yesterday to hug the statue of Saint Jacob and pay respect to his remains, as for me this is the ending and the beginning of a new chapter in my life.
Today was a relaxed day, we went together for a long and slow breakfast and after goodbyes especially to the Polak’s I went on my way to the sea. Ricardo will catch up with me in the next day as his travels continue as well.
I remembered a lot from this walk, beautiful trails through forests, an amazing river and two beautiful old German Shepard’s who where peacefully guarding their bosses property on a big wall.
I thought a lot about the childish crack we where having with our group. For me there is mostly two ways I feel comfortable with, either serious and authentic connections or just pure nonsense and bullshit. I thought about how much I liked playing theater in the last two years, and how much fun and pure crack I had with my friend Anne from our theater group, haha it brought up so many funny memories and big smiles 😂.
Today I met this Dutch guy Liam again, after more then 3 weeks. He’s the guy who walks for 300 days with a euro a day. I met him while he was walking back to Santiago from Finisterre. So nice to meet him again and hearing that he’s doing well. Furthermore it was nice to walk alone, I felt allot of peace and contentment.
DAY TWENTY-EIGHT: Negreira – Olveiroa
33km – 22oC – sunny and hot
This morning started chilly, but after setting foot my body started to turn on the heat and I got comfortable. There where allot of pilgrims walking today. It was almost if I was walking on the French way again. It seems like the way to the sea has increased popularity in the last 2 years. The amount of people who walked at that time is almost the same as the amount of the pilgrims which where walking back to Santiago today. I had a fast pace today and I constantly was catching up with pilgrims. Ahh well.. all good.
The first half of the walk was beautiful, with again many amazing idyllic roads through forests. The second half had beautiful views but it was walking on asphalt only. I sang most of the day during my walk, which resulted in many smiles and nice words from other pilgrims.
At one point I met an older American guy, and walked with him for quite a while. After some small talk and discussing the USA elections, we dived into this really intimate, open and vulnerable connection. He shared some real personal stuff with me, and went quite emotional. We talked for a long while about our relationship with our fathers which was very interesting as we could relate a lot with each other.
He talked about some troubled times in his life, which we both share as well. He had a lot of benefits from counseling, but mostly found a lot of healing from gathering each week with 5 other men, for over more than 18 years(!!). My God, this was so amazing as I am very passionate about inner men’s work and men gatherings. I can barely imagine how deep the bound grew between those men after such a long time gathering together.
I told him about my journey and my passion around inner men’s work and how I would like to help other men, moving them forward in their own journey. My new American friend praised me for the qualities he sees in me and acknowledged that I’m transforming the hurt and pains in my life into a gift, in service of others. Amen! We parted ways by sharing a big hug. Ohhh men, I am in love with the camino vibe ❤️
DAY TWENTY-NINE: Olveiroa – Muxia
33km – 20 oC – sunny and hot
Yesterday I saw my American friend at the bar and he gave me two papers with prayers he got in Santiago, so sweet. I met his wife which seemed pleased to meet me. She and others praised me for singing, as it inspired her to sing as well when she had a though last part of the day. I promised to sing for them if I would meet them tomorrow. I wrote a small note for him with the Gnostic Lord’s prayer which I like so much.
This morning most of the people where departing at 6, walking for at least 2,5 hours in the dark.. I don’t get it. I walked with dawn and was given a beautiful sunrise. After 10km there was a split to Finisterre or Muxia. And just before we would split ways, I met them again, and as I promised I sang for them 😀. At the crossroad we got close to each other as the lady said a beautiful prayer, and I saw that my friend was crying. It was so special to meet him, and I gave him a big embrace. His wife gave me a big hug as well, and said into my ear, you have touched him, you are very special. Oef, that was so amazing yet also difficult for me to receive..
The day was so beautiful with again beautiful forest roads. This is new terrain for me, as I didn’t walk to Muxia 2 years ago. For the second time during my camino I was feeling that something was following me. I thought about Carlos Castaneda, which writes in his books about death as our eternal companion, always to our left, an arm length behind us.
“Death is the only wise advisor that a warrior has. Whenever he feels that everything is going wrong and he’s about to be annihilated, he can turn to his death and ask if that is so. His death will tell him, I haven’t touched you yet.”
I connected with my death, as it opens me up with so much gratitude in and for my life. I also tuned into a friend who gave up on life, and a few who are currently fighting to stay alive…
Today I saw the sea again.. My friend Ricardo joined me in Muxia and we watched an amazing sunset on a mountain, just magical.
DAY THIRTY: Muxia – Finisterre
33km – 22oC – sunny and hot
The day started with an amazing sunrise, as I walked around the mountain in Muxia. What a magical place this is.. but today I was heading off to the end of the world, to end my camino.
This walk was one of the most beautiful ones from my camino, what an amazing ending. It started with the sea, then through forests, little villages and in the end the sea again.
The day went so amazingly quick, as I enjoyed the scenery, listened to music and sang some chants. At 5km before Finisterre I went to drink something at a bar and I let Ricardo know where I was. Not long after that, I heard his arrival by a sheep sound, as this is our signal haha. So I let him know where I was with sheep sounds as well, while two ladies from the bar started to giggle and where probably thinking that I was going insane 😁. But luckily there was Ricardo on his bike…
While entering Finisterre, you looked down on the village and the sea, really stunning.
For some days my body knew that the camino is ending, as it got more tired and wanted to crash down and relax. But still every morning, the weight of the backpack on my body really gave me this lovely comfortable and familiar feeling. Even my stick and shoes are telling me that I’m done. My stick has shrunk almost 10cm and my shoes are falling apart. But hey, they served me for more then 7 years, and I guess around 4000km.
Ricardo cooked an amazing dish with squid and black rice. And late in the evening we went to the lighthouse, and we watched to the end of the world, while the sea merged with the fog into infinity.
This is it, thank you so much for reading my stories, it was so cool to see that people enjoyed them and to read your comments. And I really enjoyed sharing my experiences with you, I looked forward to it every evening. I have some reflections on my camino and on the camino itself which I will share in the coming weeks. I hope I inspired some of you to walk as well, if so let me be the first to say: buen camino!!