21. 5. 2012

Miraz - Santiago de Compostela (en)

And because there are no more pictures until Santiago I decided to write just a short summary of the following days. Even though every single one of them would be worth a book...

The day when we left Miraz was the weather very humid and all the time it looked like raining. We were walking through places which were very poorly inhabited, sometimes we couldn’t see the signs of civilization for quite a while and we started to call four big houses together “a village”. At one moment I saved Javi - he was walking alone, a little bit behind the others, no one within sight, and his injuries started to get very painful. And then I appeared and offered him the painkiller. We walked together until we cought up with Ramiro and Adri in another “village” (three houses) with a little cafeteria/bar/shop. The shopkeeper was a very special and very friendly lady and everywhere (in a pot on a table, in a bucket, in a basket, in a box...) were eggs. Seriously!
After a short break we continued until Sobrado de Dos Monxes with an albergue in a very impressive monastery. Maria was already there as well as the guys from Malaga and Enrique. But Nunny and her French companions had to be somewhere behind.

If you ever plan to go to the Camino Norte you shouldn’t miss this place. This monastery is an almost empty copy of the original one. Just about 15 monks is living there and they have the most beautiful church I have ever seen...But I have a very special taste. I loved the church, because it was empty and moldy, but still it wasn’t a ruin. Imagine a very beautiful church of whatever style you like, take away all the stuff like statues, pictures on the walls, leave just one stone as an altar and few woden benches. Let it be like that for few months or weeks in humid weather and wait until it gets the greenish touch every here and there. And you have an idea about the church I saw.

The last part of the Camino del Norte (before it joins the French way in Arzúa) I spent mostly with Ruth - a new member of our group. This day she walked with us. We had many things to talk about, among others the world crisis, the conventionality and how difficult it is to swim againts the flow. For quite a while I was also working as an interpreter between Maria and Ruth, because their knowledge of the others’ language was about the same. But after a while they figured out quite well how to communicate without me.
I didn’t like Arzúa when we entered. And I was pretty sure that “my” camino just ended. So many people! So many pilgrims!!! we stayed in a private albergue (one of many!!) because the public one was closed for reconstruction that day. Again, by chance or from a vagary of the Camino, we ended up in the same albergue with Andras! And one more person I met, but long time ago - Giovanni. Not all together, but most of us we went to try the local specialty “pulpo a la gallego”, the octopus. It was very tasty! And we drunk a lot of wine, maybe way too much!
Nunny met here, in Arzúa, again with her son, who was again alright to walk with her (he had to stop before for some problems) and I think at the beginning it must have been quite hard for him to catch up with our crazy group. But he survived!
I had a nice long walk on the sun, watching the buzz, all the pilgrims passing by. Later I ended up in another albergue, a little bit away from the city, and met Maria there. He was all happy to introduce me to another (and the only one I met during the trip) Czech girl, surprisingly also Tereza. We had a beer with her and our friend from Girona Juan and went back to meet the rest of the group. Then we were altogether sitting in a bar in front of our hostel and chatting until we couldn’t anymore.
This day I had a lot of fun with Ruth, I am really happy we could spend the day together and I hope to meet her some time again!

The next day we walked from Arzúa to Monte del Gozo. Starting early in the morning with all the other pilgrims we disappeared in the mist. When the sun started to shine and we lost the track where among the numbers of pilgrims are the members of our group, we stopped for a coffee to catch up with everyone. Unlike many days before where we had to look for a coffee place, sometimes very hard, from Arzúa you could find one on every kilometer of the trail. But we picked the most hippie-like I have ever seen :) With writings on the walls, on the bathroom walls, on the counter. And with very nice and friendly bartender. We gathered and continued again together until Pedrouzo. Here our group splitted - Javi had severe problems with his leg and wanted to stay there, Ramiro, Adri and the guys from Malaga stayed with him. That meant final splitting of our group. And good-byes. Because you never know if you meet again, especially in the buzz in Santiago.
To Monte del Gozo we arrived together with Ruth and Maria quite in the afternoon, dried out from the sun and hungry. The hostel there is huge - it can accommodate up to 800 pilgrims! It is the last stop before Santiago - you can already see it from the hill there. 
During our dinner we met an American man from somewhere near Ruth's home, so the two of them had a lot to talk about. And the nice evening was closed with a short lesson of yoga with views of Santiago and thoughts of the end of the pilgrimage. Beautiful sunset...
Finally also other well-known pilgrims arrived to the same albergue, such as Nunny and Raul, her son and Andras with Giovanni.

The next day we walked the last 5km to Santiago and around 9 a.m. we were already eating our breakfast in one of the cafeterias there. It was just after we picked up our Compostela and talked to many pilgrims we knew from the way. The city was crowded, packed with pilgrims. It was incredible for me... 
Me, Ruth and Maria went to the church to the mass at 12, still not knowing where exactly the rest of our group is (even though we knew they were somewhere in there). Just before the end there was a sad good-bye with Maria who needed to run for his bus. And just after that I finally found Ramiro and the guys, Beatrice and Jacques. But Maria was already gone...
Ruth needed to continue - she didn't stay in Santiago. Andras was finally with his girlfriend. And the rest of us went for the last dinner together. It was lovely, it was delicious and the people started to leave. After the dinner, the rest of us who stayed together (Ramiro, Javi, Adri and the guys from Andalucia) went for a beer. I was waiting for my friend to let me know when she can pick me up and slowly digesting all what we lived through on the Camino. So this is it, the end. And promises to see each other again and to keep in touch. I hope we will, but one can never know. Nevertheless whatever happens, they will stay in my mind, my heart.


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