September 28th: 23k
Started the day with the 1k walk into the cathedral. I wasn't expecting to be as emotional as last year, but I had my moment in the courtyard. Again it was a feeling of overwhelming gratitude: that we were able to see Santiago again, that this time was relatively pain free due to diagnosis and treatment of my foot problem (more on that later), and that we accomplished so much in just one year. To think we had a healthy year of retirement, and sold, sorted, packed and stored the contents of our house of 18 years, bought another one, and put everything in place to rebuild, it's no wonder I felt overwhelmed with thanks.
We headed to the Pilgrim's Office to see if we could say goodbye to Camino friends met along the way. Sure enough there was Moira, Julian, Harlan, Karen, and Jo, the Aussie/US contingent, the two in their civvies hardly recognizable.
We had our goodbyes and headed to the Camino Finisterre/Muxia route to the Atlantic Coast.
This is tougher terrain hill-wise. First was a steady uphill climb out of Santiago. Remember those steep hills we encountered earlier on? Double those stats, halfway through today there was a 220 meter ascent over 2k. And it was a humid 27 Celsius.
On the way up an Irish woman who had a few years on us, passed us energetically leaving her three friends in the dust. A while later we found her sitting on a bench waiting for her friends. She had heard C give me the line the counsellors at camp sometimes used to tease the campers on uphill hikes, "there's ice cream at the top of the hill." She told him it wasn't nice to lie on the Camino.
Sure enough, when we reached the top there was a bar with ice cream. When we saw them approaching C surprised her with one. All had a good laugh.
Earlier we had seen a man lying on the ground in distress, shortly after Santiago. He asked if we had medical backgrounds. A German couple was able to communicate with him. His hiking companion, a former colleague, arrived after seeking help from a nearby house.
Turns out Paco is 82 and recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's. He insists his issues have to do with new medication, but his friend, Julian, told us he refuses to take breaks and collapses from exhaustion. That's a scary Camino for both of them.
Most of today was through idyllic quiet countryside, through several small villages.
As we started late today, at 10:00, we arrived at our off-Camino destination just after 5:00, feeling on the droopy side. So it's rest time in our room in a renovated 1700's stone farmhouse.