It´s honestly hard, very hard to believe for me, but the morning after tomorrow I´ll be in Santiago! Today is the last walk, about 20km to a monastery well within Santiago but outside the old city walls. The following morning I´ll walk through the gate into the old city and start all the procedures there for the compostela and the visit of the cathedral (a very high security operation as up to 1900 pilgrims arrive every day and its a prime target for terrorist threats - no bags allowed, x-rays, etc.). So, technically, I´m arriving today, and on wednesday I´ll cease being a pilgrim.
I am full of very mixed emotions. On the one hand I´m so excited and happy to be arriving, on the other terribly sad to leave my life as a pilgrim behind. I wish I could´ve written more often in my blog as I have hardly had a chance to describe the amount of wonderful things I´ve seen and experienced. My overall feeling on most days was that of incredible happiness. The beautiful landscapes, birds, flowers, churches and encounters with people from the areas and other pilgrims, it was worth every bit of hardship - and the camino isn´t easy, it´s hard.
It has changed now since Sarria, it´s full of pilgrims doing just the last 100km. That´s just a week´s holiday for people from Spain: 5 days walking (20km per day) and 2 days in Santiago. Though they´re now suffering with stiff muscles like we did at the beginning it´s impossible to even imagine what it means to struggle along more than 800km to reach the desired destination - and I wouldn´t want to miss this experience for all the money in the world! The camino since Sarria has become very commercial as well, and people don´t greet each other any more - well, I still do, and so does Paulo, a guy from Brazil with whom I´m walking the last two days and about whom I´d love to tell you more, but my money is running out and I need to leave. So many things I couldn´t tell you about, I hope you got a little idea of what I was up to, and maybe you want to try for yourself. For me it´s been amazing, and a religious, spiritual and cultural revelation. Though RTE were trying to sell the Camino as a great holiday destination on their holiday show I truly believe that it is something that´ll call you - and take your time! Don´t race through it, you´ll miss so much it has to offer. On my card it says: "Go your path with courage, have no fear of being criticised by others, and most importantly, don´t get paralysed by your own doubts. " I´ve seen the camino transform lives here - handicapped people loosing their fear and becoming self confident, shy people blossoming etc. etc. I´m the most lucky person to have had this opportunity. See you all later!!