I made it to the fancy Boutique Hotel 1930 in Arzúa. It took me only about 9.5 miles of walking here from Melide. But I ended up wandering through the town for a while, which gave me a final mileage count of 12 miles. Yes, after a grueling day of walking, I decided to go for a walk! It’s technically my longest walking day in as long as I can remember.
I have to say today was one of the most beautiful, but also one of the most painful. My shins and my calves hurt like heck on step one and I was only able to forget about them when, for example, I turned a corner and the scenery blew me away, which honestly, was fairly frequently. Just not enough to make the aches go away indefinitely.
A girlfriend of mine asked me what I think about while I’m out here. It was a good question. I believe the expectation is that we walk to be able to think better, or to clear our minds or make better decisions. I’m not sure any of that really happens, with me anyway. I think about sentences. I think about what to write about mostly. And when I’m not thinking of that, I am focused on my steps, on avoiding puddles, on doing body scans (Tracy, do you need to pee? Are you warm enough? Are you overheating? Do you need water? Is it time to stop? How are your legs? Is this a good spot to pee?) (It’s quite often about peeing). And then something will catch my eye, I’ll stop and just stare for a while.
Earlier, today actually, I asked myself if I should think about anything heavy. Life? Death? Spirituality? The answer was an easy, No. Just walk. Perhaps I’m too simple minded to really think while I walk. But honestly, the nicest part is this: I don’t have one shred of anxiety while I am walking. The obsessive thoughts that typically plague me daily are non-existent. So for me, this walk is a break from the mental and emotional suffering that I deal with in relation to anxiety.
The walk from Melide to Arzúa is a lot of steep inclines and equally steep descents, some quite long. You cross ancient bridges, walk through enchanted eucalyptus forests and seemingly glide across farmlands that spread out across hilly, green landscapes. The world opens up for you, and then, you round a corner, enter a forest, and the world suddenly closes on you. The long day is a slow but constant flower opening and closing.
By the time I reached Arzúa I knew that the walking part of this adventure would be over. “My Camino” (it is “my” Camino, right?) ends here. I can’t imagine a pilgrim finding this remotely acceptable. How can you make it all this way and not walk the final day to Santiago?! But, I’m not a pilgrim, and Santiago was never my goal. My goal, was to walk until I was tired of walking. Period. And so, here I am. Tired and arrived.
After a day of rest I plan to arrive in Santiago by taxi and then spend my energy walking around the city and exploring. I’ll stay at the Parador where the room will be comfy and you can hear seagulls and church bells from the open window.
Of course the forecast has changed. This whole area from Sarria to Santiago is predicting sun and 60Fs/15cs. There must have been a reason I got the rain. Perhaps in retrospect I will understand why.