The Final Hundred Kms to Santiago
Finally I’m within a hundred kilometers of Santiago.
I set out from the albergue at about 8 a.m., again, it’s a beautiful day, slightly overcast, which is good, because it won’t be too hot.
The first part is through a little valley with a beautiful old church. I paused to reflect a moment. The only sound, the dogs barking across the little valley and a couple of horses in a nearby field. I set out on this final one hundred kilometers with a little bit of trepidation. It’s almost like the first day leaving Saint Jean Pied de Port.
It’s like Santiago is so near but so far. I’ve given myself the best chance of getting there by planning to walk in short stages of 15-19 kilometers. But I know there are a couple of steep ascents and descents. So I’m taking every precaution with my feet and concentrating a lot harder on things like hydration and stretching prior to starting out. As someone remarked last night on the Camino de Santiago forum, “Don’t count your chickens Rob,” and I’m not!
I’m glad to be going slow
I’m walking with a great deal of care this morning, trying to remember what the physio told me in Ponferrada. Don’t limp, because that will put strain on other muscles that are trying to compensate. So I’m walking very carefully and very correctly. Or at least as much as I can.
I’m intentionally going extremely slow, not just to minimise the risk of further injury, but I actually don’t want this final 100 kilometers to pass too quickly. There is a tendency for many people to rush this last 100.
Once again, I’m almost glad that these injuries are slowing me down. I want to savor these final days, and the beauty of the countryside.
It’s also an opportunity to reflect on the journey so far and to go back over some of the things I pondered a couple of weeks ago.
I think it’s time to start drawing all those thoughts together, so this journey won’t have been wasted. I need to be sure of what this journey has meant to me, so that I can take its lessons forward.
It’s funny isn’t it? For me, this Final 100 kilometres is the home stretch. I’m almost finished. There is a real sense of being ‘almost there’.
Some of he Pilgrims I have met over the last 7 weeks are even putting on a burst of speed, just to get the journey finished. Some are completing this section in 3 days.
In some ways I wish I could too. I feel in a sense that I want this journey to be completed. But deep down I know that to rush these final days might not be a good thing. Certainly physically. I simply can’t. But emotionally and spiritually too. I want to wring out every last meter of this journey…… I don’t want the inner journey to stop….
And yet for others. They are just starting. This IS their Camino! This final 100 kms is their whole journey. A very different journey to the one that is fast closing for me. But no less valid, no less rewarding…..just different.