Stairway to Heaven

What makes a person want to do this? I have no idea, but it is so exhilarating, so adventurous and it makes me feel alive.

It is with such mixed emotions that I write today. 16 kms (4hrs walking) tomorrow will end with us standing in the square in front of the Cathedral in Santiago.

1,000 kms….so much laughter, pain and tiredness, so many photos, blisters and aches! We have had such a wonderful time and it has taken us 6 and 1/2 weeks to walk from Seville to Santiago. What a blast, what a trip and what an experience!

I have been fighting back the tears all day today. I feel very emotional. This has become my ‘normal’ and it will be strange stepping back into my life again.  My breath has been taken away by the scenery.  I’ve walked days on long stretches of road in 40 degree heat, been dripping wet in soaking rain, I slipped and slid over mossy, wet and muddy rocks, I’ve been confronted by large dogs, bulls and pigs. I’ve climbed huge and steep mountains, having to come down the other side, (which is even tougher) I’ve  met people from all over the world and slept in some incredible places (the damp old monastery being the most memorable). Yes, I’ve stayed occasionally in a Parador or two, but until you have done this, you will not understand how luxurious and decadent it feels to use a fluffy towel and wash your hair with real shampoo instead of using a small shammy towel and a cake of soap. Nearly 7 weeks of living out of a backpack with one change of clothes!

Tomorrow, I have a small suitcase waiting for me at a luxurious hotel. I sent it forward from Seville. I cannot wait to wear sneakers and jeans. It will be interesting to see how much weight I have lost ( it was 11kgs last time!)

It rained today-all day! We trudged along silently for much of it, not really even looking at our surroundings. The guidebook promised a cafe at the 12km mark, but our hopes were shattered as we struggled up to the door only to find it bolted tightly shut! Oh how we needed a hot coffee or soup at that stage. So we sat miserably under the shelter of a bus stop and shared meagre rations from our packs. I shouldn’t really complain. This is Galicia. It rains a lot here. That’s why it is so green and beautiful. We have only had about 6 days of rain. We are lucky.

We are in Ponte Ulla, where we stopped for a hot lunch and ‘dry out’. We had planned to walk another 4 kms to a modern albergue in the middle of nowhere but the lovely owner of the bar here offered us rooms upstairs and we decided to stay. She showed us our rooms, we left our back packs with her and walked to the next point. She gave me her phone number and asked me to call when we got there and she would come and pick us up. Tomorrow morning, she will drive us back  to that point to continue our walk into Santiago. We skipped up that mountain without our packs, she came and got us, and we are now showered and cosy in our rooms.

Her offer of a room upstairs was so welcome – a stairway to heaven in fact. 

3 Replies to “Stairway to Heaven”

  1. Oh, Marg, it does look beautiful but very wet! I hope you had a nice, hot coffee in the evening. It has been an amazing trip. Hope you packed a belt to go with the jeans so they stay up! Enjoy Santiago.

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  2. I know at this point tomorrow will be bittersweet. You have accomplished what most people wont’ in their lifetime. You are living the life! I am seriously jealous….don’t know that I could have done it! Congratulations to you Maggie and Colleen! Verna

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