Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Let the planning and plotting begin!

We have begun! Plans are at last underway for a 2014 Camino.  Discussion is underway as to the exact route we'll take this time around.

Again it is a "we" trip.  There are currently 3 guys joining me including my ever reluctant spouse.  It'll be interesting to see how he fares on this journey.  God knows I'll be checking his backpack way WAY more carefully this time. No more discovering as the rain begins to pour down on us that he'd hadn't bothered to pack the poncho I'd gotten him.  Or his own toothpaste, shampoo, soap.  Nope, ain't gonna be a pack mule this time around!  I killed the pack mule on the Camino Portuguese!! However, I may opt for duct tape.  Great for so many repairs to feet and packs and whining!! Just kidding (just don't test me too much!)

We're looking at one of the northern routes.  Dates are still flexible, but if we go for more than 2 weeks (oh yes please!) I'm personally in for the Primitivo.  Or perhaps the Del Norte.  If the guys really want a truncated version of my solo trip, we could do some of the latter end of the Frances.  But with so much unexplored territory I'd much much rather opt for new terrain.

So now....off to begin getting the feet and the body ready!! That means calling the damn foot doctor!! Sigh.  Old feet, old injuries and old age are conspiring to make me work for what I want.  But work I will.

Un Abrazo for Santiago de Compostella

(I wrote this two days after the accident, but somehow life got in the way of posting it.  But not in the way of thinking about the North of Spain and all my fellow pilgrims out there on the way right now. Give the Saint a hug for por favor!!)

In July, I believe, every pilgrim alive was back on the way or in the Praza do Obradoiro.  We are all sharing the pain and the sorrow of our fellow pilgrims. 

My train had just pulled in, I was going home.
How many of us have ridden that same train, on those very same tracks.   Sitting, quietly, gently rocking along.  Sleeping our way to what destinations?  Bumping along, knee to knee sometimes.
My knees.  My fellow travelers knees.  Having just woken up, on my way back to Madrid I discovered Matt (knees on the right!) had covered my legs during the night with his shirt because I was shivering.  I hadn't even woken up! Angels along the way come in all shapes, sizes and forms!
I'm sure many were probably doing the same on the Wednesday eve of the Feast of St. James. 

Or perhaps they were just waking up and getting ready to disembark.  Excited to be reaching beautiful Santiago de Compostella.  The Feast Day at hand, celebrations, fireworks, parties all ready to begin.  Mass and the legendary Botofumeria ready to swing to the heights.  Weary pilgrims in the Cathedral, perhaps looking for familiar faces, come to meet them and welcome them back to the "real" world.

And then that slow motion that accidents always seem to happen in, crumbling of everything. Those few seconds that go so slowly and in such vivid detail as you relive them. 

To this day, 28 years later, I still see the two cars in front of me.  The slow motion decision to steer ever so slightly right to avoid the car with the children.  The impact.  The shaking hand groping for glasses.  Silence and at the same time the sound of metal being cut open on the car and then the ceiling of the ambulance.  And thinking what a strange way to travel, strapped to a gurney, staring up and then closing my eyes in a desperate attempt to shut out the other worldliness.  Strange and unkown hands carry you out and into the hospital.  Multiply this by unkown numbers.  Oh Santiago and Spain I truly ache for you.  And pray for you.

For all who must now get on a train and put faith in others that they will  in fact arrive in one piece, peaceably, I pray for you too. Getting in a car afterwards was so difficult.  As I'm sure riding in a train will be for so many now. 

So, beloved of cities, you are cared for, prayed for by countless numbers.  Held in so many hearts.  As you begin the slow journey forward to healing you are wished the most heartfelt of Buen Camino's. And angels ever guard thee. Perhaps today it is St. James giving all of Santiago "Un Abrazo".

View from my room at La Hospedería San Martín Pinario.