Sunday, December 14, 2014

Camino Reflections

I've been home for a month since my delightful second Camino de Santiago. It was a difficult journey in many ways, mostly because I was inundated with heavy rain and the accompanying mud.  But how I miss it and wish every day that I could transport myself back there, somewhere along the peaceful trails, rain and all.
Since I walked completely alone most of the way from Lisbon to Santiago, it was a time of deep contemplation.  Most of the time there were no distractions, no one telling me when I needed to stop or what I should eat or how someone my age shouldn't be doing this, and a woman alone, heaven forbid!  It was just me and my thoughts and the spirit of all of the pilgrims who had passed this way over the centuries.

As I walked, I often thought of my departed family.  I imagined my mother and brother with me most often.  I thought of how much my mother wanted to visit Spain, and in my mind I was pointing out things that I knew she would have liked to see.  Of course, I carried some of her ashes with me and scattered them in several special places along the way. Special places like from this gorgeous bridge at Ponte de Lima.
Ponte de Lima
On several occasions I encountered mother and daughter teams walking together. What an incredible bonding experience it must have been for them.  My mother would never have been one to walk long distances.  She was more the guided tour 5 star hotel type.  But if she could have had the experience of a walk along the Camino I think she would have changed her mind. I'm not so sure she would have enjoyed the mud and rain so much though!

Once I reached Santiago de Compostela, I never wanted to leave.  What an enchanting place that is!  Since I returned, I have not been able to get the Hymn of the Apostle out of my head.  It seems to play there constantly.  I would love to have a good clear recording of that lovely song.  But I do have several videos from the swinging of the Botafumerio and the three pilgrim masses I attended.  The pilgrim mass is the grand climax to the pilgrim's arrival in Santiago.  I wish I could be transported back there every day just to relive that experience.  I know I will be back one day soon.  This was my second Camino.  Last year I walked from Lourdes, France to St Jean Pied de Port then along the Camino Frances all the way to Finisterre and Muxia.  Next year I'm looking into another route, likely the Via de la Plata.  I would like to walk them all!

But for now I have my photos and videos of the Botafumerio in the cathedral as reminders of the Camino Portugues. But the Camino de Santiago is now a permanent part of who I am and has changed my life in many beautiful ways.


This is a short clip from a video I took with my phone of the swinging of the Botafumeiro at the Cathedral Santiago de Compostela.