In 2010 Col and I heard about a Pilgrimage hike in Spain starting from St Jean Per de Port in France crossing over the border in to Spain and continuing for 800km across the top of Spain. WOW the seed was planted Col and I decided we were going to do that one day.
Well finally that day came in 2014 and with very heavy packs we set off on our pilgrimage with our wonderful friends Carolyn and Rohan.
This we knew would be some journey as 800km and all the research we had all done really had just been on paper … a dream and yet here we were at the beginning of an epic adventure.
We had decided on 33 days to complete the journey but were hoping for less. Anything could happen out there over a month so we factored in a rest day in case any of us got sick or injured. I already had my ankle strapped from a previous injury in the Big Red Run not the best way to start out but I was carefull on a lot of the loose gravel and stones.
The first day was a tough one as we climbed and climbed my shoulders were certainly not use to a heavy pack.
The beauty of the Pyrenees took away a lot of pain along with the excitement and buzz of starting on our journey.
We crossed over from France into Spain
filled up our drink bottle at the font and laughed as we went from trying to speak french into speaking spanish oh we seriously should have practiced more at home I am sure no one knew what we were a talking about…so funny really… we laughed and laughed
By the end of the day after some 9hrs walking I was wrecked and had a tear in my eyes as the enormity of all what was ahead hit my I struggled to come to terms with how I was going to manage this heavy pack.
My legs were strong but my back and shoulders were not and my small frame was suffering ….if it hadn’t been for Rohan and Col insisting they help me with my pack I think the day would have been a lot longer. And I kept looking at the bracelet on my arm….
After checking into our Aubergine for the night, which is a hostel for Pilgrims, and having some dinner I started to put it all into perspective and we decided as a group we needed to have regular stops to take the backpacks of and give our body a stretch… after all this was not a race but a pilgrimage.
Throughout each day we laughed, chatted and at times were very silent just taking it all in.
We meet many other pilgrims over the month from all over the world and it was great to share in their stories.
We didn’t know from one day to the next were we would sleep but we knew we would eventually find something even if it meant walking to the next village.
We went through tiny villages,
big cities and followed yellow arrows for 800km
until we reached Santiago de Composta Cathedral…..
31 days and here we were the four of us totally gobsmacked at what we had just achieved……
We all stood there in front of this magnificent Cathedral almost in disbelief that the journey had ended …as much as we were all looking forward to finished and we were all so excited at what we had achieved there was a certain sadness, a feeling of being a bit lost in it all….. We had dreamed big and in turn had an experience of a life time……
The numbness of what I was feeling I couldn’t explain and perhaps that was it something’s just don’t need explaining…………. the reality today was we had just completed 800km across the top of Spain, we had all worn totally out a pair of shoes,
lived like pilgrims all the way
and had memories to last a life time…