Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Day for Goodbyes and a Day of Travel

I will finally be able to post Camino pictures up on the blog now that I'm back in Sweden. I will continue to post pictures of my odyssey over the next few days.

What a great night's sleep, no body else in the room snoring, unzipping and zipping their backpacks. A remote control TV and a private bathroom. . . EXCELLENT!

It was great to not get up at the crack of dawn and it was plain wonderful not to put on my backpack for a day.

It should be noted that after returning to my room Tuesday night, I made a shocking discovery. There is "Camino Clean" and there is "Real World Clean." Simply put, my three sets of clothes that I have been hand washing to perfection daily actually smell to high heaven now that the Camino is done. YIPES!

I threw away the biggest offenders in a trash can on the street, I had to get them out of the room, ASAP!

Wednesday was a day to relax and recover from 33 days on the Camino, sightsee and unfortunately a day to say goodbye to a lot of friends.

The Cross of Santiago Matamoros

One of the three Camino icons along with yellow arrows and clam shells, today was my last chance to explore the city of Santiago de Compostela.

Not sure who this is but it's a nice statue

The University of Santiago de Compostela's
Philisophy Department


The various Workers Parties of Spain called for a General Strike in the entire country Wednesday. As a result, about 90% of the stores were closed as well as about 50% of the restaurants, cafés and bars.

Most of the stores that were open specialized in Camino souvenirs.

You walked 500 miles to see me?

You must be crazy!

St. Michael the Archangel

Wednesday was the feast day of the three Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Rafael. I kind of like the devil that St. Michael is about to terminate.

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

I decided to go back inside to see Wednesday's Pilgrim's Mass at noon. This time I planned to better position myself to see the flying incense burner in action at the end of the Mass.

Fortunately, they had a singing nun, not the Singing Nun, lead the congregation at today's Mass. It was a fantastic improvement over yesterday's tone deaf priest.

It was different today as you could instantly recognize the peregrinos who had just finished their Caminos today by their limps, walking sticks, bandages on their feet and general washed out look. Strange, but I definitely felt that I was no longer part of them, my Camino days were definitely over.


A delicious fragrance to hide
the aroma of the pilgrim's

Swing high one way and. . .

Then swing it back our way

Is this guy Politically Correct?

Huelga Rally outside of the Cathedral

I was a little surprised by this after the Mass because the big strike rally was scheduled at a nearby park at 12:30.

These protesters were singing songs loudly in support of their cause.

I started to walk down the narrow street between the Cathedral and our hotel when I heard a bullhorn in the distance. It was the people from the other rally marching to join the Cathedral's rally.

At the sound of the bullhorn, shop owners who were open on this street started to panic. They forced customers to leave their stores immediately, locked the doors and turned out the lights inside their stores as fast as possible in belated support of the Huelga.

Santiago was calm during the strike from what I could tell but things did get out of hand in Barcelona yesterday.

March On!

Spanish Bagpipes fired up the strikers

Soon after the marchers passed, I met up with some fellow Peregrinos for lunch in a great little restaurant on an even smaller side street to start saying our goodbyes.

Ste. Julie from Canada, Ste. Trine from Denmark, me, Ste. Jillian from Ramona, California, Felipe from Columbia, Ste. Jaime from San Diego and
Ste. Michelle from Germany

We were saying goodbye here to Felipe who just got back from walking three more days to Finisterre, the "End of the Earth." He will now tour the south of Spain, Morrocco and then walk in India if all goes well.

Ste. Michelle was returning to Germany.

A few tears were shed soon after this photo was taken.

A Great Candy Store

In case you are not fluent in Spanish, "Pecados de Santiago," the store's name, means "Sins of Santiago."

After a little more shopping and a short break back at the hotel, we were to meet one last time for dinner as Team North America.

Dessert first is ALWAYS a good option!

The choices and rich aromas were fantastic!

Remember, if you walk 15 miles a day, you can eat just about anything you want and not worry about it.

Now it was time to consider our dining possibilities.

Octopus, a huge delicacy here in Galicia

Who doesn't love a good leg of ham?

That reminds me,
I'll be with Laurie again on Monday



I know that Trine hales from Denmark which is not in North America but I'm sure they are part of NATO or at least in the UN with us.

Lunch had some sad moments, but this evening was one of charged emotions forged by 33 days of intense Camino bonding. We shared a lot of pain, laughter, anger, frustration and caring. I could not have made it without the love and support of these four wonderful ladies.

They are my Camino.

Bright and early at the Santiago Airport

It is time to return to Hässleholm to gather my belongings and start my return to Camarillo on Sunday. I'm really ready to come home after seven months abroad.

First flight from Santiago to Madrid

Surprisingly after yesterday's strike, the airport was very empty. After the one hour flight to Madrid and a one hour layover, it was on to Copenhagen. This second flight would take three hours.

Once in Denmark, it was another 90 minutes by train to the Subway sandwich shop next to the Hässleholm train station where Shawn Cordeiro picked me up to whisk me away to Junior/PeeWee football practice.

Uffe Palmbrink helping U-13 kids get
into to gear for their first time

Their have been as many as 45 kids at practice for the Hurricanes first ever attempt at having U-15 and U-13 teams. AWESOME!

Shawn Cordeiro about to get
launched into orbit

They are so darn cute at this age

So, it is good to be back in Hässleholm even if it is only for a two days and it is great to see the Hurricanes develop as a program, the future is bright!

To sum up my Camino experience, lets just say that people, landscapes, culture, food and drink of northern Spain are just AWESOME!

It was the adventure of a lifetime!



Ryan Bolland said...

Damn, I figured we were at Kastrup at the same time. I got there shortly after noon, and my flight didn't leave until 3:40. Oh well, I'm glad you made it back safely! Hopefully you found Icelandia in good condition for you.

Buen Laundry Day tomorrow!

George said...

The laundry is rolling and Icelandia was fine, thanks for all the grub you left behind.