Sorry for the prolonged silence. You must have been wondering what’s been going on. And the answer is – pretty much nothing. The combination of right knee and left foot malfunction has left me unable to do much more than hobble and so I have admitted defeat, thrown in the towel, fallen by the wayside, quite simply given up on this camino. I don’t feel too bad about it. I would have done (did in fact) on (a) previous caminos, but not this one. I have come to realise over the last few weeks that I no longer feel the need to be away from home for longer periods. In fact I can’t imagine that I will take such a long trip again. Maybe 2-3 weeks will be my maximum in future.
It has occurred to me that the reason I have walked in the past for five, six, even seven weeks was because I felt the need to get away from home and challenge myself. Now that I live alone I am much happier to be at home. I love my little cottage and beautiful garden and am missing it a lot – not to mention my family, particularly granddaughter Sophia who often stays with me and of course my pooch.
I used to find it really difficult to settle back into normal life, whereas now I am eager to return.
In fact I am feeling right now that I may not instigate another camino, although of course I would find it hard to decline an invitation to join a camiga/o for a couple of weeks’ walking in Spain.
It was my pre-covid plan to embark on a series of city breaks around Europe, perhaps working my way through the alphabet. A four-day trip seems ideal to me, not enough time to miss anything/body but sufficient to keep alive a small sense of adventure.
So now I am no longer a pilgrim, just a tourist.
Yesterday I spent the day mooching around the charming and ancient city of Lugo. Today I jumped on the 08:15 bus to Santiago and just made the 10:00 connection to Finisterre by the skin of my teeth. Paul is with me for another day before we return to Santiago and go our separate ways. Paul is very easy company. We met on camino in 2015 and this is the fourth time we have walked together.
I am staying in the Albergue Mar de Fora up behind the razzamatazz of the harbourside area. Very peaceful with lots of outdoor space. I’ve treated myself to a private room and am planning to take it very easy for two days. I’m not even sure if I’ll make it up to the lighthouse for the sunset tomorrow, although I do know I would like to. It has been extremely hot today.
We went to the big beach at the entrance to Finisterre today. The one where I would kick off my boots and saunter along the several kms of white sand after the three day walk from Santiago. I even limped into the sea for awhile – first time for years. There is also a smaller beach on the northern side of the peninsular that I hope to reacquaint myself with tomorrow – this albergue is well placed to reach it.
I will have two nights in Santiago followed by two more in A Coruña. I would much prefer to leave for home today but flights were booked in expectation of completing my plans and it is way too expensive to change them now. So, I have enforced R&R
I hope new followers are not too disappointed by this turn of events. Most of the stages I’m missing are recorded in other camino combinations I have walked. You can find them by clicking on ‘my caminos’ at the top of the page, although I have never walked the stage and a half between Lugo and Melide as last time I walked the Primitivo I cut across from Lugo to the Camino del Norte.
I expect I will write another couple of posts before leaving Spain, so do stay tuned.
Respect for making the decision and knowing it is the right one. Better to know you are happy being at home or at least not away from it for long periods. This Camino brought you to that knowledge and happiness so it was very successful. Thanks for the lovely pictures. Regards Andrew
You have made a sensible decision!
Enjoy your holiday.
Ps: See you on a Camino next year 😊
I walked the Camino 10 years ago and would love to do it again! I have enjoyed your posts as it brings back so many memories. Good luck with your recovery!
Of course you have done the right thing and there’s no failure nor anything other than good sense in listening to your body and doing what it’s telling you. Forcing yourself to continue could end up doing more hard than good. There have been times in the mountains where I’ve retreated rather than push on and it’s often not an easy decision but it is the right decision.
Enjoy your remaining time in Spain then when you get home get fit again, find out what went wrong and have a complete reset, you may well be off again before you know it.
European cities can be very enjoyable and may I recommend train travel – much less stressful. We prefer places that are not necessarily obvious tourist locations (we have a neighbour who really enjoyed visiting Gdansk!). On a trip to India Penny and I met a wonderful old lady who was travelling round India by train on her own (she was heading north to the foothills just so that she could ride on the roof) and she had this travelling principle that was “…never stay in a place for less than two nights nor more than four.” I have to say this works pretty well for us.
Take care of yourself and ‘bon retour’.
You did make the right choice and there’s nothing wrong with being a tourist for a couple of days. Mini Caminos in the future sounds like a great idea. Enjoy the rest of your trip.
Fabulous blog. I really enjoyed following your journey. I always think its a sign of strength to do the sensible thing and change plans when circumstances dictate. Well done. Maybe we should do the excellent 2-week Madrid again next time. Just the right amount of time for a great cross section of camino experiences.
love your writing and having walked camino frances i recognise so much. thank you. i am sorry you are injured and wish you speedy recovery and return to your cottage. cheers from australia 🦘🦘🦘 kaye
Wise words from a contented sounding woman. Enjoy the heat and all things Spanish, we have a very bracing northerly wind here in U.K.
Good on you Maggie for all your Camino’s and for having the understanding of what they have been about for you, I must say they are some wonderful achievements for leaving home, and what great experiences you’ve had. We did our Camino in 2015 and my knee ended up looking just like yours. I’ve loved the virtual travel with you and we remember just the best G&T in Lugo, when we’d jumped on a bus one day for a break.
Must say I’m just starting walking again and loving my pacer poles. Keep us posted Maggie, it’s lovely to follow your journey. Some pics of the cottage and garden when you get back home. Enjoy the rest of this trip. Thanks for the memories xx
Once a pilgrim, always a pilgrims. That is a title that is earned and retained for life, like Hajji, Hajah or Hadži. Have a good rest, pilgrim.
Hi Maggie, we knew each other years ago from Competa days when I lived there and afterwards with Carol and Greg, my ex neighbours. You also came to Alhaurin el Grande a few years back to give a talk to our garden club about your caminos, do you remember? It was such a coincidence meeting you there! I saw you last when we met for lunch with Carol and Greg in Competa, not long before you moved back to the UK. I have followed your camino blogs since then and have enjoyed them so much, I am sad you may not do any more but perhaps you will blog about your short breaks? I hope so. I have been on my own now (still living in AeG) for nearly twelve years and, as you have realised, life can be calmer and sweeter when you only have yourself to consider! Having said that, I have six cats and also chickens so perhaps ‘calm’ does not exactly describe my life but it is a wonderful life nevertheless. I do hope your knee and foot recover soon and you can enjoy the rest of your time in Spain and I hope you will continue this blog into the future. Very best wishes, Jackie Howell.
Hi Jackie, of course I remember you and the times we spent together. So glad to hear you are still enjoying life to the full and thank you for your lovely comment xx
Aren’t Caminos all about self discovery? Sounds like you’ve discovered an awful lot about self over the years. And found some very satisfying answers to life and happiness. What an amazing adventure it’s all been, from first to last. I’ve followed every gasp, right from that very first cava-laced send-off! Let’s raise the next glass to more adventures. Plenty of cities to explore — and we could even do one or two together. I’m glad you’re on your way home. See you soon. Big hugs.
Bravo for the knowing of self and following your spirit! Here’s to living!
I agree with Dave (above) it took great courage to give in and say okay I’m going home. I shall miss your blog but I have to say I did worry about you doing long distances on an injured knee. I hope you will keep writing and telling us about your travels. I have enjoyed every moment of it. I felt very sorry for you in the dorm the other night with the nine men. It put me off my breakfast. Much love and stay well xx
I felt the same reaching Santiago this time.
Nothing as critical as your limping etc… just knowing I was tired and I didn’t need to prove anything.
A break is sometimes what we need. With Covid (still around of course) .., but toning down enough for most of us to rush out the door recently .. we had this ‘pent up’ need to get back to Spain.
For myself., I expected too much and like you., gave myself too much time here. I would like to be home now but took myself to Ireland to see friends. Good friends help the thinking .
I Thankyou for sharing your thoughts on your reasoning and agree that ‘there is a time for everything ‘. Enjoy the last few days.
Hi Maggie, You know your body, mind and soul best. Your decision to end this Camino early is yours and yours alone to make. With each door closed, there will be new beginnings and the sky will be just as blue with birdsong in the air. We’ve loved your story telling, and look forward to more – on the Camino or elsewhere. Namaste!
sei la migliore.BUONA FORTUNA. A presto su qualche cammino. LUCA Y IVONNE da Milano
Oh Maggie, you did not throw in the towel, you are wise to know when your body is telling you that it has had enough fun for now; wise decision. I have so enjoyed your posts; I have to say I’ll miss them as I lived El Camino through your adventures. I don’t see this walk in my future so having done it once makes me very happy. Enjoy your new adventures as I am sure you will come up with something………….May your memories from all your El Camino bring you joy…….blessings Cachy
My commiserations, Maggie. What a shame to finish up this way, but you sound so good in yourself, like you have accepted that life has changed for you and those changes are positive and doable. I plan to walk your Madrid/San Salvador/Primitivo combo in late April/May next year, so perhaps you would care to join me for a few days then? Take care and enjoy your leisure time. Another wonderful camino experience for you, even if it is not what you had planned. Take care, Melx
I was traveling and missed your last 3 blog posts, so am just now catching up. Since I recently celebrated my 78th birthday, and my husband his 81st, I know our time for walking is growing shorter. I’ve slowed down since my first Camino 12 years ago, and these two years of forced relative inactivity have also taken their toll. I’ve always been in awe of your 33-35 km days, and still am! But when I returned home last night after driving for 13 hours, I said, “I never want to leave home again!” Of course, the first thing I did this morning was read Camino blogs, figure out details of our next trip, and think about whether we can possibly make it to Europe in September for another walk. Do let us know if you find a solution to your knee and foot pain, and whether better orthotics will help. Meanwhile, listen to your body and your heart, and the answers will come. You continue to be an inspiration.