Endings

I am now signing off this Blog which I have truly loved doing, knowing friends & family have been supporting me with each step.

In summary, I have learnt so much, about myself mainly and how I fit into this wild and precious life that I have been blessed to live. Finding people, previously perfect strangers who care about my life was a very powerful lesson that we never travel alone in this time on earth.

Finally, my greatest gift from the Camino is learning to have an open heart in all my dealings.

I love you all…. truly

Cate

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Santiago

Today, I have accomplished my target of reaching Santiago by walking every step from St Jean Pied de Port averaging about 25 kms per day over 36 days. I concede that this was an outcome that was never certain until I actually got there today.

I saw Hilary from Finland, my first true Camino walking friend. We shared tapas tonight and tears and hugs when we parted. She was my steadfast friend, a grandmother with such determination. After the first day we did not think we would ever catch up – yet we did time and time again. We exchange true feelings of love even though language was sometimes tricky.

Her smile and hugs eases the unease that endings bring.

Tomorrow will be the pilgrim’s mass and the dance party later.

Happy days!!!Hilary

Nearly there

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60 kms out and I start seeing Gum trees and it smells like the Australian bush. I am now 25 kms from Santiago.

I have walked and shared life stories with other Australians, Americans, Canadians, South Africans, Germans, Argentinians, English and other countries and not forgetting the Irish. A League of Nations.

It’s close to the end of the way and I am ready for anything …..

Sunday morning

It´s Sunday morning and I am off to walk again. It is so reassuring to get back on the road again to contemplate and to re-discover.

The predicted weather in Gallicia was gentle constant rain. Instead we have had full sunshine, gentle winds and soft roads.

All is well, I am happy in the person I am, the person I have shown people and the woman that I am becoming.

Holger from Germany said to me yesterday “Life has began again”. For me, I am already appreciating that my life is wild and precious and how lucky I am. Zoe, Lex and Jack are my greatest achievements and they continue to amaze me and make me say “Wow!”. Coming home continues my journey and I will be even happier.

78 kms to go….

Are we there yet?

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130 kms from the end and I have found my natural level with 5 beautiful Irish women, Carla ( the Czech chick), the UN conflict resolutionary and Johnny Come lately.

Fun, fun, fun in sun…

Friends

It is the Way to make great friendships.

Amanda from Alice Springs says – friendships are for a reason, a season or for a lifetime. Amanda, Barbara (from Germany) and I have forged a very special connection. Barbara is now pushing onwards ahead of me and I think Amanda is a day or so behind. However, you never know when you might see their smiling faces.

I am now spending a rest day in Villa Franca having walked 1 million steps!!!! I am happy to push on as both body & mind in good shape. However what is more important and precious to me right now is confirming arrangements to catch up with my specials girls Zoe, Emily & Nikita at the end of my journey. These precious young women are very dear to me.

Again, and again how lucky to love and be loved!

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At the cross

I had the best walk ever on Saturday. Led by Sirepa from Finland and with Christina from Austria at the end, me in the middle. Both girls should have known better but neither had prepared for the snow, given it was meant to be summer in Spain. By contast, the Aussie girl had every piece of clothing on (3 layers on the legs and 5 layers on top) and I was as warm as toast…

Out in the elements (reminded me of sailing during the winter series last year) and it was exhilirating! We encountered a blizzard, snow, but not before beautiful heath country (like Wuthering Heights).

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I was able to put the last picture I had of Bev Smith at the cross (it was during a snow storm)where pilgrims have been seeking blessings and laying their stones and photographs for many years. The pile of stones was about 10 metres high around a simple cross in the elements.

I carried my marked stone and was able to place it there as well. A very special moment for this humble pilgrim….

Plenty

imageKeeping well feed and watered.

Last night, I went to a wonderful restaurant in Astorga that has been run by the same family for 5 generations with 3 now good friends. We are planning a dance party for Santiago for Mia´s birthday that falls on the expected day of arrival being 29 May.

Today I am off to the museum designed by Gaudi then hitting the road for a contemplative walk in what is now crisp clear air (reflective of how I am now feeling). But not before a wonderful breakfast and the best orange juice ever and that is saying something.

The Camino is the gift that just keeps on giving…