20km LAST DAY. As a lot of you probably saw from the Facebook live video, We made it to Santiago!!!! I’m overjoyed that this part of the journey is complete. Although I read something yesterday that said “this is not the end, only the beginning”. I get shivers and a little emotional when I think about that. I’m going to blast us back to 6:30am when I woke up. It was a rough sleep: felt sick, room was hot and I had to pee 14 times (ok not that many). Then I got up and with my head lamp I noticed the tell tale sign of bed bugs… small brown spots on the sheets. Not sure if it’s their poop or my blood. Then I looked a bit more and there was a bug on my bed. “Fuck” I said out loud and told Luc to get out of bed cuz there was bed bugs. The woman beside heard me and she got up too. Up and out of the albergue. Well we said we wanted one more authentic pilgrim experience. We got it. No bites started to present on me until we got to the hotel that night and now it’s become the biggest smorgasbord I’ve had the whole Camino (we think over 100 bites). My whole right side is ravaged and some of them have even turned into blisters. Never had that. I’ve been using tea tree oil which really helps and I have some antihistamine pills left over. But it’s not enough. Luc, of course, is unscathed. Probably because they were like “hey there’s this sweet red head down here no need to go up top”. I’m surprised too since I slept so poorly, how and when did they attack? Anyway, one last gift from the Camino. I walked with my backpack again starting in the dark. Night hiking is really kinda different. It takes on a different kind of appeal being close to the stars and the moon. There were a lot of people today. I might have made some dominating hand gestures to a woman who looked like she was going to try to get in front of me for the bathroom. I spent a lot of time looking inward, I had a lot of pain in my feet today. Searching for how I was feeling knowing that I was literally moving closer and closer to the finale. There was peace. Later on in the night Luc asked me some questions like “who was I the most grateful for?” And “what was the most memorable experience?”
And every time I had this feeling of contentment and joy wash over me when I think back to all the amazing experiences I’ve had. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Although I remember back when I was sitting in my hospital room all alone wondering “will I make it to Santiago? Or will I go back to Switzerland or even Canada?” And so the tears washed over me when I finally got infront of the magnificent cathedral that I made it. I did it. I fucking did it. So while it is about the journey, the destination is also important to me especially since I really had no idea if I was going to make it. We stood in line to get our official document for about 45mins. Then headed back to the cathedral. And then over to our hotel room. Showered and headed off to wash and dry our stuff in a laundromat while we drank beer (see photo). Returned to the room and then headed out to check out the shops. I wanted to see the inside of the cathedral so at 10 past 8pm we walked inside and mass was on and what I thought I had missed, came true. They swing the botafugio And not 5 mins after being in the crowded cathedral did they swing it. I can hardly believe my luck. The universe provided exactly what I needed. How special a moment to see this. I’ll provide the video separately. We had a wonderful dinner with a beautiful bottle of red Rioja wine special for completing our Camino. I’ve been thinking about all of you as well who have been following and supporting and cheering me on. I’m so grateful to have so many people in my life who have been there for me along the way. Even if you have been reading but not commenting I can feel your energy and that has helped to move me through this epic journey. When you have the love and support of your friends and family, you really can do anything. So I thank you ?. It almost doesn’t seem enough to say thank you. My mom and aunty for doing this 3 times, being my inspirations and for guiding me in all the different directions. It meant so much to have you both close by every single day.
And I want to say a very special thank you to my husband and best friend. He made it possible for me to go on this journey by helping violette get adjusted to school, Switzerland, new friends, everything. And when I needed him and was crying and moaning from the pain, he listened on the phone and loved and cared for me when I felt so alone. I love you to the moon and back my love. Thank you for coming and being a part of my Camino. ♥️♥️
27km by bus ?. Today was one of the hardest and most grateful days. I woke up and one of my blisters was infected. It’s not just that it was painful but it meant a whole lot more: 1) I wouldn’t be able to walk today. 2) I would need to find a doctor. 3) do you know how hard it is to find a doctor, food, bandages when it hurts to walk? 4) I would need to take a day off. 5) I might need to bus which I didn’t want to do. I called Luc and vivi and vivi told me she was mad at me because she missed me. I cried and cried. I was all alone in the albergue and was getting kicked out. So I walked to the front door where some German friends were. I got a hug ? from all three of them. One of them cried. We walked slowly to the town square. I saw Alan and another friend from Bulgaria. I continued to cry and get hugs. Then my angel Ozzie friend Antoinette who I literally just met said “I’m going to Logroño to go to the doctor there if you want to join me.” In that moment I knew that her and I were placed together for a reason. I said “yes pls”. We bussed to Logroño and found our albergue right across the street from the hospital. We headed to the hospital and no one spoke English. Annie and I got poked and jabbed and antiseptic and dressed and they didn’t charge us at all. Thank you camino. I walked back to the albergue and called Luc where I cried some more. Then I rested. My friends from a few days ago came by and visited! So special that they did that. #forevergreatful. Then Annie and I went for a slow walk to look at sandals, bank and get some food. While we were sitting there in the square we ran into people we walked with, ate with and slept alongside throughout our journey. What amazes me is how quickly you become friends and then how amazing it is when you see these gorgeous souls again. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Tomorrow I’m going to try and walk to Navarrete 13km away. I found a couple of women that are walking there tomorrow slowly so I’ll try to meet up with them in the morning. Many tears, disappointments, fears, frustrations, putting the ego aside, finding angels, smiles, love and connection were had today. ♥️?❣️?♀️⛰
Day 11 – Logrono to Navarette:
Decided to take it slow and see how my feet were doing. Not too bad. Things started to hurt about 3km from the destination. I threw on some music and danced and sang my way through the vineyards. I’ve decided to leave 1 thing behind from my pack at every albergue. My pack has always been too heavy so this helps that AND it signifies me leaving my fears behind. Today was a better day emotionally. I’m sleeping in an albergue where there is room for 40 people but there’s only 4 of us. Most excellent! I’m going to walk 16km tomorrow. A little increase from today. I met Fina, Dave and Francis today from Ireland. Love that accent. And I met up with Linda and Otto again!! I love seeing those two. I can’t get over how special it is to run in to people after not seeing them for a few days. We had a drink and talked about the last few days. We talked about the struggle and how the struggle is necessary to go to heaven. I’m going to meet them early to walk with them in the dark while it’s still cool. Supposed to be rain tomorrow. That would be the first day walking in the rain if it happens. Tomorrow Najera.
Day 12 – Navarette to Najara:
So here we go again. I started out at 6:20am with Otto and Linda and headed out of town in the dark. We meandered among the vineyards for most of the day. We had a wonderful breakfast while the rains poured down. It was my first time walking in the rain. It really only lasted for about 30mins. After that I walked alone for the better part of the day. I walked into Najera with a couple of Canadian women which was nice because my feet were killing me. I had started to get yet another blister on my pinky toe almost just after leaving the albergue. By the time I got to my next albergue my feet were in so much pain. I decided I was going to buy new bigger trail shoes (which I did). I headed out for dinner and drinks with Otto, Linda and Feena. I retired to my bed. This albergue has sooo many beds and people don’t like to sleep with the window open so it gets stuffy with all that breathing so in the middle of the night I got up to go pee and I sat in the hallway for a while texting my mom and aunt and falling asleep in the chair. Eventually I went back to bed. People here are reporting bed bugs. It is a way of life on the Camino but it doesn’t mean it’s not my worst nightmare. I wake up at night every night wondering if tonight will be the night I fall prey. Tomorrow Santo Domingo.