Tag Archives: the way is St.. James

Goodbye, Camino

31 Jul

We’re on the train from Santiago de Compostela to Madrid.

It’s interesting to see the big-picture view of Galicia after seeing it from such close detail while walking. The rolling hills are covered with lush forests, dotted here and there with the red roofs and stone walls of farm houses and small villages. In the background stand the bluish outlines of the Ancares Mountains.

It is so vast and it is so hilly! No wonder my feet are sore with blisters.

As we zoom along, I yearn to see a glimpse of the Camino. I don’t want to let it out of my sight. It’s a sentimental feeling, much like I would experience when, as a kid, our family would leave my grandparents home in Colorado, and I’d watch sadly as the Rockies would slowly disappear.

I want to keep close all of the sights, sounds and smells of the Camino in my thoughts. Here are some of those Camino moments I want to treasure:

The dappled late morning paths when the sun would shine through the thick forest.

The wildflowers that brightened the trail: fuchsia delphiniums, violet lupines and wild daisies.

The moss-covered stone fences that seemed to have been standing for centuries.

The vistas at the top of a hill. In the early morning, the fog would hug the valley and the blues and greens would run together like a watercolor painting.

The stars sparkling brightly in the dark dawn sky.

A dirt path made soft by fragrant pine needles.

A gentle thunderstorm that lulled us to sleep in Lestedo.

The tops of the fir trees swaying in the wind.

The dark and damp forests where bright green ferns covered the floor.

The colorful gardens in the homes on the path that seemed to have been planted for our benefit. Hydrangeas bushes erupting with blooms of white, blue and purple. Large yellow and pink dahlias. Pots of bright red geraniums.

The smells of the Camino ranged from overpowering to delightfully fragrant.

The most pervasive smell was manure. We passed countless dairies and farms and had to watch our step to avoid many a cow pie. Unfortunately, we also followed a group of four pilgrims on horseback.

So we’d be relieved when we’d get a whiff of freshly mowed hay or rosemary or sage or pine.

The sounds were equally varied. The birds serenaded us every morning. Owls — or something that sounded like them — often hooted from nearby bushes.

We heard cow bells, church bells, babbling brooks, baaing sheep and mooing cows. One afternoon I felt the ground tremble and looked over to see a horse galloping in a pasture.