It’s not all sunshine and roses

Hopefully the train of thought in this post is not too confusing, my journal entry was written over the space of a day so in a few places it jumps ahead a couple of hours!  This was my hardest day on the Camino emotionally but I got through it and out to the next day and the day after and the day after that – no matter how bad things look there is always tomorrow, and tomorrow is full of possibility if you let it be.

Day 5 – my day off in Melide

My body has spoken and today we go nowhere!  The blister on my right foot is very sore, my back muscles want nothing to do with my pack, my foot hurts, my ankle is whinging, the rest of my muscles are rather unhappy and I am exhausted.  I guess I need to restock my adrenaline and it does mean I get to go back to sleep and then spend the day checking out Melide, which apparently has a museum that traces the history of the area and its occupants back to the time when people lived in holes in the ground with a big stone slab as a roof so that could be interesting!  There is also apparently a church with some amazing fresco’s AND I can wander back down the hill to the really cute village I didn’t take any photos of yesterday.  Then I can re-stock my compeede and painkiller supply and maybe even find some deep heat – but for now, I nap.

I figure it will take me 3 more days, maybe 4, to get to Santiago and then (after I rest for a day or two) another 3-5 days to get to Finisterre depending on how I go.  I would like to go on to Muxia but hey, that’s what buses are for right?!  After that I’ll head back to Santiago where I’ll have a day or two before I head back to Paris – but there’s really no point in planning these things!  I’ll get there when I get there – Santiago will always be there and so will Finisterre.

The museum in Melide is possibly one of the best I have ever been to.  It is small and understated but has a fantastic collection grouped in displays from each era but also separated into trades typical of the area (including shoe making, a smith’s or armourer’s display including bellows and ancient sewing machines etc)


Then also clothing, jewellery and watches from Roman times including a large collection of pocket watches (some exquisitely painted), coins from many eras, religious artefacts and even a bag-pipe display (as the bag-pipe is a traditional Galician instrument).

They also have a wall dedicated to carved wooden murals including the sketches for some – I have never seen so many in one place or so many that were so detailed yet looked so simple at the same time.  I would recommend a visit to the museum for anyone passing through Melide who would find that type of thing interesting.


For lunch I went to Chaplin’s – a Charlie Chaplin themed cafe on the corner of the main street and watched the Pilgrims walk past.  I am so hungry today, I guess it comes from not being able to eat much for a couple of days but so far I have had the usual tea and toast for breakfast, followed by 2 muesli bars, 2 packets of mini choc-chip cookies and then for lunch Spanish omelette with croquettes, salad and calamares (calamari).  It’s as if the hunger I haven’t had has finally caught up with me.  I had expected the complete opposite; to be ravenously hungry on the days I was walking because of all the energy I was burning.  Oh well, my body makes no sense but we had already established that!

After lunch and a foot soak I headed down the hill to Furelos – my foot felt the best it had in days due to a combination of salt soaking and a less fancy dressing than the compeede (gauze and tape).  Furleos was beautiful and the sun was out so I took quite a few photos.

On the way back I met 2 german girls who had just finished school and were walking even slower than me – see, it is possible!  Turns out I’m not the slowest person on the Camino after all!  I think I should pass them tomorrow if all is ok for me to get going again.

I have no idea why I expected Compeede to be better than the blister dressings we have at home – maybe they stick a little better but I’m not convinced.  I guess the problem with blisters is that they rarely occur in places that dressings can stick to easily so really, what’s the point in getting expensive dressings if they’re only going to come off and you need to change them every day anyway?  Ah well, hopefully this day off has given my body what it needs and I can get going to Arzua tomorrow.

Or not.  We’ve had a bit of a melt-down this evening.  I am so hungry but can’t eat anything, nothing will go/stay down.  Oh my poor body, why don’t I understand what you need?  I suppose this is all due to the reflux I had the other night and now my stomach etc is inflamed.  I thought this experience would help me understand you, the way you work and then we could work better together and you could be a little more cooperative when we can both see what we are capable of together.  I just don’t understand.

And how do you explain to a Spanish chef with limited English that I actually do want to eat, that the food is very good but I just can’t and I don’t know why exactly.  I hope he didn’t get offended by my not eating anything because he was very nice and offered to cook me something else – the only problem is, something else would have ended up the same!  Urgh, can we just finish this now and go back to Paris?  Failure is not an option.  I want to talk to my mum but it’s 4am at home and I don’t think she’d appreciate being woken up even if she would insist it’s ok.  Maybe I do understand my body.  Maybe I already know what I’m capable of, maybe that is what I was brought here to find.

I dunno, I guess I half hoped that the magic of the Camino would make me better by then end.  It’s sure done a lot of other magical mysterious things so why not this?!  If I just kept walking I was sure it would all be ok by Santiago.  I expected pain, I expected difficulty but I expected that at the beginning, not half way through!  I think I had some romantic notion that with every step closer to Santiago I would feel my world, my life, me getting lighter as I left all the crap behind and set down my burdens for the universe to dispose of for me.  The truth is, I am really not that emotionally needy but some occasional reassurance would be very nice!  Just so I know I am going the right way and it’s not always going to be like this!  No, I didn’t expect a miracle, I didn’t expect to be magically cured of anything and everything and never have trouble again in my life but I sure did expect something!  It’s like getting a tattoo; people ask all the time ‘did it hurt’ well, the answer is obviously yes (well duh, you’re having an ink-filled needle repeatedly stabbed into your skin – did you expect it to tickle?) but that’s not the point, the point is that there is something more important than the pain, that by the time the pain stops and it heals you have something much more, something marked on your skin forever to remind you of something significant (well that’s what mine are for, I am well aware there are a lot of tattoos out there with significantly less significance!) – that’s what an experience like this is like.  No matter what happens, no matter how much pain you go through, no matter how hard it is, by the end you have something etched into your soul till your dying day to remind you of what you have achieved.  I guess I hoped it would also be more tangible and less symbolic – what if I get to the end and it’s all still the same?

It’s just not fair!  I push myself, I strive for things that other people in my situation would not believe they can achieve but I know I can but why is it always so hard?  What if I find nothing?  I wanted things to change, I wanted my life to change, I wanted me to change – to at least gain some insight into how to manage things when they get tough.  Maybe I’m supposed to realise that I don’t have to change.  That this is how it, how I am supposed to be, how my life is supposed to be.  I don’t think I can accept that!  I can’t admit defeat, that’s why I’m here and that is why I am going to keep going.  But hang on, if this is it then do I have to keep going?  Well, yes.  Why? Because I have to, I owe it to myself to keep going and if I must, I will walk on in despair.

It was supposed to be monumental – something many people (including myself a few years ago) would not expect me to achieve.  Monumental, symbolic, magical, romantic, fairy-tale-like (ok I might be getting a little carried away but I am upset and feel perfectly entitled).  I wasn’t supposed to find something in the cathedral at the end, no inner peace from God for me, it was supposed to come to me along the way.  But if this is what I was supposed to find, I don’t want it.  Take it back and I can continue dreaming, wishing, hoping and threatening for my life to be better.  But I know I couldn’t go on the way I was, even being here is an amazing achievement and I don’t want to go back to it being like it was before.  Can I do it now, knowing this?  Knowing that it will always be harder for me, that there is no quick-fix; that my life is going to suck forever and I will never be able to achieve my dreams?  And if this is really what it is supposed to be like – can I cope with study for another 4 years?  Or do I find a job I can do a settle for being less than I know I can be, less than I dream to be.  I guess bringing up kids believing they can do anything is a bit cruel.  Much better to grow up with no dreams and be surprised along the way (wow I’m depressing right now).

But what will I do with this new knowledge?  That is really the question.  Will I succumb and let it bring me down?  Let it run my life?  Ruin my life?  Be depressed?  Be a ‘sick person’?  Make the world feel sorry for me or resent and despise me for my limited conversation and incessant complaining because that is all I am, all I have and all I talk about?  Do I finally pick up the white flag, fall to my knees and give myself up to God?  Give myself over to his protection, love and comfort because I can’t do it for myself any more?
It’s not exactly in my nature but I suppose I could if it were necessary

I don’t know what to do

Just walk…


It’s ok, it gets better!


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