On the Way to Portugal

Day 12(50): Completing this Camino Day(s)

Endings and transitions seem to be the other side of beginnings and transitions. I’ve known my share of both. Once again at a crossroads and it’s time to put away the walking poles (for a while) and find a seat on the train.

This ending, unlike my last Camino transition where my mind wanted me to continue but my body could not, my body now wants to continue, for it is fit and healthy, but my mind does not. I think I’ve reached my maximum level of enjoyment on arriving in Porto and from here forward believe it will be a case of diminishing returns. There is a heat wave that is about to hit tomorrow and will get into the 90’s. This combined with the track leaving the northern country routes and starting a long stretch paralleling and frequently crossing the national highway with little shade makes going forward unappealing. The feedback I’ve received about the route hasn’t been favorable either though if I really wanted to go I wouldn’t let that sway me. Perhaps, if it were a more scenic path I’d have no qualms in continuing but the factors I listed above, combined with an overall weariness, makes the best case for stopping now.

The great news is that I’m healthy and happy. I can walk without pain and am in great physical shape. This Camino was a success in every sense and I’m grateful for all that I learned and will continue to absorb and process as time goes on. My vanity, always an issue, my dearest friends tell me, would like me to walk yet more and get buffer and leaner, for walking the Way will burn calories and build muscle. But my vanity is going to have to be happy with what I’ve gotten; my whole self benefits from a more balanced and moderate approach. I’m also letting go of my romantic notion of walking back to Lisbon which sounds lovely to say but the price of such notions I’ve learned can be high.

Symbolism has always been of interest to me and how the outer world’s metaphors often reflect my inner experience can be amazing. In pondering to continue or not I was wanting a sign from the universe. This morning as I was at breakfast in the hotel I looked up and to my great joy and surprise I saw our two Australian friends, Glenys and Kevin. We’d first met them the second night on the Camino and then again and again becoming friends on the Way. We really thought and hoped we’d see them in Santiago at the end of our journey, but sadly didn’t. Now here they were right there in front of me! It was a happy reunion. They too had just finished the Camino on Sunday having gone onto Finisterre and back to Santiago, taking a bus to Porto on Monday. Of all the coincidences, that we’d be in the same hotel in Porto at the same time, seemed like a sign to me. We’d hoped to celebrate our ending together and now meeting again could do so (Lil being with us in spirit). We shared emails and big hugs and I felt complete.

So where do I go from here? Tomorrow I go to Lisbon by train and will spend a few days there exploring new and old places. After that I don’t know. If I decide to do some further kind of adventuring I will post again. Otherwise this will be the last entry of this journey. I thank you for your interest in my musings and look forward to our next connection.


Will the Wayfarer

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