Walking the Camino was always about making space in my heart for another furry companion. Kobi, our very special Labrador had gone to the big sky and I needed time before finding a replacement. And not a replacement in that sense. I needed to be able to commence a new journey.
I carried a photograph of Kobi with me all the way. I left 2 stones along The Way. It was a process of letting go and making space in my life.
Judy and I stayed at a really rustic place called San Anton. It was run in a very traditional way. Donation, shared meal, no electricity, cold showers and no wifi. Judy has 2 sons. Stefan and Anton. She was obviously drawn to this place because of the name. That day we had only walked 15km. We arrived at these ruins and knew that we wanted to spend the night. There were only 14 beds. It was a no-brainer. Just a really cool place.
San Anton is the patron saint of all animals. He is always depicted with a pig at his feet. Each place you stay has a stamp. This is proof that you have walked to Santiago. You are then awarded your compostela.
San Anton used a stamp with the Tau cross. I like the symbol. The shape and the meaning. This establishment had some beads and we were encouraged to make something. I decided to make a bracelet with the name Tau. I thought this could be the name of my new puppy. So I walked with Tau from then onwards until the end. San Anton was close to Castrojeriz – between Burgos and Leon.
In Greek ancient times, Tau was used as a symbol for life and resurrection. This seemed appropriate. And so as I walked, space opened up in my heart. Space for Tau.
I knew all along I wanted a Hungarian Vizsla. I had been quite taken the first time I met one in Newlands Forest at the end of 2014.
I had set a clear intention at the start of the Camino in St Jean Pied de Port – making space for a new furry friend. I had to smile when on 19 May 2015 at 11h16 a dog dive-bombed my photo under the arch at the start! Significant.
So when I connected with Corne in Heidelberg upon my return, I knew my dog would be called Tau. I found out on my return that Tau in African language refers to lion. A friend, Alison also pointed out to me the link between Tau and Taurus the bull with the obvious link to Spain.
And that is the story about how Tau got his name.
We went to Heidelberg yesterday to choose Tau and will collect him in 3 weeks time when he is 8 weeks old.
Brian and I are so excited. This is a new chapter in our lives. Time to build new memories. I can’t wait.
Left Muxia and got bus back to Finnesterre. Had booked a twin room before I left and said to Judy – no pressure, would be great to see you again before I depart.
Was back by noon. Did some washing in the machine. My kit was beyond hand washing. Quickly got it in the tumble dryer. Got news that Judy was close.
She arrived around 1h30pm. Been a long day. Another 30km. I was feeling more refreshed! Anyhow the day turned into a peach. The fog burnt off. The sun came out. The sea sparkled. It was the perfect beach day.
We went down to beach, walked the length again, looked for more shells, had a swim in the ocean (which is not as cold as Cape Town), had a coffee at the end of the beach, chatted, chilled, soaked up the sun and watched the world go by. Felt like I was on holiday.
Around 7pm we wondered home. Have booked this fantastic spot overlooking the beach. No more dormitory rooms for me! Wondered into town. Had been told to eat at O Pirata – The Pirate. The food was outstanding. All local seafood – straight from the sea. Prawns, scallops, mussels, barnacles and cockles. We took local advice on the wine – white wine this time from the local area. Dessert was apple cake made by his mother. All delicious. One of the best meals we have had on the Camino. Fit for a king and not a pilgrim!
Then walked up the mountain as Judy needed to get to zero km at lighthouse. No sunset tonight. Too much cloud. Much warmer than the night I was there.
Wondered down in the dark and saw fire flies in the bushes! Quite magical! Great catch up. Seemed right to be here – the end of the Ancient World with Judy. After all we had experienced together, I am glad we could share this experience too!
It is hard to comprehend how incredible it was to meet Judy. She was the true blessing of the Camino for me. We just connected from that first moment and when we started chatting we found instant hooks.
We are both more spiritual than religious. For us the joy was nature more than church buildings, although some are incredibly majestic and others beautiful in their simplicity.
We are both competitive by nature. We had this common connection through sport and rowing in particular. We knew when to turn it on to help us get through a tough stretch.
We were both prepared. We had tried and tested our kit. We were both fit. We had trained with and without our kit. We walked at the same pace. This is so important. In fact on the Camino it is the most critical thing. You are always told to walk at your own pace.
We both love animals and dogs in particular. We talked to all the animals along the way. Said hello to all the dogs and cats. They never bothered us.
Judy has family connections in Croatia. I spent a memorable holiday there around the time of the war in the early 1990’s and the country made a huge impression on me especially with regards where SA was in its journey.
I am an astrologer. I understand how important and significant timing is in life. Judy had come knowing she wanted to start at a particular time. This guidance came from an astrologer friend of hers. That was mind blowing and set the tone. In fact I get goose bumps thinking about it.
We both love coffee and chocolate! But Judy is gluten and dairy intolerant. Not me!
We felt enormously comfortable in each other’s company from the start. In fact on night one we were asked if we were sisters. This happened a few times along the way.
We both arrived on our own intending to walk alone but that clearly did not happen! But what I think is important, is that both of us were open to exploring what the Camino had to offer. We just had no idea what the Universe had in mind!
And this demonstrates how important it is to be open and to trust. This is the way.
For many people, Muxia feels more spiritual than Finnistere. They are both small, sleepy fishing villages. Both have that same Galician charm. The fog sits along the coast often until noon and then the sun burns it off and blue skies prevail like today. Reminds me of some aspects of the Atlantic Seaboard – without the multi-million Rand apartments! It is the same cold Atlantic Ocean. The same ocean that brings fog to Cape Town.
The area is surrounded by big granite boulders. Once again a similar feel. But more Celtic. So there are aspects that remind me of home. And it is time to end this journey and head home, even although I am not home until end July.
The Camino journey is done.
Spent a lazy day wondering around the fishing harbour and the coastline which is quite spectacular. Ocean everywhere you look.
Took a bus this morning to Muxia. I felt like a tourist and not a pilgrim. This is a different experience. It made me appreciate the Camino even more. I realised when I was in the bus I was seeing the countryside. But walking is something quite different. It is a much richer experience. You use all your senses when you walk. Not only do you see but you also hear the sounds of nature and the environment around you, you smell the scents in the air – some glorious and others not, you feel the land beneath your feet. You can stop and touch things, smell them and look more closely. You stop and rest along the way and taste the local foods. Walking makes you engage all your senses and this is what makes it such a rich experience.
We arrived by taxi in a short hour! Found a place to stay. Back to 10 Euro in a bunk bed. A far cry from the lovely twin room on the square in Santiago!
Anyhow I did not plan to stay there long. Just a bed for the night.
Went exploring this quaint fishing village – the most Western point of Europe. The end of the world as far as the 10th Century pilgrim was concerned. There was no where else to walk from here traveling west.
The tide was in. Boats lazed in the harbour. People came and went. Dogs too. Pilgrims pass through here but not many other tourists. Quite a remote part of Spain.
Met up with Christine. Decided to get some lunch. Greg joined us. His daughter was catching up some sleep!
Then we all went our separate ways. I was keen to explore the long beach. Look for my own shell – even though I collected one from St Jean Pied de Port.
The tide was out. This was a really sleepy beach. Long, lazy with a small gentle wash onto the beach. Seagulls milling about. Some bobbing on the flat sea.
Looked for shells. Plenty in a small area. Walked all the way to the end. There was no rush. Nothing else to do.
Got to end. Found a bar. Had an ice-cream. Then a coffee. Sat for a few hours writing down some thoughts.
Around 6pm I walked back. This is a peninsula so the setting sun is on the other side. I needed to charge my phone. Went back to albergue.
It is a 3km walk up the hill. The sun sets around 10h30pm. I had plenty of time. I walked up the hill. Wondered around. Found a rock. Sat down and watched the sun sink into the sea. Reminded me of Llundudno.
It got cold. I could have done with my down jacket. Luckily a Spanish family gave me a lift down. I was grateful. Then quickly went to find something to eat. I needed a shower before I climbed into my sleeping bag. I had a key for the front door.