Saturday, July 26, 2008

τετέλεσται

I'm home now.

I got to Santiago on the 18th, having walked about 85km in my last two days. I was a little bit tired.

My last 10km into Santiago, it was late, so there weren't many pilgrims on the road, but everyone I passed (or more accurately, everyone who passed me) would shout out things like "congratulations, you're almost there," and "only 7 more km!" Old men sitting in bars on sidewalks would tell me to give St. James a hug for them, and some cyclists stopped to tell me that I should turn left at the hill, and I was almost there.

Which all should have been really lovely, except I was exhausted and they were all speaking Spanish which still takes me forever to understand, so my response to all of this was to grumble to myself, "I know how fucking far it is to Santiago, do I look stupid? I've made it 790km by myself already, I don't need your goddamn directions for the last hour, and if you want to hug St. James so badly, do it yourself, douchebag."

Then when I finally got to the city, I was far more taken with all the shops selling clothes that were clean and smelled new, and that nobody had been hiking in for a month than I was with the Cathedral itself.

So, to sum up, I took two things away from my monthlong spiritual pilgrimmage:
1. a loathing for my fellow man
2. a drive to buy lots of shiny new things

Also, I probably learned some things. And I have more freckles.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wonder if you feel an elation when you arrived. I did for the first time, but then on the 2nd and 3rd camino, it was just another mark for the end of the camino.

I have a camino blog too. http://camino.wificat.com

Anonymous said...

I walked the camino also, far from the madding crowd. Looking forward to arriving at Santiago de Compostela was almost as good, if not better, than arriving itself. To me striving to become an enlightened man is more appealing than being one. I was just glad to see a waymarker, in the northeastern Switzerland, pointing to Santiago 2315km away. Assured, I just kept walking. I liked your blog.

howardd5 said...

i'm sorry you end was not as upbeat as your beginning. perhaps your hurrying to finish made your pilgrimage into a chore . i've walked on the Camino 5 times and look back fondly to each day. I strove to connect with the many pilgrims i walked with and hoped to see things thru their eyes.
I remember a comment from a crusty old walker we called Mister Blister for obvious reasons, when asked after particularly hot/ bad day " was it worth the trouble " and he replied "what trouble? "
best wishes Darrell

Anonymous said...

I didn't loathe my fellow man. I mostly knew I didn't need them!

Anonymous said...

What a big baby. I wish I could go on this pilgrimage. And now all that happened to you was you were filled with hatred. What a moron. YOU KNEW it wouldn't be easy. CHILLON.

Anonymous said...

Ha! - I like surprise endings, and you gave it. I'm reading along and enjoying the adversity - and diversity - and when it's time for you to sum it up it abrubtly ends with - crap.

I wish you'd post again now that time has passed to give us more of a rear view mirror perspective....

Anonymous said...

I bet you're allot of fun at parties.

herbert said...

Hello rage ,
I met some girls from Canada climbing the Ocebreiro and I was amazed at their "rage", they were an unhappy lot , amazing this camino is for fun !!
Just like the woods around Ontario .
another peregrino berth41

Anonymous said...

Great camino blog! Those souls who can keep up the piety, wonder and earnestness for the length of the camino are whacko, IMHO. (And God bless 'em, too!)

I walked in 1988 and this blog brought back some great memories- the "secret code of the yellow arrows" entry was worth the price of admission.

I also had an anticlimactic arrival in Santiago de Compostela. In order to get that "50% off coupon for Purgatory" I lied and said I did the walk for religious reasons. I then regretted fibbing and threw the Compostela away the next day. Not every journey end with trumpets announcing one's entrance to the city.

Thanks for great account. -John

Anonymous said...

"So, to sum up, I took two things away from my monthlong spiritual pilgrimmage:
1. a loathing for my fellow man"

Along with disgust with those being kind to her.

Sounds little to do with a downer Santiago arrival - or lack of spiritual piety - and more of a bad attitude in general. To the point of depression.

Maybe she needs medication.

By the way - wow - the route in 1988 had to be fascinating. Less touristed and developed.

Anonymous said...

we are about to leave in 2 days from Australia..just read your last entry..have just picked myself up off the floor from laughing!!!!!!hope we don't feel the same..we'll see :)

annie o said...

i'm leaving for the camino in 5 days and feel the same as the aussies-couldn't stop laughing! i know everyone's experience is unique - i haven't heard this perspective before! thanks for all the laughs. i'll be blogging, too, of course. i wonder if there is anyone who walks the camino without blogging?!! i won't make a blatant post about my blog address here, if you want to read it you will have to find me....
-annie o'neil

Anonymous said...

This is the best pilgrim blog I've seen--I love the Camino but whenever I've actually been walking on it, I've been achy, hot/cold, wet, miserable...and not exactly feeling enlightened. Later when my feet have returned to normal and my legs stopped aching, amazing landscapes come back to me and I remember that feeling of being alone on the trail, a trail a thousand years old.

AnnieSantiago said...

This was a HOOT!

I read it with tears running down my cheeks as I laughed and said, ÝES! YES! YES!

Great blog!

Sandi said...

Rachel... I leave to walk the Camino from SJPP on 21 April. Your blog is hysterical... I am in tears and the dog and cats are looking at me as if I'm mad!
I hope that I come across some of the "characters" that you did... it will make my trip even better!
Buen Camino :)
Sandi

Jason said...

That's a great bit of writing!

I can just imagine you looking at the clean clothes with your wallet in your hand.

Mary McInerney said...

It's years later but I had to tell you ... this is brilliant. I started my full day in the vineyard 2 years ago today so I'm on here dipping in and out and remembering. Your blog is fantastic. I laughed so much. (It was supposed to be funny, wasn't it?!!)

Anonymous said...

I don't get it. Where's the funny parts?