Thursday, June 23, 2011

The long road home ...

Hello All
Now just after 4, and the town is waking up. I'm staying at Hostal La Cruz, right on the beach front (just the main road seaparates us), and the view from my room is magnificent. The hotel, like many others we've used, has seen better days, and obviously enjoyed its heyday, but it is clean, functional and convenient. It has one of those funny sits baths - that one can't really bath in, unless you like to sit all squashed up, and a very old and rather holey shower head ... but got by, and then had a lie down as I think I know why I feel off .. my throat is now really sore. Have just spoken to my pharmacist sister (she is always so helpful in these situations) and she says apart from getting a throat lozenger, I should take an anti inflammatory, as that will help too! .... so waiting for the Farmacia, then will get some dinner in a bar (nice and early) and retire to bed for the day.

Some observations:
1. Despite the fact that there are stray cats and often homeless dogs running around, we didn't see any animals killed on the roads. Either people are careful, or the animals have some road sense. Iḿ reminded of this again as this place is crawling with desperate cats, Lots of cats with Siamese colouring seen in Spain.
2. I would never go into a cafe bar at home and just order without asking about the price, or looking at the menu. Here we just went in, ordered, and payed later. Not that we have cafe bars anyway
3. A Zebra crossing is fantastic. You can see we come from SA .... we hesitate, but here you can step off the pavement at a Zebra crossing and cars STOP! they stop. No question. I think we confused a zillion Spanish drivers with our hesitating .... they expected us to just walk. I better watch out at home. Don't however try and cross the road elsewhere in Spain, you will get run over. I had an experience when crossing a main road out in the country. I saw a truck coming, so stopped to wait for it to go past .. when the driver stopped for me! ... it was a main pilgrim crossing point, so they seem to know about those too. Also all Spanish drivers WEAR their seatbelts beacuse they have to. No question, no argument, no bucking the system ....
4. Spain is generally quite clean, but there are often strange and grim drain smells around .. they seem to have a drain problem! Much of my walking yesterday on the beach and into town found my nose pulling up at drain smells. The sea is however lovely and clean, and an azure colour like you can't describe. Also everywhere where I looked at the sea there were hundreds of fish swimming. I even had my feets in the Atlantic ocean. Too cold to swim, although many Spaniards were out there swimming.

Like when Rayna, Sylvia (and Val and Marion) and I walked in Rome I thought a little about what I'd miss and what I wouldn't miss - So, what am I not going to miss?
- hand washing my clothes and having them drying in my bedroom, draped on everything possible
- the cats and dogs .... many seem to have a grim life.

What am I going to miss?
- the freedom to just walk, alone in safety .... where else can a woman do that? Today I walked for about 12km without seeing another pilgrim or anybody else ... I never once felt unsafe. the only issue I has was maybe missing a marker and losing my way ... but safe I was. everybody might not agree ... and Iḿ sure there are places that aren't safe, or instances where woman have been harassed, but I felt safe.
- the time out from daily routine, work, studies, other commitments. Thank you to everyone concerned who had to take up some slack while I was away. I think I speak for the whole group when I say this! we all had family and or friends etc who took up the slack an did without us for a while.
- the coffee. A fellow pilgrim on the way into Santiago, an Italian, laughed and scoffed when I said the coffee was good. He was of the opinion that Italian coffee was the best. I said it was better than what I drink at home! and it is. So milky anf yummy. I love one of those coffee machines in my house and some of these coffee beans.

My walk in Spain has come to an end. I essentially start making my way home now from tomorrow morning. See you all soon!

I have been so blessed on this journey. God is good.


Pam said...

Well done kathy. Been following you the entire way. You are amazing. I salute you. Just so sorry could not walk the whole route and integrate more with everyone. Travel home safely. Keep in touch sending love, Pam xx

lizkzn said...

I also congratulate you Kath on just doing it. It strikes me thst you might think we've been slacking since you've been away, without your standards to keep up with! Looking forward to having you home -we've missed you!