PLEASE DON’T READ THIS IF YOU’RE EASILY OFFENDED… there is a little bit of swearing …
Last night we shared our last supper in our apartment overlooking the sea. We shared bread and cheese and ham and fruit and nuts and a chilled bottle of Cava and a rather nice Rioja. We shared funny stories and talked about our journey.
We tried to say which had been the best bit… Seville… or Merida in the Plaza Major on a Saturday night… or stunning Cacares… or the mountains around A Gudina… or either of the two monasteries… or Muxia. We couldn’t decide and every time we mentioned one it was replaced with another. We decided there were just too many to pick.
We tried to think of the funniest moments… recounting them one after another and laughing until we couldn’t breath and salty tears streamed down our faces.
The Running of the Pigs with Maggie heading for the trees and the poor little pig with a dust trail rising from his stampede.
Our Monty Python phase which was totally not that funny but at the same time so ridiculous that we’ll never remember The Life of Brian or The Holy Grail without thinking about the endless Vineyards of the Via.
We remembered how childish we’d been about Entrepenas… the silly remarks like nice bells… how much bigger it was than we’d imagined… why did we find that so funny?
We laughed about my crazy moments on bridges and with the bulls and with the odd mad dog… Maggie laughed til she couldn’t breath as she remembered my very British reaction to one trio of hunting dogs… as she marched forward I called our from the rear… I’m really not that comfortable with this Maggie… I thought I was being calm and collected but my Aussie friend was in hysterics with my Englishness.
Oh we laughed as we remembered. We searched through our photos to back up the stories… images of us or the people and the places… photos that we understood because we’d been there.
We talked about all the pilgrims we met… the ones we loved and the ones that we didn’t. We remembered the early days of the Memphis Storms and wondered if that week had taught us anything. We remembered our group of friends that we’d walked with in the first half of this journey and wondered how they were doing. We recalled the passing friendships in the second half… so many great people… so many experiences between us all… the places they’ve travelled to and the stories they’ve told have left me richer for knowing them.
And then there was The F Word. Sadly this word has become synonymous with our walk. When I’m nervous or scared I tend to say this a lot… and we both tended to use it in a range of circumstances. Early on Maggie had sent me this YouTube link… IT CONTAINS A LOT OF THE F WORD!
From then on we found ourselves using the word a lot but always with its grammatical use after… for example . .. what the F*** (questioning)… look at that F***ING hill (disbelief)… that was F***ING steep (adjective). You get the idea. I’ve no idea why we found this so amusing but it’s a sad fact that we did… indeed we never tired of this game… I blame the Aussies!
So we ate and drank and laughed into the night.
I went to bed remembering all that we have shared and all that we’ve seen. Honestly it doesn’t seem real. Did we really walk in the footsteps of the Romans… and the Celts… and all the thousands and thousands who walked before them?
At times I was fearful and footsore… other times so homesick… other times reflective about life and our experiences.
We’ve met strangers who have treated us like long lost friends and friends that treated us as strangers. The scenery and the history has dwarfed me and overwhelmed me at times… we are just a dot in time. The sea will keep rolling, the mountains will still be there and the sun will keep rising long after we’re all gone. But I’ve learned that none of that really matters as long as the ones I love are safe and happy and as long as there are adventures to be had and places to walk to then life will be good.
I got up early again… I showered and used real conditioner and shampoo in my hair… I used a real hair brush and a proper hairdryer… I put on proper civvies and packed away my pilgrim clothes… it was time to leave.
We drove Maggie back to Muxia. We had one more cafe con leche and they gave us free churros. We walked back to the car and Maggie took her coat and bags… she’s staying one more night in Muxia and then two more nights in Santiago before flying to Paris for a couple of days… and then home to Melbourne.
We tried to pose for one last photo but we couldn’t… we just hugged each other tight and cried. I couldn’t say goodbye. We hugged each other again… I’m crying now just typing this… still I couldn’t say goodbye… so I said see you… Maggie walked away up the street without looking back. How will I cope without my fearless wonderful Maggie?
We put home into the satnav… it really was time to go.