Sunday, July 12, 2015

CISVAAA Camino Pilgrimage to Santiago: Day Seven

Day 7: Palas de Rei to Arzua

It’s hard to believe that we are on the seventh day of our journey. We are now only about forty kilometres from Santiago. Today was our last long day of walking and it was beautiful. We walked through eucalyptus groves where the perfume was intoxicating; we walked over medieval bridges to cross rivers; we passed field upon field of corn, which they feed to the animals through the winter; we saw bales of hay stacked neatly beside farmhouses. Everywhere along the Camino, the locals go about their business, running their lives and doing their work. All are fully aware of the holy path on which they live and are proud and welcoming to the pilgrims. The Camino is fully alive, in every sense.

In contrast to our peaceful morning, we passed through Melide, without diverting from our Camino path. Melide is quite a big and bustling city, and the streets were alive with Sunday activity.  There was a market, with everything ranging from fruits and vegetables to clothing to trinkets. There was also an outdoor dance floor at which they played traditional Spanish music. The floor was filled with couples dancing and smiling and laughing. Even Waldemar and Brenda and Rosaleen got in on the action (Waldemar’s partner was his Go-Pro). It was marvellous to see such fun.

Our accommodation this evening is in a 500 year old farmhouse. We were picked up from the Camino path and brought to an idyllic place where our rooms have original stone walls and the furnishings and d├ęcor echo the era. We were treated to a delicious meal of rural Spanish food in lovely surroundings. The people here take pride in their work and create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

It was somewhat jarring to have to navigate crowded city streets once again. We have been living in the community of pilgrims for a week now, where everyone is either walking the Camino or works to serve the pilgrims. Today’s visit to Melide reminds us that our journey will soon come to an end and we will have to enter our individual realities again. How will we see these realities? What parts of our lives will remain important to us and what will have moved to a less exalted position? We know that our perspectives will have changed, but how will those changes manifest themselves in our daily lives? The answers to these questions remain to be seen, perhaps for some time, but we still have two days of walking reflection to come. We will take all that we can from them.

A view of the countryside as seen through a corn storage structure.

The church near our farmhouse, where the bells are rung by hand by a faithful servant.

Walking through a quiet street in Melide.

The market in Melide.

You must try the octopus!
Walking peacefully in the countryside.
Our 500 year old farmhouse.

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