Posted by: knitknigel | June 6, 2009

The Mysteries of the Universe – Solved?

It´s amazing that on this, the penultimate day of the Camino for me, I walked almost entirely alone. I have a feeling that it was mainly because we stopped last night about 5 kilometers from the place where most people spend the night. That meant that all the people there already had a good head start on me.

But being alone gave me lots of opportunity to ponder the mysteries of the universe. I was actually stumped by the first thing I pondered though. How do those little rocks find their way into my shoes and then how do they know to settle where they will provide the most pain and irritation? Nope, couldn´t figure it out at all.

So I moved to why it needed to rain on the last three days of my Camino, when the weather has been so nice up until Portomarín? It rained much of yesterday while I walked my 25 kilometers, and today it rained for most of my 28 kilometers. And tomorrow they promise more rain. Oh such joy. But really, imponderable. As the song says, “Can´t Stop the Rain”.

And the last imponderable of the day – why haven´t the people of Galicia fixed the marker stones, so that they read the right distances? It´s about 9 kilometers off at the 100 kilometer mark, and now it´s about 3 kilometers off – frustrating when you think you are almost there and then walk 2 more hours to the town you hope to stay in. No wait, that´s not the last imponderable, why am I listening to Silent Night right this minute in the Albergue where I´m staying?

But notwithstanding the weather and the imponderables, it was a lovely day and there is only ONE more day left of this Camino of mine – and Geordie´s too. We talked on the phone twice today and we are both 21 kilometers from Santiago. And I walked for the second day in a row without my pack. How nice to have that weight off my shoulders. Tomorrow I don´t know. We are going to a hotel and the pack delivery service is from Albergue to Albergue, so I just might be carrying my pack.

I also had to go out and buy myself a new rain poncho. Yesterday, when I needed to use my first one, a very cheap plastic one, it took about 10 minutes to peel the layers apart while the rain got harder and harder. Then I tore the side out and had to tuck the thing into my belt to stop it from flapping. So I got one in Melide, right after having my Pulpo Gallego. I was so glad to have it yesterday and today, although today I managed to rip the front of it, because the neck hole was too small and I was too eager to get it off at the Albergue. Oh well, it was only 5.50 Euros and Geordie reminds me that I have some bulldog clips I can hold it together with for the last day.

Because tomorrow is the big day. At the moment, plans are to get up very early and start the Camino by 5 am, so that people can make the noon mass at the Cathedral. It´s an important part of the Camino ritual, along with putting one´s fingers in the same holes in one of the columns of the entrance worn there by the millions who have gone before. Then one needs to bump heads with Maestro Mateo, the builder of the very imposing entrance to the Cathedral, in part to gain his wisdom. Then the final ritual for the Pilgrim is to go up behind the high altar and hug the statue of Santiago who looks out over the Pilgrim masses who have arrived to honour him.

So I had better get to bed early tonight and sleep well. Today was a long long day, and I was so happy to arrive. I am with my other six friends, all of whom are Spanish who speak very little English, so I am really challenged. Today at some point on the way, I realized I was thinking of things in Spanish – bad Spanish yes, but still, Spanish. I´ll be speaking the language like a native at this rate.

¿Ultreia, mis amigos! Onward, my friends!


  1. Hi Nigel,

    I have no answer as to why you were hearing “Silent Night” but the answer to all your other imponderables was discovered eons ago: it even has a name – Murphy’s Law – if anything can go wrong it will, and it has a corollary – if everything seems to be going well, there is obviously something wrong.
    Anyway, good luck and good fortune on your ultimate day, and I hope that sticking your finger in that hole brings you all the wisdom you desire.

    All the best,


  2. Best wishes on your arrival in Santiago Nigel. I arrived with my spouse yesterday and am enjoying a beautiful day in Finesterre- the rain stopped on our arrival here. I wish I had the power to dry out your last camino day. I had so little rain I feel penitent, but when I did, I sang Eric Clapton- Let it rain! Let it rain! Let your love rain down on me!

  3. It’s 4:38 am in Spain right now so I imagine you’re getting organized and ready to walk out that door. Enjoy the final day and all that it brings you.

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