My Camino Story Pt4

25th October Pamplona to Puente La Reina

Today I am the wounded pilgrim: Anna the Dutch woman from the bunk below mine has made a makeshift sling for my arm, but my progress is slow and only possible through my friends sharing the load with me, our journey is a long one today and we will have a climb (more gently than the Pyrenees but we will reach 2590 ft)

“Ahead of you is a range of hills with wind-powered turbines clearly visible on the skyline. You climb up through these at the Alto del Perdon as you ascend there are wonderful views back over Pamplona”

(Camino de Santiago Maps, day 4: John Brierley)

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The view from the Alto del Perdon (Hill of Forgiveness) back towards the Pyrenees

Everyone is a little more subdued today there is much talk of forgiveness and what this might mean for each of, yes its seems everyone has need of forgiveness or a need to forgive someone and although we are still joking and teasing each other they is much quite discussion in pairs and small groups.

Something happens when you take this journey… if you are open to it and most who take it, seem to be open…

I spend most of the day with Anna she is a woman who lives her life to a deep spiritual code and I find it easy to open up to her about my past and the struggles  I have to move forward in my life, I know it is time to let the past go, but am really struggling to do so.

I am determined that this will be the day that through the act of forgiveness I will be able to move forward…

I am determined to forgive…

I realise that the main person I have to forgive is myself and that this is a tall order, at the time my sense of responsibility was overwhelming and it felt completely justified, I didn’t see how I could move past this…

We arrive at the summit and everyone scatters around the top of the hill, people are sitting alone with their thoughts, some are upset, most are just quiet, alone not lonely but alone, this is a time to work through feelings not to merely express them.

I gaze out towards Pamplona and, I fancy, the Pyrenees in the far distance I guess the are about 60 miles away but it fees like a lifetime, the main road snakes alongside the route of the Camino into the tunnel under the hill, you can easily travel 60 miles in an hour, we have taken nearly 4 days, I think about this… how fast everything has become, how quickly we want everything sorted out…

Inside I am so frustrated at my inability to let go and move on and in the end I get up, I give up trying… despondent I wandered over to Simon, Matt, Paul and Angela, Anna takes our picture with the Steel  Pilgrims and we move back towards the path of the Camino.

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“It’s a ridge” says Simon

“What do you mean” I say

“you can see everywhere we have come from on one side and now, as we head forward we can see what’s  to come.”

I look up, ahead I can see a similar view to that which is behind us; there are the hills against the clouded sky and to my left the  road with rushing cars re-emerging from the tunnel, I can see the path down the hill and as I look down I see the arrow.

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This is the way forward…

I think about where we have been, all the walking we have done, how hard it has been and how much laughter there has been…

It hits me gently…

This way…

I see I am on a tipping point between the past and the future, behind me I can see all that’s past, I can remember it, I can relive it, I know it…

If I look to the future I can see it as more of the same, but this is because I look at it from the perspective of what I know (the past). The truth is, the truth that I have to keep alive every day, is that I do not know what the future will bring: if I spend my time weighing up what might happen against what has happened, I don’t move forward I just bring the past with me… I see I have done this for too long, this is a tipping point and I step forward.

This way…

We take a long time to get down to Puente La Reina  my shoulder is extremely painful and I am uncertain as to what to do about walking tomorrow.  It is late when we arrive at the Albergue and we are all feeling the exertions of the last few days. However that night  I spend a long time talking to Anna about my experiences on the ridge, She talks about the Camino as a place where work is done, answers are sought, needs are met… Anna asks me if I am on holiday or am I here to work?

Later in bed, I feel at home, I feel forgiven…

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This is The Way

Thank you for all your comments I will reply ASAP but we have a power cut in the UK tonight because there is weather!!

Bright blessings

Andy

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5 thoughts on “My Camino Story Pt4

    • Thanks again for your comment it is strange to relive these experiences after so long but they are still very strong in me, this one in particular… I have been thinking of some tips for you but everyone is, as you say here, different my experience on this camino was strongly linked to the people I was with and met… others walk alone still others stay in one group for the whole time… I think it is good to spend at least some time walking alone ….. the only other tips are practical pack light consider spending money on a light rucksack dont ware big heavy walking boots I found lightweight walking shoes were good in the end…. there is plenty of water on most of the route and a good map book like Brierley gives enough information to augmented the yellow arrows. .. an open mind and open heart is all you realy need I met a guy walking in traners carrying what he needed in a shoulder bag… hope this helps there will be more in the blog as it develops thanks again for your interest. .. 🙂 andy

      • Great tips and info – thank you! All very useful and things for us to consider. We look forward to reading more from you – either Camino or other stuff 🙂
        We enjoy reading your stuff! Keep it up!

  1. I’ve just read parts one to four all in one go, I’m hooked. Your story is really touching something in me, I shed a few tears reading this last post. The Camino is something I’ve wanted to do for the last few years but the calling is becoming quite deafening now-I feel like I need to do this, and soon. I can’t wait for the next instalment! Much love xx

    • Thankyou so much for your comment … I have taken so long to start writting and to know that what I have written had had the impact you describe is very very important to me… I hope you are able to make your camino I too waited a long time befor circumstances meant I had no more excuses… in the end it took me (but I dont want to spoil the ending…) longer than I thought but however you do it, I don’t think you will regret it, I feel it will be great for you to do…… Buen Camino x Andy

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