Sunday, February 10, 2013

Day 26, almost done!

Since Tuy, we've seen new markers, large 10x10 cm stones, about 100cm high stuck in the ground, indicating distance left to Santiago, accurate to three decimal places. I noticed the first one at 114.476 but didn't see another for a long time. At first, I liked knowing the exact distance remaining but sometimes it was annoying.

Sometimes they appear too often. We saw one at 29.924 and celebrated. Soon we came to 29.576 and were a little demoralized. "What!? We've only gone…348 meters since the last one!?!"

Sometimes they are too far apart, which is disorienting because we stopped looking at the guidebook when the countdown started.

It's common practice for peregrinos to carry a rock and place it on the next marker. I did it a few times, on 46 for my sister's age, and on one of the three 44s for JH and I. I had something special to place on 39, Derek's age when he died, but there were no markers until 25.

After the day I nearly cried about Derek, I thought of what to do. On our trip to Jeju Island just before the camino trip, JH and I picked up two scallop shells (the symbol of the camino) to carry with us, not really knowing why. A few nights ago, I wrote Derek's name on one and put it on my pocket thinking I'd know what to do with it when the time came. I guess I'll think of something else.

The markers made me think of counting down to the new year, resolutions, and new beginnings. I've done well with my little project from the early days if the trip-- listening carefully and patiently. New beginnings: Gyueon and I definitely know each other know.

I imagine the markers as counting down to launch the rest of my life but it doesn't really work. My life will be pretty much the same.

The markers could be seen as time running out. How much time do we have left? Can you afford to delay doing what you really want to do? Why wait to take that trip? Why wait to say, "I love you." Why wait?

We walked past a church with a cemetery. The bells were ringing the most mournful tones I've ever heard.
Do- (I took 12 steps)
Do- (18 steps)
Re- (22 steps)

Over and over. We heard this for the next 20 minutes. Sometimes the sound was lost in the wind or the trees or the turns in the road but it found us again and again. I guess that inspired my thoughts on time running out.

Today was a long walk, 28.2 km but it was worth it. Now our walk into Santiago tomorrow will be just 14km and we'll make the noon mass.

We made it to albergue Teo in the dark. Our clothes and shoes are wet and may still be wet tomorrow but we don't care. Tomorrow we'll be in Santiago.

Mark is already here. And the Spaniards. I finally find out Fernando's real name- it's Valentino. Of course it's Valentino. There are seven of us here but we have taken up all 24 beds, drying stuff out and organizing. The floors are heated so we laid our clothes out under beds to dry.

Dinner, we all wanted to go together but the Spaniards have found poisoning and are just going to eat rice porridge. Yena walked to the restaurant with us but suddenly felt sick and left. The remaining four looked at each other, wondering who would be stricken next. Dinner was a success. We walked back in the rain, getting our dry clothes wet.

Back at the albergue, the Spaniards were getting ready to go to a local bar to watch the big match, Real Madrid vs Real Barcelona. Knowing Gyueon is a big football fan, they invited him. Then they found out he is a Real Madrid supporter and rescinded the offer.

One more sleep.

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