Andrej Raider

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Dark days (Finisterre-Pontevedra)

Posted on | July 4, 2011 | No Comments

Original Date of Post | February 14, 2009 |

Compostellas, Fisterranas and Muxianas, 2 each, in total 6 certificates which are the symbols for a “completed way”. A completed Camino De Santiago. One of a lot of things I learned on the way until here is, that completing the outer way does not really count if you havent completed your inner way yet. Further thinking about it, I realized that there is even a “pigrims ID” existing which I possessed and used all the days. This credential makes you officially a professional pilgrim (for only 1,50 €) who then has the right to walk the way of St James and utilize pilgrim-services, such as discounts in Bars, church-tours with guides and 4-star hostels (if it was 5-star we wouldnt be pilgrims anymore, but tourists, right?)…

I cant say its bad. Since it was one of the most incredible experiences until here, and I learned a lot, I was (and still am) very thankful for this 1500 kilometers of walk through France and Spain. But now it was time to leave this part of the way behind and start a new chapter, apart from the Camino De Santiago. I was no longer Santiago-Pilgrim. Therefor I said goodbye to my certificates and pilgrim ID and left them to the fire of Finisterre, where pilgrims use to burn old things which no longer belong to them.

After a long stay in Finisterre, full of dark clouds, mental and emotional challanges, storms and rains which were reflecting my inner life, the walk continued to the south, towards Padron. We had a couple of problems on the way. Janinas knee was injured, it was still storming and our financial background was almost bacl at 0 again.

In the town Padron we managed to get medicine for 58 cents for Janinas knee and moved to a hostel. Of course we still had the cheap hostels there as we were now on the “Portuguese Camino” which leads from Santiago to Portugal. We arrived at the hostel which was right next to the church of Santa Maria, who welcomed us with the wonderful sound of the bells. We entered the hostel “Santa Maria”. The friendly lady at the desk asked us kindly for the Pilgrims ID… After I explained what I did with my pilgrims ID, the lady said that she cannot let anyone enter the hostel without this ID. She opened a drawer with her left hand and threw a pilgrims ID onto the desk: “Another pilgrim left his credential here last week. Just use this one from now on. As long as you are on this way, stick to the rules”. I had the feeling that Santa Maria didnt want me to get rebellious yet.

We slept in warm and cozy beds and found ourselves in rain and storm the next day again. The sky was so clouded that it appeared to be late evening all day long. The next day was the same and the day after as well. The way seemed cursed. I got depressive. We fought a lot. During a little time-out in Caldas De Reis, we paused and noted that this walk turned to a big fight and our nerves and motivation was down.  Eventually we decided to keep fighting and faced Pontevedra. The money was over. At that day the rainstorm turned to a hail-storm. And the darkness persisted. We walked along a long road and I was chanting the Gāyatrī. We arrived in a bar which was standing at the side of the country road, where people from the side-villages, guests and stewards were rushing to us, attending us with soup and dry clothes. I was so glad, released and amazed by th fact, that there always seems to be a spark of light, a spark of energy in the dark, keeping us going forward and forward through the darkness. We kept walking through woods, paths and at night we walked along a highway. At a gas-station we were invited for a coffee by an old man. Eventually we passed the small town Caldas. I am actually not too much religious but I felt to pray to a big Santa Maria statue. I prayed for sun and light… and warmth.

Finally we reached Pontevedra, the biggest town since Santiago. We arrived at the hostel. He asked for the pilgrims ID, which we had this time. But what we didnt have this time were the required 3 Euros. He kicked us out. We were to tired to move on. Sitting at midnight on the ground in front of the hostel, we ate the last sandwiches we had from the bar with the kind people, and for some reason, laughing about this ridiculous situation. Now we had nothing. No place to stay, no dry clothes, no cent, no contacts, and the last sandwich was eaten. We had nothing which didnt mean that we coudnt give anything. We decided to wander to a bed&breakfest place and offered our help in the kitchen or wherever its needed for a bed this night. The owner hesitated but eventually smiled and said: “No need to work. Be my guest “.

He brought us to a tiny room with two beds a little table, bathroom. We entered. The walls were bleak as the weather which followed us the past weeks. But there was one thing in all this bleakness hanging on the wall and looking at me:

Santa Maria

Santa Maria

When I woke up he next day, I opened the window and the sun was shining into my face, in the cloudless sky.



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