Friday, September 04, 2015

A Pilgrim's Way - Pilgrimage Day 4

So I'm past the midway point in my journey.

Day 4 was a good one. As expected it was raining when I woke up. Now normally I have little to no time for cyclists but they occasionally put together a few good thoughts. Particularly number 9 on this list. Of course almost all the cyclists I know are seriously scared of their bikes melting in the rain.

So with a wry smile on my face I set off.

Most days there's not a whole lot of differences between running and walking the camino. I get to start a little later and finish a bit sooner. Usually I cover a bit more distance as well but not a lot more.

Today the difference was a bit more obvious! With the rain pouring the walkers were triple layered and moving slowly under ponchos. I bagged all my kit in dry bags, layered my waterproof over the dry bags, put the waterproof cover over my bag and set out into the rain in t-shirt and shorts.

I got drenched. But when you are only wearing a tshirt and shorts they dry quickly when running and don't actually weigh you down. I arrived into the next town barely 3 hours after I started already mostly dried out having taken only one brief comfort break.

Ribadasella is a charming and quite tourist focused town. A sharp contrast from the rural villages I'd been going through. At the youth hostel I met Frank - my first Brit of the week (Kelly the Irish girl I'd met the night before was the closest until then! ).

It was nice to go for a beer with someone that spoke the same language (as far as a Geordie and Londoner speak the same language ) and Frank was great company as we debated politics (him left, me right) and talked about his three children.

We headed back and picked up Jean (a Parisien with impeccable English, 8 children and many grand children). As we shared a bottle of vino tinto before the bat began serving food we spoke about our motivations for doing the Camino (both are veterans).

As can be seen from the table cloth below this quickly led to scrawled drawings including those of the cathedral at the end of the Camino. Over the entrance of the cathedral are the symbols Alpha and Omega, and below,  reversed - Omega, Alpha.

This is to demonstrate that in the end of all things (including your Camino) there is also a beginning. I think I'll take that with me.

It particularly resonates with me as I started running at the Omega club. With the route marked out with fishes... or Alphas.

Funny how life works out some times. I've been chasing the Camino my whole life it seems. Following those little fishes.

Jean spoke about how he saw three things in people on his Camino - faith, hope and charity. It made me think back to the people I've already met - the kindly bar lady who kept her restaurant open in hope of a customer, the volunteers running the Albergue in San Vicente, the young girl delighting in playing with my foam roller.

As Jean and Frank made the point to me. It's the start of a lifelong journey along the Camino. Maybe not this year or next, but next decade or the one after that. One day I'll be one of the walkers along the camino, grizzled grey beard, telling a young French man in my now flawless French about faith, hour and charity. Beginnings in the end.

It's been a good trip.

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Bryn Running

Training diary and musings on running in general.