He wasn’t interested in walking the Camino (the Way of St.James). He got dragged along, but it was really her idea. He packed far too much — like almost everyone — not knowing that this journey would teach him to select better.
During the first few days, he concentrated on his body. When you’re not used to walking, minor injuries, doubts and complaints can easily arise.
Around day four he lifted his gaze from the ground and began to spend longer periods in silence, his mind busy taking in everything he could see.
From the second week, the conversations between the two became more beautiful, deeper or funnier. Just better. One day, he realised that he hadn’t charged his phone for the last two.
The times they spent chatting to other people became more enriching too, whether they shared just a few minutes or an entire stage.
They’d been walking for just over a month when they caught sight of Santiago for the first time from Monte do Gozo.
The incense drifting from the thurible and the exchanged glances among those who know what it takes to make it this far turned their stay in the cathedral into something quite magical, even though they hadn’t journeyed there for religious reasons.
When he read his name in Latin on the Compostela certificate, it seemed appropriate. Because, in fact, he felt like a different person. He looked at his girlfriend more, and the kind of questions he asked her made more sense.
At the inn where they ordered lunch, a huge spoon appeared over his left shoulder to deliver a serving of broccoli rabe with potatoes from a Sagradelos ceramic dish. The hearty aroma made him think, “How lucky I am!” And those very same words came to mind just a while later, when the colourful stalls at the Mercado de Abbastos called out to him to take a look.
Reluctant to bring their odyssey to an end, this time it was him who encouraged her to keep on walking just a little further. To be precise, 90km, to the so called “world’s end,” Cabo de Finisterre.
Both returned with backpacks a whole lot lighter.