I like to pride myself on knowing a lot about very little. I get the big themes, but most of the time I can’t be bothered learning the minutiae.
Like the ‘stans. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan… I just say – Pickastan.
Or Celsius vs Fahrenheit. You gotta multiply by 1.8 (or 9/5) and add 32, put your right foot in, left foot out, do the hokey pokey and that’s what it’s all about.
And then there’s kilometers vs miles. One kilometer is equal to 0.62137119 miles: 1 km = (1/1.609344) miles = 0.62137119 miles.
I know, I know, it makes my head wanna explode, too.
So, this entire trip all 500ish miles has been a kilometer guessing game for me. I tell myself a kilometer is about a half a mile…… give or take…. and then I don’t think about it. I just walk until I get to where I’m supposed to be… No thinking, just doing.
But today as I crossed into Galicia the direction signs for us pilgrims to find our way to Santiago de Compostela changed….. and sent me in a tizzy.
You gotta understand, as I left this morning all the signs were indicating that it was going to be a glorious day.
The sun was coming up, there was a little bit of mist hovering at the top of the peeks where I was headed and my cold seemed to be under control.
I was in love with the countryside and couldn’t stop taking pictures. Fall was putting on a spectacular color show.
I was so enthralled by the beauty I didn’t notice the mist was dropping lower and lower, and droplets of rain were starting to fall, and before you could say, “Do you know the way to Santiago,” the mist has turned to dense fog.
I was climbing up, but I couldn’t see to where or for how far. I would have these moments of sheer terror (“Yep, this is how it ends, I walk off the side of the mountain”) and then I would full of joy (“OMG, this is the greatest adventure evah, as long as I don’t fall off this fucking mountain).
I stumbled into the tiny village of O Cebreiro who’s claim to fame is that THE Holy Grail is said to have been hidden here as late as the 13th century -AND- it is the birthplace of the priest who brought back and made popular the Camino de Santiago in the 20th century….. well at least I now know who to blame for this Spanish Schlep.
I was wet, out of breath and cold as ass, but the local bartender gave me a warm cup of tea and said, “It’s all downhill from here!”
I had to climb another pass up into another set of mountains and the fog was getting worse. I asked if it was safe to go on, and I got an emphatic nod yes.
So off I went, I mean if you can’t trust a bartender, who can you trust???
It was so foggy, I could have been standing right under the famed bronze statue of a pilgrim fighting against the bad weather at the peak of San Roque ….. and not even know it.
I plowed on, a tad disappointed because those fucking guidebooks had said that today was supposed to be full of glorious views, but whatchagonnado?
Soon I felt the sun and I was beginning to warm up, and then the fog lifted and I got to see some of the Galicia mountains – and – I was able to focus on things other than falling off a mountain…. Things like those new signs to Santiago.
These signs have a countdown in them, letting us know how far we have to go before this whole stupid thing is over. I couldn’t believe the numbers – unlike miles, these signs were in kilometers and I was totally confused.
So I took out iPhone, checked my KM to Miles app and what the friggin hell – I’ve only got like 91 MILES to go.
Those stupid kms robbed me of a major milestone- but I don’t fucking care – this Spanish Schlep is almost terminado! Done! Finito! Fini!
91 fucking miles – Hallafuckinlooyah!
I was a new woman, I was so full of euphoria, I nearly floated down the mountains.
I may not know Kyrgyzstan from Tajikistan, or how to convert Celsius into Fahrenheit — OR how to measure kilometers, but this I know …..
I’m going to arrive in Santiago on Friday, and somebody better warn the pious that this girl is going celebrate; and it’s gonna get loud, and there will be tears, and a whole lotta ugly cry face.
18 Miles walked today
(Herrerias – Triacastela)
422.6 Miles traveled so far
83.2 Miles to go
505.8 Miles between St Jean Pied de Port, France and Santiago de Compostela, Spain