Today was wet, dark and gloomy, and as always, it affected my mood, but all the serious walkers stopped at a cafe at the 11 km mark, joined by a bus load of Japanese tourists. They, poor wights were drenched and not having the day they had paid for, but rain in Galicia is the real Camino. More annoying were the hundred kilometre gang, who joined from Sarria and seemed to approach the Camino in a completely different spirit to those of us who slogged up the mountains. Mind you, I wonder whether those who survived the boredom of the mezeta feel the same about me?

Toby caught up with me at that point, with Patrick and Lena but no Iiris. Toby was very pleased to see me and we walked the rest of the way towards Palais del Rey — I can just about keep up with his giant strides but not many others can. At lunch, the steam came off our clothes and, for the first time, I felt very chilled until brisk walking restored some semblance of warmth. The drizzle of this morning would have been pleasant, but we seem to have had nearly a centimetre of rain today and the cold wind has been gale-force.

I had been thinking about the presence of God on the Camino and how you have to abandon anything more than the most general plans. You can care about people but you can’t walk for them and I think there is a depth and freedom of spirit in walking alone, but together. Let God walk people in and out of your life for a time. Of course, this led to reflecting on dear old John Henry’s words, which have always been precious to me.

The Pillar of Fire
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home —
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene, — one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that Thou
Should’st lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

1833

The time is getting very short and I am thinking more and more about the last day and walking in for the Pilgrims Mass. Then the dash to the sea, which is altogether a more pagan act, an offering to the setting sun.

The albergue is nice, there is drying and wifi, and there is even have half a chance of drying my money, which was drenched like everything else outside the backpack today. My iPhone is still ok even if the case is a bit damp. I am sitting thinking about what this will mean in ten days time when I am home. Will I have changed? If I have changed, will you like what I have become?