Day 35. Salceda – Monto do Gozo 15-06-2018

Walked 25.3 km, 5 hours 4 minutes
Ascent: 100 meters
Descend: 250 meters
Kilometers to be traveled: 5.1

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Wow, another day of walking, after that day, of course, and then I stand before and after James, walk behind the statue and I can hug him. My second to last night in an alberge, because I decided to spend the last night in Spain at the airport.
I’m not really awake yet or the tune of “We’re coming together …” is in my head again. It will have to be that way, it is no different, it should perhaps be that way. After waking up, we stay in bed for a while, we don’t have to get up that early. The walking distance is short, compared to the previous days, I stay under 30 kilometers today. Could, if I want, be able to continue walking to SdC, but then I am 1 day early.
When I finally get up and start putting things in, it is already a bit busier in the alberge, almost everyone out of 8 is busy getting up with rituals. When I walk outside I notice that light moist drops fall out of the air, but they are so light that you hardly feel them. So I leave the poncho nicely in the backpack, because it would stay dry today. In the morning it can feel damp, morning dew I guess.
First walk to the route again, about 400 meters, then we pick up wire again where we tied it up yesterday. I am not the first to walk here, because I already see some people pass by over the camino. Probably pilgrims who want to finish today in SdC, or not … I follow them on the camino.
Another day and a half, actually even less, the arrows, pillars and shells follow. The crowds are getting busier, there are more people close to their goal. I no longer know where I ate, where did I have breakfast and lunch? Oh yes, the breakfast in the alberge, was included in yesterday’s payment. Where do I walk? Yes, through forests that smell of eucalyptus. I can smell the sea over paths that undoubtedly flow through the country? No it is not that colorful yet.
Strange that I can no longer recall the walking part of this day in my mind. Is it because of the tension of that day? I know a little chapel where most of them still go in for a prayer and a stamp. I also got a stamp there, gotta get the minimum of 2 pieces per day. Just outside the chapel is the 12KM alberge, another 2 times 6 kilometers, or 3 times 4 kilometers, but also the 4 times 3 kilometers, and so on.

And again a short short steep climb, many cyclists have to get off and push the bike up. We runners don’t step off, but on, with smaller passes, but still. I hear the planes taking off and landing, the airport is close by. A tour around the airport, the runway is not stopped for the pilgrims. It is busy on the road, where is the Aragon rest, 5 weeks back in time. I long for it. Tomorrow I hope to enjoy the peace again during my last kilometers.
My 3 and 4 week walking companions would arrive in SdC today, would they already be there, or am I ahead of them? Then I could still see them. But it’s busy. Also on the Monte de Gozo where I arrive early. Here many students are present at the monument in honor of Pope John Paul II, pilgrim on the road to SdC in 1993.
What I regret is that I smell weed air, the youth of 20+ smokes it and the youth of -20 sees a bad example. It is a coming and going of pilgrims, students and cyclists. Oh, they are pilgrims too. But most of them continue after a few minutes, fifteen minutes, you see SdC. Down one more mountain, cross a highway and then walk into the city center. So I write this more than 8 months later, so now know what was yet to come.
The door of the alberge, actually a large recreational city, is still closed. Me and the other early pilgrims have to wait until the door opens. During the summer holidays it must be very busy here with holidaymakers. There are a huge number of “barracks” with bedrooms with 4 bunk beds per room. In a Holy Year several barracks are available as an alberge, but now that early in the season 1 barrack is too large for the number that will spend the night.
The door opens and the line moves in to form a line again for registration. Everyone is warmly greeted and informed about the alberge. I am also assigned my room and bed, the last in the room of 8. Just prepare the bed again, the last time this trip. Then just a moment of rest and a snack. Then take a shower and eat something in turn.
For this I walk a bit against the stream, because in the village I saw a restaurant in front of the monument. I can just eat there, because they are cleaning up after a big party and are preparing for the closure. But I am still very welcome. So Yes, I can still eat.
As always good food and then walk back to the alberge. No, I walk around on Monte de Gozo again, I want to take a look at the Polish alberge and especially the monument of the 2 pilgrims pointing and looking at the towers of the cathedral in the distance. A monumental monument that is no longer directly on the route and now often remains on the left for most pilgrims.
Then back to the alberge, on my way back I meet another South African couple and have a short chat. Then to my bed, no not to sleep, it is still too early, but for my blog / vlog. I will not make it late and prepare my things well, tomorrow I may be the first in the room to get up and leave. If I have listened well, most of them want to sleep late tomorrow, but not me.
So before I go to sleep, I pack my backpack as much as possible, put everything within reach and hope to be able to take all my things in one go tomorrow in the dark, without making a lot of noise and waking pilgrims. But now my last night as a pilgrim, tomorrow I will be a pilgrim … Or will I be a pilgrim forever and ever?

Accommodation: Albergue Xunta

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