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Day 31:  From a Drip to a Deluge

The rude awakening of hundreds of pilgrims who don’t know our pain (Candace)

Sobrado to O Pedrouzo

Distance: 25.4 miles (40.8 kilometers)

Total Ascent:  220 meters

Difficulty:  2                        

Calories Burned: 4,343

I know that I have already talked about the “Us v. Them” sub-culture that has been created between pilgrims and non-pilgrims, but this pilgrim pride is stronger than ever right now with all of the people who are now interrupting the close of our Camino.

You see, in order to have been deemed as “completing” the Camino, a pilgrim must complete the final 120 km leading into Santiago. In order to prove that they have completed this distance, they must have their credentials  booklet stamped twice per day from local venues to show that they have actually been in the towns along the way. However, yesterday we heard about the first bus-load of people who were let off at the monastery where we stayed last night and picked up again this morning, and there are now more than 1,000 pilgrims in the town we landed in tonight.

Mind you, Andrew and I have gone entire days for several days in a row without seeing a single pilgrim, and now they are everywhere, in every shape and size, and using every form of transportation. 

And I have to admit, I’m annoyed.  I have worked my ass off for the last 31 days, suffered sleepless nights due to snoring pilgrims, bed bugs, blisters and body aches and pains I didn’t know existed.  I’ve walked an entire day with wet socks, cried myself into town on more than two occasions, and been through every emotion in the book.  I have earned this trip.  And now, I’m being passed by small children with bagged lunches provided by their summer camp and families without backpacks.  They don’t know my pain, and yet they’ll be walking into Santiago with me tomorrow.

I was warned about nearly everything to expect along the way for my first Camino, and I was warned about this, but I know that I need to change my mindset.  We all deserve to be here.  We all have earned the right to walk into Santiago with pride tomorrow.  And this pilgrimage is meant for all people, young and old, rich and poor, the athletic and the couch potatoes.  I should see it as a gift that so many people see value in this trip, and should welcome them.

Fingers crossed.  We've got one more day!