Santiago!

Sunday 23rd November 2014, nearly 6 months after I stepped out of our door in Prague, I arrived at the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. For the last few days I have tried to write a meaningful post about this, for me, important event, but I fear I haven’t found the right words to describe my feelings that day.

I could have written about the weather (wet), or the relief of finally putting the backpack down, or the sadness that it was over. But no matter what I wrote, all seemed shallow compared to all I have experienced over the last months.

Cathedral Santiago with the Botafumeiro

Santiago Cathedral greeted me with the Botafumeiro in full swing.

Between Prague and Santiago lay:

  • 3,000+ kilometers walked
  • thousands of settlements crossed
  • hundreds of people met

And all this in a wide range of weather conditions from scorching heat when I set out, over deluge-like rain falls in Germany and Switzerland, to snow and sleet when I finally crossed the Galician border. I was often thinking whilst walking of the famous beginning of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ by Charles Dickens which sums up some of my feelings nicely:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…

The journey took me longer then originally calculated, has given me more than I ever expected and isn’t over yet. Granted, I stopped walking, at least for the moment, and am now back in Prague trying to get back to a not-walking-quite-so-much-each-day life.

What now? Where is the next yellow arrow? The question that most pilgrims, myself included, ask themselves at the end of their way. How do I find the next yellow arrow – at home? Being now back in what could be tentatively called “my normal life” there are a lot of practical things to attend to:

  • Unpacking the backpack
  • Re-connecting with people
  • Taking care of snail mail and emails
  • Sorting through 6,000+ photos
  • Writing a book …
  • Planning the next walk?

Oh, and don’t give up on checking this website occasionally, as over the next weeks I will add more photos to it, fill in some missing bits and pieces and so on. The journey continues …

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12 Responses to Santiago!

  1. Sue Letson says:

    Glad to hear that you are back safely, it must be a huge adjustment to make. I look forward to any further thoughts as you process and articulate the experience.
    Sorry to have missed meeting you when we were in Prague last month – hope we can meet sometime!!
    Sue

    • S.Yates says:

      Hi Sue, yes it is difficult to adjust to a non-walking life and also to the rather dark weather we have here at the moment, but I am doing my best to keep my pilgrim spirit up! I am sure we will manage to meet one day, looking forward to it! SY

  2. Alene Gibson says:

    Followed your adventure with interest and admiration.
    You are a remarkable woman.
    Looking forward to your additional posts

    • S.Yates says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Alene! As I go through notes and images I will update this blog regularly with them! SY

  3. Clare says:

    I have enjoyed knowing of your journey, and especially meeting with you even briefly. I expect to be back in October 2015.
    – Clare

  4. Jules says:

    Hi Sy

    Hope you don’t mind my commenting – I came across your blog via the Camino de Santaigo forum.

    Glad to hear you reached Santaigo and returned safely to Prague. What an adventure – it must be quite a shock to the system to be back to the “old” life – or something approximating it – after so long on The Way.

    I often pop by blogs that I find from folks who have been on Pilgrimage, and really enjoyed reading about your trip – what a journey, over 3,300km! My wife and I are currently in the process of walking the Camino Frances from St Jean Pied de Port to Santaigo. However, through work commitments, etc, we are doing that (relatively) short section in 3 chunks – part last year, part this year and, hopefully, the final stretch from Leon to Santiago in 2015 (if you are interested, my blog has a number of posts on our trip so far).

    We would love nothing more than to quit our jobs and head off on The Way, but we can’t – at least not yet! Reading others’ experiences means we feel that little bit closer to Camino even when we are not there in person, so thanks for taking the time to share your experiences.

    All the best, and Buen Camino!

    Jules

    • S.Yates says:

      Hi Jules,
      Why should I mind? I do love comments on my blog! Yes, it was indeed a shock being suddenly thrown back into a kind of normal life. I had a good read through your most recent blog posts and enjoyed them very much. Buen Camino and perhaps we meet on day on the road!? SY

  5. Sean Mccann says:

    Congratulations on your achievement Sybille and on your safe return home to Prague; I hope it has been a wonderful experience and you and Ricky derive many blessings from it all. good luck with whatever you decide to do in future.

    • S.Yates says:

      Thank you Sean!
      It was indeed a wonderful experience and frankly I can’t wait to go for another long walk. Realistically that will not be before spring as winter hiking, at least not for longer distances, is really not my thing, SY

  6. Amalia Vázquez says:

    It was really nice to meet you on the Camino and share that experience with you and all the pilgrims that I met. I’m also searching for the yellow narrow at home, and trying to accomodate to quiet life!
    Best wishes
    Malia from Menorca

    • S.Yates says:

      Hi Malia,
      It was great meeting you also! I do envy you for the quietness of Menorca, Prague is so loud. Buen Camino de la vida, SY

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