December 7, 2003
I hope your year has been well. Mine has been well above average. It has been my year of Spain and of directed experiences. In the past, I have often let things happen. This year I orchestrated several things. The year started with nascent interest and goose bumps when I thought of the Way of Saint James, the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, a long pilgrimage walk in northern Spain. That moved into cursory reading and then quickly blossomed into full-blown obsessive reading on the subject for four months.
In early May I found myself on a plane for Madrid, where I proceeded to a rainy Roncesvalles in the Pyrenees. Forty days of walking later, I stood in the hot sun on the Atlantic in Finisterra, Land's End, the farthest west point in continental Europe. In the time between I walked in agony and ecstasy. I enjoyed and suffered sun and wind and rain. I met and walked and slept with walkers from around the world, fellow pilgrims. In the end, I had come to know a cross section of the Spanish people and their northern geography and a lot more about myself. I was not the same person who started the journey.
After the walk I spent another three weeks in Portugal and Arab southern Spain. The Iberian peninsula had become a new part of me.
I came home and did something very difficult but very necessary for my growth and well being. I left Denise after being with her for 20 years. I am now a full time wanderer with no residence to call my own. All my goods are in a storage.
In September I joined up with Petra Wolf, whom I had met at the end of the third day after Rancesvalles and then walked with off and on across the 581 miles of the Camino de Santiago. In September, we started in Zurich, Switzerland, some miles south of her home in Konstanz, Germany, and generally followed the route of the Camino across Switzerland and France into Spain. We traveled in her yellow postal car (a recycled, yellow German VW) through places where she walked from Germany to Spain in 2001 to 2003. As we went, we took a side trip to Lourdes to visit that shrine of the Blessed Virgin, where we drank copious quantities of the water responsible for the cure of many invalid patients. I didn't see many changes in us because of it.
A windy day as Petra and I walk the plains the second time.
Click on the picture to see us closer.
Once in Spain we drove and walked the Camino we had walked a few months earlier. We walked better than 150 miles again enjoying beautiful golden grasses and harvested grain stalks that had been bright green when we passed them in the spring. Cold and wind and driving rain plagued some days. But sun and sky and calm dominated our time. And Petra and I began to learn a lot about each other.
After taking close to a month to get to the Atlantic, we spent another month in an apartment 50 yards over the ocean in Finisterra resting, talking, walking, and getting to know and love each other immersed in the hospitality of the wonderful Spanish people and murmur of the Atlantic's ever changing waves. In the end we were members of the community.
Our Finisterra apartment. Click on the picture to see it closer.
Click here to see Petra in the veranda.
Now I'm home to do numbers of miscellaneous things left undone when I left earlier. And Petra is home in Germany, first for a niece's wedding and then for things she wanted to take care of. But we'll be back together in Spain on December 10. We look forward to being together for a long time, for a life time. Where we go is not as important as that we are together. We have made and changed plans many times in the past months and continue to move together. India is one goal in the immediate future. How and when we are going to get there changes almost daily. You can be assured it will not be a direct flight......but then.....
The other day, I counted up 20 weeks overseas this year, mostly in Spain. That's almost five months. I think I am beginning to qualify outwardly as a wanderer, something I have always known was the case inside.
I spur you on to give yourself the best of holiday seasons and to celebrate and enjoy a wonderful 2004 and the rest of your life. And when you see a wanderer, say hello and think of Petra and me.....who knows? If you are looking from afar, you may be surprised when you get closer that it is we you see.
Much Love and Peace and Life,
PS. If you haven't been there and want to read more about my first walk along the Camino de Santiago, go to Spain 2003 on another part of this website.
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Copyright © 2003 Mike Metras, www.WorksAndWords.com