-A step back to realize-
(25/10 – 31/10)
In the last journal I wrote about what I consider to be most important in life: sharing love, and the ways in which I do so while walking the Caminho de Santiago. In this journal I want to show the value of “an intermezzo”, a little break of the way I was used to live. I like the metaphor of a flowing river that you swim in for a while and you at a certain point start to consider as normal because references of ‘other rivers’ fade away by time. At this point it can be really valuable to climb out of the water, on shore and just watch the water of the river passing by and/or flow with another river for a while. Past week I climbed out of the Caminho river I was flowing with over the past month, taking distance of the people I used to walk (swim) with. I will share the experiences and realisations I got during the past days.
Day 27 Valenca – Tug (~5km)
The day of ‘climbing out of the water’ and ‘saying good bye to the fishes of the Caminho river’. Whereas saying good bye can be considered as a difficult and sad happening, for me it is one of the most beautiful things in life. Why? Because this moment provides, for many people, space to express gratitude for having swam together for a while. At the moment of saying goodbye you realize that what you experienced together can not be take for granted. It often is a moment in which, by two people expressing gratitude towards each other, a beautiful connection arises. Today I knew I was going to say good bye to Paul, and I took some time alone on the edge of a beautiful fort in Valenca to realize how beautiful it was to have spend such a great time with him. I expressed it in a letter that I gave him to open on the way, for when I would not swim with him anymore. Sometimes saying goodbye goes in steps and so it did this time. I saw Paul again that evening in Tui, after crossing the border with Spain (yes… in the mean time I walked all the way from Lisbon to Spain). Tomorrow I would see him for the last time for a little while…
Day 28 Tui – 12 km further – back to Tui (~24 km)
Looking back I can now say that this actually was the ‘climbing out of the Caminho river and diving into another river-day’. I continued this morning for 12 more km walking towards Santiago with Paul. However, the start of industries on the way made me finally hug Paul good bye and return to Tui, walking the Caminho in opposite direction/ upstream. This was great!! By doing so I met all the people I had been walking with over the past weeks. I said goodbye to Scott, shared a beautifulgood bye with Sim, of whom I received an e-mail later in which she wrote she especially remembered our last hug. That walk back filled me with fresh Liede-energy. I felt that I was really walking my own way. It might be a bit different from the traditional Caminho but it felt good, allowing myself to have some reflection time. In Tui I met a smiling Dutch woman originating from Haarlem, the same place I was born in. We shared a wine and a lovely talk together. After that Mick arrived in Tui, visiting me from the Netherlands and by that leading me into another river. It felt great to be with him again, slowly merging together in the flow of this other river.
Day 29 Tui – just before Rubiaes (~20 km)
Today Mick and me continued walking in opposite direction (to Porto instead of Santiago). I am happily surprised how smoothly Mick and me were able to switch rivers and get into the flow of a new river together after having spend quite a while in very different rivers with very different fishes. I noticed that I was able to live in the moment together with Mick, whereas a couple of years ago my thoughts about other rivers would have now and then disturbed this natural flow. This night Mick and me camped somewhere in nature, spending the coldest night so far due to a combination of low temperatures and improper camping gear. Still I am glad we did it. I notice that it does not matter much what the circumstances are if I spend time with someone I love so much!
Day 30 Just before Rubiaes – Ponte de Lima (~23 km)
This stage I consider as the most beautiful one of the Caminho Portugues. It included a proper climb that brought us to an amazing view point where we met three young people from Israel. The very kind boy, accompanied by two lovely girls openly invited us to sit with them and enjoy their just cooked pasta with tomato sauce. -While I am writing this (2 days later) sitting on the shore of the Douro river in Porto, I interrupt the writing process to take a picture of a couple. I realize that this is something I can add to my list of passions; making pictures of couples, making them radiate their love.
Day 31 Ponte de Lima – Porto
Today we hitch hiked to Porto in two rides; one with a young Portuguese couple and one with a German couple. Having arrived, we shared romance in this romantic city, accompanied by a Port wine tasting and a delicious dinner (I ordered Polvo Lagareiro, which I can truly recommend because it is one of the best Portuguese meals I have had so far). -Again a little writing intermezzo for a couple-picture and a moment to breath in my beautiful view… The river flows with a strong current, birds on the water move with it, backwards. Porto smiles at me: a chaotic mixture of colourful buildings on a hill, lit by the afternoon sun.- That night we slept in an apartment overlooking the same amazing ‘skyline’ of Porto by night and early morning light.
Day 32 Porto – Santiago the Compostella
Last night I dreamed about following arrows. A dream that I interpreted as `it is time to go back to the Caminho river again.Â´ No coincidence, I would say, that Mick left for The Netherlands this morning. So… going back to the Caminho, but in what way? Are not the fishes you swim with a huge part of the reason to go back to a certain river? If I would go back to the Netherlands I would mainly go back to see my friends and family again, right? More than I would go back for the countryside or the actual buildings in the city. The following popped up in my mind: I can go to Santiago de Compostella directly to surprise my Caminho friends that would arrive there today. It would be beautiful to in a way end their Caminho, which for a big part overlapped with mine, together with them. So how to get there? Isn’t it a coincidence that exactly today a Blablacar goes from the exact place where I am now to Santiago de Compostella?
To come back to the river metaphor in the introduction of this journal: I consider today as a day of ‘sitting besides the Caminho river, seeing it flow by and realize…’ and again, isn’t it a coincidence I am literally sitting next to the river while I write this? It all seems to come together so beautifully! A realisation that pops up while I see the water of the Douro passing by: there are different ways (rivers) in life, your way and ways of others. If, how and when these ways connect (if, how and when you swim together in the same river) sometimes is determined spontaneously and sometimes is actively chosen for. In this situation I actively chose to let the ways of Scott, Sim, Paul and me connect again.
Some other picture intermezzo’s appeared while I am writing this, of which one concerned two Dutch woman, that offered me to make a picture of me too while sitting here besides the river. Moreover, I made a picture for a couple consisting of a French woman and a Portuguese man, after which we had a beautiful conversation. In summary we talked about if you live day by day (or I would even say moment by moment) life is long, very long and great! This is something important, as many human consider their lives to be way too short and passing way too quickly. They wished me to continue living like this and enjoy life to the fullest. Also, they were surprised that I lived the way I do without being scared. I am wondering for what I should be?!
Aaaaaw, today was an amazing day!!! Again I had the feeling that I was exactly at the right place at the right moment of which the following happenings were the result: a conversation with the kind owner of a just opened Jazz bar in Porto (MiraJazz) in which we fantasized about a live jazz night combined with guided meditation. The next time I go to Porto, we will organize this (him providing the live jazz and me the guided meditation)! After that I saw the girl with the velvet voice I had been listening to the previous time I was in Porto, one and a halve week ago. She recognised me too and we had a smiling conversation full of enthusiasm. After saying goodbye my attention was drawn to beautiful t-shirts on the ground. Exactly at the moment I realized that the technique used was bleaching and that I met a guy in Coimbra (doing parcours on the street, I told you about in a previous journal) who told me that he finances his travels with his girlfriend by making t-shirts this way, I looked in his smiling face. I bought one of the shirts that remind me of this lovely couple and my freedom as a traveller (I now usually say I am a traveller when they ask my occupation in the Albergues). After these meetings I was exactly on time for my ride to Santiago! All coincidence? I don’t think so. I was exactly on the right place at the right moment that is what I know!
Day 33 Santiago de Compostella
The day that I dived back into the Caminho river with my Caminho fish friends. It felt good to see them again! After having been away for a couple of days it was beautiful to see how Paul grew in terms of loving himself. I saw this in his eyes and felt that his energy was calmer and more in peace. Seeing Sim again was great too. I got a big hug and she could not stop smiling which was beautiful to see! Seeing Scott was great too. It was lovely how he expressed his gratefulness of the time we spent together and the final gathering we had that night. The day ended by an amazing traditional Galician dinner at the house of an amazing welcoming Spanish woman that Scott met before. It was inspiring to see how openly she welcomed us into her house that directly felt as home to us! A feeling that I would love to radiate when I will have my own place as well.
Looking back at the past week I can now say that the intermezzo I took definitely had a great impact on my adventure and I even believe on that of others too. I did not only love to swim in a different beautiful river with Mick for a while, I also felt great gratitude for the time spent in the Caminho river over the past month and saw an increased gratitude of having spend time together in others too.
I am curious how you are all doing, and if you take time for an intermezzo of your normal way of living sometimes. If so, do you experience similar effects? Does space arise to appreciate that river with those fishes you had been swimming in over the past time more? Or do you for example realize it actually is time to dive into another river? Do not hesitate to message me back if you would like to share anything of this or something related to one of my previous journals!
Lots of love,