went to Spain for 16 days for WYD and Way of St James walk and am now back in Malaysia. Time really passed so fast! It felt like it was just a while ago when I was rushing to shop for travel essentials and packing. Now, the trip is over and it’s almost then end my my holidays. Semester 3 starts next week and it’s my final, yes, FINAL semester for 1st year. Next year, I’ll be a senior ClinPsych student mentoring new students… But that’s another story.
Back to my updates. Madrid was HOT! If you think that Malaysia is hot, think again. It was torture to be under the sun and I drank so much water. One day, I can finish 2 liters easily. When we were at Cuentro Ventros from the WYD overnight vigil and Pope’s mass, it was practically a desert. It was scorching hot during the day. There were rocks, sand, and dirt everywhere. Every breath was filled with sand / dust. Our clothes were dusty the moment we arrived and I think I may have eaten sand also… I think I now understand why the people in Arab (i.e. Desert areas) cover themselves from head to toe. At night, it rained and suddenly it was freezing cold. Not a good day and night…
Overall, I wasn’t impressed with the organizers in Madrid. WYD and also my group. There were things that could have been done better… Much much better. I can’t make myself list them down now. In anycase, it’s over and I do look back at the memories and experiences fondly. (edit, 20 July 2014: Okay, maybe I was a bit harsh with my judgement then, I have to credit the group with the effort that they put in.)
Compostela (i.e. Way of St James) was a much better experience for me. At first, after the WYD experience, I wasn’t too keen on the 2nd part of my trip. But after the 1st day of the walk, I started to enjoy myself more and more.
Completing the 100km walk was a challenge but the feeling of achievement was wonderful. It’s a rush of exhilaration and joy.
The first day was a 19km journey from Lugo to San Roman. It was tiring and we were all in pain at the end of the day. The tiredness came not only from the walk but also from the lack of sleep. Firstly because on Sat night, we were at Cuentro Ventros and it was difficult to sleep among the rocky and hard ground, lack of space and sudden chill. Next, on Sun night, we camped out in Barajas Airport. It’s the first time I’ve ever done that. All these lead to us being severely tired and I would say unprepared for the 1st day’s walk.
The 2nd day, we were all better rested and more prepared for the walk. But this day was a killer because we walked 31km. At the end of the day, my body ached to badly from head to toe. I could barely stand and move the moment I stopped walking. I never knew I could push myself so hard. I was ready to give up after 25km, thereabout. I nearly cried when I found out there were more to go. I’m not overly religious. But somehow, I found myself praying throughout the journey and I found the strength to complete that day. I had blisters on my toes, my ankles hurt, my knees hurt and my back hurt but I made it.
After a gruelling day 2, the 3rd day was pretty easy cos it was just 15km. The aches and pains were still there but it was tolerable. Day 4 was a little tougher but not too bad. We walked 18km that day. My aches and pains were still there and recovery was slower than before but all in all, we made good time and the walk was good.
Day 5 started was good too. It was the final day and we had 20km to go before we reached our final destination. Again, the aches and pains were there but we reached by about 5pm to Compostela. Got our Certificate, attended mass at the Cathedral and took some good photos.
Being able to see the Cathedral was great. I love the grandness and majestic-ness of it and if I close my eyes, I can imagine the place in it’s time of glory back in the past. The walk was a wonderful experience and worth every ache and pain. I don’t know if I will ever do it again but who knows?
I’ll upload some photos soon…