It’s hard to believe that London will be ramming Christmas down our throats by now. Here I’m in a warm coastal town and they barely give a fuck. The radios are playing good music unless you’re in the lighthouse in Finisterre in which case they’re trying to kill you with saccharine covers of well known pop tunes. There’s lots of Queen, as there should be. It feels like Springtime for Muxia. I went to the beach. I took my boots off and Mel and I went for a paddle in the sea that was once so full of oil.


It was a lovely lazy end to the trip before an ungodly journey home starting tomorrow morning at bastard o’clock.

Mel has been trying to sell her bicycle before we leave Muxia, as with thousands of pilgrims before her every year for decades. Everyone that lives here has a good mountain bike and two spares in the garage. Mel wants roughly what she paid for it which is never going to happen. If she was offering €20 people would still suck their teeth. But we walked it around in the morning anyway because it’s market day and maybe there’s a pilgrim. She had “se vende” stuck on it. “For sale.” But mostly round here that means “This has no value, give me more than its worth.” It’s stuck on all the desperate properties that got tied up in the bubble up and down the Camino.

We walked past loads of beautiful fresh fish, home made clothes and lace, in procession with the unwanted bike. This town is fishy fish central. I had some clams. In the past I’ve spoken to people who had shellfish poisoning and have subsequently convinced themselves that they are incapable of ingesting shellfish. “My body just can’t take shellfish anymore” they tell me flatly with shining eyes and the certainty of an expert, as if that sort of thing made logical sense. I usually bite my tongue when I want to suggest IT’S YOUR MIND YOUR MIND YOUR MIND!!! Mind can usually overcome body, for better or worse. But I don’t want to be that person because if I contradict their construct it’s going to result in a circular entrenched argument.

I’m not even sure that the horrible thing I had in Carrión was shellfish poisoning – (screw you, clams) – but I’m not going to allow my own brain to deprive me of something I enjoy and to build up a happy happy intolerance palace with cushions and jacuzzi. I grew up by the sea. It’s only grockles that pick at shellfish as if they’re going to jump at your face like facehuggers in Alien. I had lots of clams last night and slept like a baby. Yum.

We couldn’t avoid walking today. We arbitrarily set a destination of a beach around the headland and tried to schlep there without packs. Without the camino we ended up running out of path in the middle of some coastal woodland.

Since Saint Jean we have been spoilt by great big yellow arrows everywhere, unmistakably signalling the way. I miss the ambiguous nature of the “blanc et rouge” which I followed in France, occasionally stamped on trees or rocks. But we are back to being clueless. But wherever we go, it’s still a place. The Camino continues forever if we let it. Every day chipping off something. Parcelling the big into the small. At the start of this journey the distance seemed impossible. At the end, I know I could do it again immediately. Mind over body. A life lesson.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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