Pilgrimpace's Blog

camino retreat – endings

On Saturday 8th February we walked a few metres to the massive sacred space of San Martin Pinario


where we held the service of Stations of the Cross.  This was incredibly powerful and moving for me.  There is something very deep in ending a walking pilgrimage with this following in the footsteps of Christ in his Passion.

We moved from the simplicity of wood and granite


into the utter splendour of the reflected light from the reredos when we reached the final Station – Christ’s Resurrection


Perhaps the only thing to do with all of this was to go for coffee in the Reyes Catolicos.

This was the last day for all of us.  We reflected on how it had gone, on what we were learning, the gifts we were discovering.

I remember when I was nearing the end of my long walk on the Camino de Levante in 2009.  My friend John texted me just before the end telling me of the lessons I would learn as a result “in the coming decades”.  Kathy’s research on education pointed to the same truth.  Perhaps we learn at the pace of walking.

Kathy shared this poem by Hafiz.

Absolutely Clear

Don't surrender your loneliness
So quickly,
Let it cut more deep.

Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.

Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice so tender,

My need of God


After a comparatively early dinner, we wandered round the city.  Avoiding the techno bagpipes, we found a bar where students played American folk rock and blues.  After a final late whisky, we said goodbye to Rebekah.


This neighbour shouted in the night.

We walked Kathy to her morning train and went to Pilgrim Mass.  It was lovely to sit in it as an ordinary pilgrim.  Lots of emotion to do with arriving and remembering.

A good farewell Sunday dinner with John and the Big Man (imported mint sauce brought out for the occasion).  Reflecting that we are all people who give a lot in life.

How do we cope with this?

praying, walking, talking with others, letting off steam with others.

And perhaps the right place for this particular pilgrimage to end, a night with Mike in a bar, drinking a few beers, eating croquettas, watching the Barcelona match.

A good place for all this to end, at least for now.

7 Comments so far
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Thanks for this great account and the wonderfully selected poems, prayers. Wonderful.

Comment by freescot

thanks- it’s a real pleasure,

Comment by pilgrimpace

Dear Andy, thanks so very much for your ongoing generous sharing. I read your blog as often as I can and it always warms my heart and bolsters my courage to take the next step. I actually had a strange moment in Mass last Tuesday at Glenstal Abbey in Co.Limerick when a special welcome was made to “Andy and the pilgrims” (!) I soon discovered they were German and guessed that it wasn’t you 🙂

I also have a question… As I might have told you, I’m currently doing a Masters in ritual chant and song in Limerick, and we are going on a class trip in June to Paris and Camino Spain (Estella, Burgos, Leon, Santiago) as well as Lugo to give some concerts and situate some of our repertoire in its context. We only have one concert booked at the moment and I was wondering if you have any local contacts in Santiago or elsewhere that might give a lead to proposing some more concerts.

All the very best to you, and wishing you a holy Lent.


Comment by Lucy

Thanks Lucy – no, I’m afraid it wasn’t me at Glenstall.

I’ve passed your request about concerts on to a couple of people who may be able to help.

Go well


Comment by pilgrimpace

Oh! A poem by Hafiz! Now I feel really at home, for I’ve been to his tomb in Shiraz and felt his welcome there.
I shall be setting out on my Camino at the end of April. It’s good to know others on this path share his vision.

Comment by Jamilla's mum

Thank you. Hope you enjoy the Camino. Might be good to pack a slim volume of Hafiz or Rumi?


Comment by pilgrimpace

Indeed I shall, Andy.In fact, I thought I’d already said that. Obvioulsy not. :>D

Comment by Jamilla's mum

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