The Way of Antonio: Córdoba, Sarria and Santiago de Compostela
Hello, pilgrims! I’m Antonio, and my Way began the day I decided to embark on the adventure of getting to Santiago de Compostela on my own. After a couple of months of thinking about it and informing myself about everything related to the Way, I made up my mind.
Sarria was my first step, and since that point, I left in the direction of Santiago de Compostela. I set off on the Way, walking alone like a snail with its house on its back and with the feeling that I would return to Córdoba just as I was leaving.
I went without booking 100% of the nights in the different hostels. For me, that was part of the great adventure. I had never been in a hostel before, and I didn’t know how it would be to share a “room” with so many people.
I took the train to Sarria in Madrid, and from the first hour, I was amazed at the number of pilgrims who were on the same train. All the boots were full of backpacks with the pilgrim’s shell. It seemed incredible to me that so many people had agreed to start the Way on the same day and from the same place.
My unexpected partners
I arrived in Sarria and, just before arriving at the hostel where I would spend the first night, I met two girls going in the same direction, with a super suitcase (Paris Hilton style). Then I thought to myself that “everyone walks the way they want”.
Once at the hostel, I checked in, and once inside, I found the Paris Hilton girls going into the same room I had been assigned. I asked them some questions about the credential, and they asked me if I was arriving alone. When I answered, they didn’t hesitate and said: “Come with us”.
Without looking for it, I found people to do the Way with before starting it. Also, in the same hostel, we met two guys from Chantada. We would share a room with them, and later, we also shared the route, experiences, and incredible moments.
The next day we left Sarria together. We were happy to start our challenge. We sang, laughed, and gave each other a lot of strength. Without thinking about it or having proposed it, we ended up cheering up the Way of many more pilgrims.
The first day they asked me why I was doing the route alone. To some of them, you give them a little explanation, and to others, you give them a little explanation. However, some people open the door to their hearts directly and let you in. It is called shared solitude, and it’s so cool!
The first stages were incredible. We went through beautiful surroundings. But the tiredness and the complication of our Way took centre stage when it started to rain. The water complicated everything.
For three days it rained a lot, even soaking our clothes and shoes. If the terrain is a bit tricky in the dry, imagine it in the wet. Knees were shaking, warning of fatigue, and the continuous ups and downs didn’t help.
Even so, with the difficulty and the water, they were beautiful stages, full of laughter, lots of laughter, confidence, and beautiful moments. It’s lovely to listen to people, to hear their testimonies and to let them empty themselves with you. It fascinates me that they trust a stranger so much to tell you about their life, or even their problems or intentions.
My arrival in Santiago
For me, the most special moment was the stage from O Pedrouzo to Santiago. The Way is wonderful, and the arrival at the Cathedral is unforgettable. Arriving at your destination after having shared a week of sacrifice with people you didn’t know and who just a few days later become your family, flatmates and confidants is priceless.
I return with a full heart. Full of the names of beautiful people, of the union with people I didn’t expect to meet, of laughter, of experiences, confidences, and shared testimonies. Also, of course, of beer and octopus. But, above all, I return with an experience on my back that I am sure will be one of those that I will remember for the rest of my life. I am sure that I will want to repeat it very soon.
I return home happy to have found partners for this journey that have made my Way easier, happier and much more special. For meeting the Apostle, could prostrate me before him, listening to mass in his house and praying to him for my people. And above all, for knowing that magic of the Way that everyone was talking. Now I can say that the magic is in the Way and in everything you take with you!
As they would say in Galicia: “Camiñante non hai camiño, faise camiño ó andar”.