Blog from TYs for Monday 23 September 2019 of the Camino
Having arisen on a Monday morning we breakfasted upon a solitary croissant and freshly squeezed orange juice followed by a single cup of coffee to fortify ourselves for the harrowing 29km ahead.
We set out, our minds already dwelling on our next coffee stop. We quickly found ourselves matching the pace of two of our staff members, Mr Kieran Sparling, newly appointed Dean of Boarding, and Mr Ciarán Devitt, teacher of the important subjects of physical education and geography.
Also within our group were fellow students Ian Larkin, Chris Burke Young and Liam Duggan. For the next 2km we proceeded to quiz our teachers on all aspects of their lives in the hope of discovering something of interest. Having come upon information ranging from their age to their favourite film to the sports they played in their younger years, we happened upon our first cafe. Naturally enough we decided to refuel, each of us having a chorizo sandwich or an omlette and a cup of strong coffee. As we paid, the owner of the cafe graciously granted us the privilage to pick red apples from her tree, which we took using Kieran's shepherd's crook. Re-energised, we continued upon our journey. Entranced by the beauty of the local wildlife, Liam Duggan pursued a chicken which caught his eye around an empty barnyard, much to the amusement of onlooking peregrino.
We then came upon a pale prostrate pilgrim sprawled on the grass to the edge of the road. As we neared him, we realised that it was Michael Buckley, who was feeling weak. Recalling the parable of the good Samaritan, we offered what aid we could. As Liam Duggan left our group, a new peregrino in the form of Michael Buckley joined. Walking with the still pale Michael, and blisters forming upon our feet, we lagged further and further behind. Having walked for another hour, greeting pilgrims with a cheery "Buen Camino" that lit up their day, we stopped for lunch. To our surprise we arrived as the rest of the group was departing. Michael then sat at an uninhabited table and fell asleep his exhaustion evident. We ordered a mixture of seafood and chicken which ultimately disappointed us greatly, the calamari in particular having a peculiar taste of rubber. To drink between the six of us, we had 13 coffees and 7 or 8 soft drinks. An hour and a half later, full of energy, we continued on our journey. As we passed through the picturesque towns of Galicia, we struck upon Kieran's favourite topic - the politics of Northern Ireland. For 20 minutes he spoke to us at length about the prospect of a united Ireland, debating its merits and its flaws. Having completed his lengthy monologue, he began to sing songs from both sides of the cultural divide, much to the amusement of the group. From singing rebel songs, we started to educate Ciarán Devitt about Gregorian chant, Kieran and Luke duetting to form a killer combo. As we walked, we came upon an exquisite example of a wild red rose. It was picked by Chris, and Ciarán showed his romantic nature, immediately suggesting that we present it to Ms Fiona Hanly. Chris decided he would bear the rose back to the hostel. The beauty of this rose inspired a conversation on philistines led by our resident philosopher Kieran Sparling, who expounded his views with his typical gusto. After some time, we came to a small bridge overlooking a fountain in the depths of a forest. Here we took a break and checked our social media. This is when we finally realised how far behind the rest of the group we were.. The group just ahead of us had passed the exact same point an hour and a half previous. Now Ian began to get restless. He pressed us to go faster in order to make up time. However, Luca and Michael were in the throes of agony and we stopped at the next café to tend their wounds. Chris and Luke had yet more coffee, and Kieran had yet more food, while Ciarán ministered to the sick. Luca gingerly removed a pair of socks which he had borrowed from Luke and to reveal a gruesome sight. Pus seeped from numerous blisters and as a group we doubted his ability to continue. Needless to say, Kieran merely sat in the corner and smiled smugly. Michael was doubtful of his own strength.and brought the possibility of getting a taxi. Ciarán beat this idea out of his mind and so, both walking with the aid of a stick, Luca and Michael struggled on. Ciarán then made the erroneous statement that classical music was boring. Kieran's reply was to play Wagner for Ciarán, and we were all surprised that Ciarán didn't use his considerable pace to speed away.
As we entered the final stretch of the journey Chris dropped the rose destined for Ms Hanly. It was rapidly scooped up by Luke who proceeded to quote the beginning of the Balcony Scene from Shakespeare's tragic love story Romeo and Juliet. Supporting Luca, Chris and Luke walked for a considerable time before letting him drop to the ground. He regained his feet slowly with the help of a stick and travelled on. With Ciarán driving us on and motivating us and Kieran present also, we finally made it to our hostel. There we were overjoyed to see the beatific face of Br Colmán and those of our fellows who had finished three hours previous. The day's journey was complete.
By Luke Nicholas and Luca Furno.
After a long day previously, covering a total of around 29 Kilometers, we were all struggling to get up, teachers included. Thankfully today was a much shorter 19 kilometers, which all together was the shortest length to be walked in the entire trip. It was the knowledge of this shorter walk that gave us the vigour to power on. A groggy Cian O'Brien jokingly remarked that he never thought he would see the day where is was looking forward to only having to walk 19km.
After around 2.5 kilometers of walking today, some of us stopped to have a refreshment, consisting of coffee/lemonade and a pastry. This hit the spot and gave us the energy to undertake another 10 kilometers. We all stopped at that point and ate lunch, which was similar in almost every café we stopped at (Bacon, egg and bread)/(Bacon and cheese sandwich) and so on. Lunch was very affordable and did us all until much later that day. Once again, after eating we finally could complete the days walk, ending up in the town of Pedrizio.
Our Hostel was called REM. Everyone shared a large 48 person dormitory which was much nicer than expected. The hostel thankfully contained a refreshment area, offering a range of hot drinks and some affordable snacks (compared to Irish prices at least)
As it quickly darkened, we were directed by the the adults to attend a Pizza/Restaurant café, called Café Che, where we enjoyed a chicken and chips dinner. Kieran Sparling earned that hunger is the best sauce!
The recurring practice of standing up and contemplating on each and every single of our personal favorite part of the day. After, we went back to the hostel where we were monitored very closely by the staff, much to our enjoyment. However, getting a great nights sleep for the final day ahead, which would end us up in the end city of Santiago.
Written by George O’Leary, Transition year.