Lucia Ebbs, Fundraising Manager with CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young), walked the Camino from Sarria to Santiago with other CRY members to raise funds for the charity and remember their loved ones.
She shares that special Camino journey as she prepares for the second CRY Camino, taking place in from 3rd to 10th October and walking the last section of the Camino Portugués, the Portuguese Way from Tui to Santiago.
by Lucia Ebbs.
March 2014 was the date I signed up for the Camino for Cry. Joining me would be my sister Kate and our niece Aoife. Kate lost her daughter Jenny in 2002 to Sudden Cardiac Death and we had talked of ‘doing something’ in Jenny’s memory for a long time. The Camino was on my bucket list from the time I watched Martin Sheen in The Way so when Cry decided to add the Camino Trek to our list of Fundraising Events it seemed to be a perfect match.
It would be a huge personal challenge and a week I will remember forever, walking, talking, laughing, crying and singing (as you do!) an unforgettable week. In some ways the hardest week of my life and the best week.
In total 15 signed up and over the summer fundraised to reach our target . The group ranged in ages from 30+ to 60+ and we all had one thing in common: all of us had lost family members to SADS.
September 6th we flew to Labacolla Aiport, Santiago. Two hours later the bus took us to Sarria to begin our 110K walk back to Santiago. Sarria was the biggest town we saw. Starting at Sarria meant we qualified for the Compostela recording the completion of the Camino. Some serious work to be done over some difficult Galician terrain – walking through mountains, crossing valleys, over old bridges, past ancient cruceiros, streams, river beds, climbing steep slopes and down the other side.
The Mantra of the Camino is Walk ……Eat …Sleep. For me it really was just a case of ‘one foot in front of the other’.
On our first day from Sarria to Portomarín, we walked 23 kilometres. Portomarin is approached by a bridge and then you enter the town going up 100 steep steps – not easy after 23 kilometres! My toughest challenge for the week was getting across that bridge! The steps were a doddle after that bridge!
After that we continued to Palas de Rei, Melide, Arzúa and Amenal .
Our last leg of the journey on day 7 was Amenal to Santiago and our last night was spent in the monastery Hospederia San Martin Pinario – a beautiful medieval building. It is in front of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral and they have taken care of pilgrims for five centuries. It is completely refurbished now and offers high level but simple comfort. It was a privilege to stay there – our rooms were those originally built in the Monasterio. There is a cloistered unlit garden in the middle of the building, a communal restaurant serving authentic Galician food and drink – it was a little surreal to stay in a building like this.
Over the week we walked in groups – starting the day with some and ending with others and sometimes walking alone.
We had decided that the group would walk the last day together into Obradoiro Square which was an incredible experience – 15 “CRY CAMINO 2014” t-shirts walking together through the Porta dos Peregrinos – the Pilgrims Gate. I think it was here that we all got the mental image of being a ‘pilgrim’ – our goal to walk the Camino Frances and we had achieved it. We walked into Obradoiro Square and we laughed, hugged and cried –such an emotional experience realising we had completed our challenge.
On our last night we went to the Pilgrims Mass. The celebrant speaks in five languages and it was a special moment when he welcomed us – the CRY group from Ireland. More tears. We had a clear view of the altar and the Botafumeiro which is lowered from the ceiling and filled with incense which is put in a metal container and let for its flight above the congregation. It’s the largest censer in the world, weighing 80 kg and measuring 1.60 m in height. As the Botafumeiro swings the choir and congregation sing. It was an amazing experience in the Cathedral – a profound and life changing experience that I will remember forever.
Walking as a group we became friends – we had a common bond in remembering our loved ones.
For more information about the CRY Camino charity trek 2015: www.cry.ie or contact Lucia at firstname.lastname@example.org.