Belvedere College - Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage

A reflection on the Camino by Owen Rogers - you can read this article here...

Camino de Santiago | from Bold Move on Vimeo.

On the Camino there was nothing that failed to impress me. The trip completely exceeded my expectations. When I went down to the airport on the Saturday morning, I was silently dreading the challenges I had signed up for. I was anxious to see how I would handle the cycling. I chatted to unfamiliar faces and tried to mingle with everyone. I saw that this was a great opportunity to make new friends, even if I found the cycling a nightmare.

When we started cycling on the Sunday morning I was already looking forward to the adventure of cycling through the mountains and any worry I had previously simply disappeared. As we came to the last part of the cycling that day, I looked at the mountains ahead with a thrill in anticipation of the challenge.

I was relieved that my legs weren’t stiff and realized that if I paced myself, I was well capable of cycling 50km a day. I was already bonding with various students and had found out there was much more to them than I had thought. Some people also realized this about me.

The second day of cycling was much more difficult than day one. When we took a break at the highest point of the Camino, some people looked tired, some caught off guard by the tough slopes, but everyone was really cheerful and having a fantastic time. Everyone was hungry for more.

We departed from the highest point to a twenty minute downhill. We went down winding roads at great speeds, passing by unbelievable scenery in the Spanish sunshine. The wind roared in my face and there was not a care in the world for any of the Belvedere lads and me. When everyone regrouped at a small town at the end of the downhill, it was easy to see everyone was in awe. It was an experience I will never forget.

That evening I injured my ankle and was told not to cycle for the next three days. I was terrified that would be the case. Lucky for me my ankle had improved sufficiently for me to be able to cycle by the end of the day. I was so relieved! We stayed in a hotel in the middle of nowhere that evening. All of us got into a freezing river that every group gets into every year. It was a great laugh, and was soothing to finally have a bit of cold, having been in the searing heat since day 1. I noticed how much more comfortable and friendly the group was by the river compared to the first shy day at the airport.

On day 4 of the cycling, Ger Brennan, Gerry Delany and 5 other students and I decided to take on the dreaded 10km climb. Ger encouraged us to get to the top without stopping because no Belvedere group ever did. I was almost certain I wouldn’t be able to do it but was going to give it a shot. After a tough start we reached half way. It was T. Foran, the teachers and me still on the front line. My morale was extremely low and I could give up any minute. I pushed myself and tried to ignore my burning legs. The climb just seemed endless. Once I saw a town in the distance and I suddenly regained my motivation. There was no stopping me! When we reached the town, Ger told us there was one kilometer left. My legs were completely exhausted, but I found my mind wasn’t going to give up on me any time soon. It was the slowest ten minutes of my life. Gerry Delany signaled that we had reached the end. I couldn’t believe that I had done it! I learned that I could push myself much further than I thought. It was just a case of mind over matter. It was a fantastic feeling of achievement.

The scenery, the bonding, the adventure, and the laugh I had on the Camino was phenomenal. Not to be missed! One of the best trips I’ve ever done!

By Robbie Egan, Syntax Scully

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