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They say that there are no buses, then two come along at once. For me there was no holiday and then two came along at once. Not only that, but both included a pilgrimage.
This year I decided to go to Spain again for a short holiday. This time to Santiago de Compostela, or in other words the Way of St James - a pilgrimage. I can’t really say why I chose this holiday except that from an historical point of view, with the cathedrals, churches and other old buildings etc., along the way, it was bound to be of interest to me.
Years ago, the mode of transport from England would have been boat, then walking miles and miles to the cathedral to see the tomb of St James. In those times, it would have been a long arduous and most dangerous journey. Today, lots of people travel by plane, then coach as I did, stopping at the various pilgrim points on the way and staying in hotels. It was an organised tour with a lovely tour guide to help with everything.
We still had some walking to do, which after the first two days I found literally a pain, because I was wearing new walking shoes which soon made me limp and I ended up badly straining both my Achilles heels. Not to be beat, I carried on, there was so much to see and nothing to be missed. At one point I visited the pilgrim museum, which I found extremely interesting.
To follow the way of St James, just look for the sign of the shell on the street walls or on the pavement. Nowadays, as in ancient times most pilgrims had a staff or large stick that helped them on their way. At the start of the journey pilgrims purchased large shells which they tied to the staff or nowadays more likely to their backpack. So walking along we could hear a clatter of the shells before we spotted the pilgrims. The other clattering noise we could hear came from small flocks of storks flying over, they can be found nesting on the chimney pots. They are never disturbed by people as it is thought lucky if they choose to nest on a chimney.
Some people choose to walk most or part of the way. As people arrived at the final destination, Santiago de Compostela there was great excitement, cheering or singing, glad to have made it. People go there for all sorts of reasons. Some because they like walking, some for a challenge, some for religious reasons, some from a purely historical point, and some may think it will change them in some way or to ‘find themselves’.
Before I went to Spain, I asked Spirit if it was possible for me to be able give a reading there, I did not know how this could be arranged, for I knew no one in Spain and I didn’t know the language. Although I have given readings in Britain I hadn’t done any abroad. It would be nice to help someone in Spain and I wasn’t even sure if they had Mediums there. However, somehow I felt my prayer would be answered.
As I sat on the coach our Tour Guide asked each of the group why we had chosen to go. Now it so happened that a lady in a seat close to me said that her and her husband had planned and booked the holiday some time ago, but sadly her husband had died 6 months before they were due to go. After some deliberation, she finally decided to go on her own. A few days into the holiday she said to me he would have wanted her to have a holiday and felt she had done the right thing.
I know from experience that it is so difficult when your loved one passes to the spirit world. However, loved ones are still around us. They will try to give little signs to let us know they live on. At times her eyes were clouded with tears but bravely, she carried on telling me how she was pleased she had made the effort to be there and how she felt her husband would feel the same. Sometimes when a partner dies people may suffer feelings of frustrated, bitterness, ‘why me’ they ask, even anger at a loved one for leaving them. We just simply miss them so much. This lady was neither bitter nor angry, she was just happy that she had spent many years with such a loving man. I listened to the lady talking about her husband anhd how they had been on many holidays together. I hoped this helped her.
Strangely I found that both the lady and the Tour Guide had similar beliefs to myself. It was so nice meeting such people. Needless to say my prayer was answered.
This holiday finally came to an end. I spent the next week at home catching up with my work, emails post etc.
It was soon time for my next holiday. I had booked a week in Norfolk. This was quite a different holiday, more relaxing with lots of windmills, boats, birds, nature, beautiful landscape and quiet sleepy villages. I looked through the leaflets that I had, to see which places to visit. I was surprised to find there was a Pilgrimage to Walsingham. I couldn’t resist.
There were the remains of an Abbey set in lovely flower gardens with a stream and a wood, several chapels and churches for the different religious denominations. There were only a few tourists there, but a good number of people supposedly on retreat either sitting in quiet contemplation or in deep discussion with the various religious clergy, including Franciscan monks. It was such a beautiful spiritual place, open to people of any religion and none. Everyone was friendly but went about their own business with just a ‘hello’, a nod or a smile and we could also enjoy our own bit of heaven there whether it was religious or back to nature in the flowers and countryside.
My two weeks on holiday were great, it was lovely seeing so many places, trying food, and meeting people but it’s time to get back to work. Now I am left with good memories of my holidays, I hear a clattering sound, was that a stork, no just the sound of my shells blowing in the breeze.