An unforgettable experience

A chronicle that comes to us from Vigo:

“They have been the best days of coexistence with friends I have ever done!” This phrase, said by one of the attendees on the return trip to Galicia, could summarize the feeling of everyone after the crossing of the Pyrenees. We prepared the trip for the last week of August. We were nine guys of the club Doira, of Vigo: 5 boys and 4 older. Our idea was to do 5 days of road. We distributed the route differently than St Josemaria did and the group that accompanied him, especially to find good places to camp, have access to water, and so on.

The first night we arrived in Pallerolls. Although we were tired from the trip (almost 1,300 km) we listened attentively to all the events that Ramón told us, who very kindly welcomed us. It helped us to put ourselves in situation and to face the walk of the following day with illusion.

We attended Mass in the Church of Pallerolls and began the march. We had planned to make a long stage and we knew that it would last. Our intention was to make from Pallerolls to the House of Aubenç. But our forecasts were surpassed. Above all because, although we had been warned to carry enough water, we fell short in the calculation and… already very tired and without water for several km we arrived at the Barranco de la Ribalera. The climb -very hard- cost us horrors. One of the assistants was a little dehydrated and had a strong dizziness(like Tomás Alvira, in that same ascent). Another one stayed with him to face the ascent with more calm. We managed to reach the top shortly before sunset. But the adventure continued, since the van, by a mistake with the GPS was not at the top, but elsewhere. The driver had to pick up the tents (he had set them up in the wrong place) and find the meeting point. He finally got it around 1am. You can imagine how we drank the water that brought us and how well we got dinner…

Although it may seem like a setback, you can’t get used to the idea of what brought us together in that episode. Everyone’s reactions were very surprising: generosity in efforts, facing everything without complaints, etc. The youngest members of the expedition are 13 years old, so with more merit. We all remember that day with laughter and full of emotion.

The next day we decided to recover calmly in the place where we had camped. We were able to get up late, take a bath, prepare food, have a “campaign” Mass, etc. Although for this reason we reduced one of the walking days, it was worth it to rest.

The rest of the stages unfolded without any more surprises. It is true that we were aware of the difficulty of the journey. One of the boys said in a conversation: “Now I realize how much St Josemaria and the others must have suffered here. Above all we were surprised by the descent to the river Civís. One hopes that the descent can be a more placid moment… until you see the inclination it has and its complexity for the stones, brambles, etc. It is also to be thankful for the well signposted road and the effort that has been made to prepare it, make maps, etc…”.

But everything is worth it: the arrival in Sant Julià de Lòria is a fantastic moment. There we were able to attend Mass in the parish church. As the expeditionaries of 1937 we felt a great joy to arrive and have managed to complete the entire tour. Everyone’s comments were similar: “How much the road has helped me to know more about the Work and St Josemaria”; “Thank goodness I came; I could have missed this marvel”; “You don’t know how much this road has helped me”, etc. All of us, young and old, ended up really happy and having enjoyed ourselves a lot. In fact, we plan to repeat it next summer.

It is what could have followed in the footsteps of a saint.