Day 14 – Last day on El Camino de Costa Rica

Last night we celebrated the finish of our camino a day early. Wine, cheese and fresh crackers flowed freely. At around 5:30 in the evening two women showed up to cook for us. Conchita hired them to cook us a meal. Not just any meal but, a coq au vin classic style French stew.

This is where the chicken is braised slowly in red wine and a little brandy to yield a supremely rich sauce filled with tender meat, crisp bits of bacon, mushrooms and burnished pearl onions. And of course some of the local spices.

And for dessert a coconut flan is served. Good food, good friends, something to do, something to look forward to. What more does a human being crave or look forward to in this lifetime.

And on the last stage of our camino we covered 12.5 miles, 23,948 steps and climbed seventeen floors. Our start point – Naranjito to Quepos.

I now write these words while sitting on a teak leaf that I laid atop the still moist red rich Costa Rican soil. Sweat continues dripping from my body as it feels like I am sitting in a sauna rather than a country road while waiting for the others to catch up.

The camino is not yet over but, yet another stop is made to see or explore some other trail or “must see” thing. It does irritate me quite a bit to stop when I finally find my rhythm and possibly am feeling the “barn” effect, i.e. the finish.

At some point we go from country to city on the camino and my Wikiloc app is telling me I am on a direct course to the finish in around an hour. I don’t look back.

And just like that the Camino is over. I take a picture or two and sit by the Quepos sign in a shady spot. Soon our guide Yorly and Marco walk up and are surprised to find me.

A short while later our remaining two show up Conchita and Garry. Marco starts shaking up a cheap bottle of champagne and makes the experience memorable by wetting each one of us. We laugh, no tears shed. Just a happy ending to a two week experience. Garry and I started together and finished together. I know that I was a pain in his side sometimes. From the start I fought the “tour like ” experience we were on. Someone to watch over us, care for our everything from food to lodging to transportation of of anything we did not want to carry. I needed to do some pennance. I needed some alone time. Guides came in and out of our lives. Vladimir, Giovanni, Sergio and finally Yorly. Our tour operator Fabian made everything flow with precision. Three other wonderful people started with us Charity, Glenda and Kiley.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. The bug bites will heal soon. I almost died on this Camino but, then I didn’t. When the trail through the jungle gave way I instinctively grabbed a tree root and pulled myself up and back onto the trail.

Live your life like it’s your last days they say. Well I think I’ve reached a point in my life where if it doesn’t kill you it will certainly give you more memories to share.

Pura Vida

Rafa on the Camino.