We got a bit earlier than usual and headed out while it was still dark. The trail was muddy from the rain and there were storm clouds threatening. We walked about 3 km until we found a place open for breakfast.
We had our usual 20 km to walk but today was so different, it was our final day of walking. The morning was the usual tree lined lanes and fields. Both of us felt a bit emotional about our final walk. We have loved it so much, we can’t believe it is over.
A plane flew low over me and scared me. I haven’t seen a plane in so long. It was strange to be reentering the modern world after five weeks in a totally different dimension as a pilgrim. Pilgrims live in a strange isolated world within rural Spain. The outside world rarely touched us.
After our final hill we enjoyed this large monument to pilgrims and St James. It is on Mount de Gozo, hill of joy, where pilgrims got their first glimpse of the cathedral.
The walk into Santiago was long as we followed a line of pilgrims headed to our final goal. It was so exciting to finally see the cathedral. We both felt we had really triumphed.
We found the pilgrim office and got in line for our Compestela, the official certificate, and celebrated with our friends. It was a long wait with our packs still on so we were totally exhausted and hungry when we finished. We struggled to find our hotel so we finally got a cab and we so glad to finally take off our packs.
A hot shower and a rest helped us revive enough for a 7:30 pilgrim’s Mass. The priest reads a list of the starting points and the number of pilgrims from each country who started there. It was said very rapidly in Spanish but we heard our starting town of Roncesvalles, 750 km ago.
The Cathedral is beautiful with the most elaborate Retalbo I have see yet. Totally gold and silver with enormous angels holding the canopy over St James.
Our big adventure is over. We made it safely to Santiago after 750 km and five weeks. We are so grateful that we had no injuries or blisters and were able to enjoy every step. Both of us have this strange feeling that it was easy but yet I know that we worked hard and sacrificed for this journey. We will miss the walking, friends, animals and the beauty of Spain. I loved being in nature everyday, all day for 5 weeks. We feel privileged that we were able to walk this ancient path. We are forever part of the Camino and the Camino is forever part of us.
Blessed are you pilgrim who knows the the real Camino starts when you arrive home.
I want to thank all who helped us on this journey.
My Dad who taught me to love walking. My mother who gifted us airline tickets. Hamilton who has been so supportive of our dream. Laura and Leslie who healed my ankle. Jane my walking partner and dear friend. Bert who helped us get the perfect equipment. Valarie who volunteered to pick me up in Santiago, and my lotus family where all epic adventures begin.