Monday, May 25, 2015

Camino de Santiago Monday 25th May: Day 13

A Rua – Santiago de Compostela
21km, total time on the way 3:30

Woke in a pool of sweat. Body is really breaking down and all the waste products are fighting to get out. Left at 06:00 chomping my standard breakfast on the go. My calf wasn’t quite as sore as yesterday morning and I was able to walk  properly quite quickly. It was also a lot warmer than yesterday morning.

Start thinking about my journey. The start in St Jean Pied de Port seems so long ago but also seems only like yesterday. What an amazing adventure. More than I ever expected, more than I could have ever hoped for

The kilometers roll by. At the 10km marker I begin to feel excited, and start singing to myself like a little boy. But the next few kilometers seem to pass so slowly and my calf is stiffening up.

Through the outskirts of Santiago and into the old part of the city. I arrive at what I think is the entrance to the cathedral….but it’s actually the back. Round 2 more corners to the main entrance. All but the top of one tower is under wraps for renovation, and the classic entrance is closed.

Finally find the entrance on the 4th and final side.

It’s all a bit underwhelming. 

There’s lots of noise, too many people. More than ever, I truly comprehend that it’s the journey that is so important. The sights, the people, those moments of utter bliss and understanding. The birdsong.

I go into the cathedral but I’m told to leave as I’ve got my rucksack on!

Deposited my rucksack at left luggage (for 2€) and decided to get my compostela. There’s a long queue despite the relatively early hour. Some are excited, some quiet and lost in their own thoughts. Meet Nilton from Brazil again.
I ask nicely and smile sweetly, and get my compostela dated on my birthday.

Next challenge…find a hotel. Parador is very expensive. Everywhere else seems to be booked up. One lady say “Oh yes. I have a lovely room for you. Internet, living room, bathroom, kitchen” It’s a really grotty room with all facilities shared. I leave.

I come up with a cunning plan. I’ll walk a further 10km towards Finisterre where there is a recommended albergue. Grabbing some lunch, I set off with my newly purchased guide. After 2-3km, my calves are intolerably painful. I turn round, walk back to Santiago and book into the Parador!!

At last I started to relax a little and very nearly fell asleep in the bath.

I wandered around Santiago a bit more, had an ice cream, and met 3 other people that I met on my journey. What are the odds of that?

Had a walk around the cathedral which was much quieter now. Peaceful and moving. Visited the tomb of the apostle St James. There is a real sense of reverence and something feels very special. Find prayers being held in English just as they are finishing. Lovely chat with a very Irish priest – Father Joe. In my diary for tomorrow.

Nice seafood dinner, followed by another ice cream and some chocolate. Saw Nilton again.

Missing home/Jenny a lot this evening. Decide to move my flight forward from Friday to Wednesday. Will be home for my birthday.

Tomorrow will be a chance to take time and get my thoughts together. Camino Companions at 9, Pilgrim Mass at 12, prayers at 6. Plenty of time to reflect.

The journey is over for now and it was the journey that was so special, so meaningful.


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