Camino de Santiago, Day 35
O Pedrouzo to Santiago de Compostela, 12 Miles
This article is the twenty-eighth and final in our series of walking 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago with my husband Scott. Some articles will be only about one day of walking, and some may include a few days of walking, for the lengths will vary. To begin with the first article click here.
Day 35, our last day on the Camino. We were happy and sad, as there were so many mixed emotions going through our minds and hearts.
It was necessary to begin our walk even earlier than usual on our last day, so we could arrive in Santiago de Compostela in time for the Pilgrim’s Mass at the cathedral at noon.
Walking in Darkness
For two hours we walked in darkness with only Scott’s headlamp between the four of us.
I was so slow. Walking in darkness had been an ongoing challenge for me. My eyes struggled with depth perception and I tended to shuffle my feet. I couldn’t see very far ahead, so it skewed distances in my head. It was almost like tunnel vision. I tried not to squeak or squeal every time I stumbled or tripped.
After we were out of the woods and on the streets, the full moon was there to guide us, which was perfect.
We were all quietly walking, each in our own thoughts.
I thought back on the last 400+ miles; the wonderful people we had met, locals and pilgrims, meals we had eaten and delicious wine we had enjoyed.
I appreciated Scott so much for being my partner on the longest, craziest adventure of our lives.
Sharing such a special experience with our friends was something we would never forget.
We took a quick break for breakfast, so sad, my last Cafe con Leche on the Camino. Then, it began raining. We covered our backpacks and put on our ponchos and rain gear and continued on.
Walking into Santiago de Compostela
The four of us walked through the rain as quickly as possible.
At one point, a bus load of pilgrims began walking ahead of us. As we passed them by, we could hear them chanting in prayer together.
The rain was really coming down. As we walked along the city streets, we dodged getting splashed by puddles from the trucks passing by.
There was another bus group ahead, filling the sidewalk for a long ways. We had to cross the busy street to get around them.
It was a long walk through the city before we came to the old section and our ending point. The Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela.
I am feeling very good as we walk our final few miles. Physically, I feel very strong and fit. Mentally, I feel clear and healthy. My mind is full of thoughts. Retracing the steps of our Camino, but also thinking of home and getting back to normal life again.
I feel I was really able to slow down and enjoy each and every day as it came. I feel so fortunate to have been able to share this experience with Jaynie. Our Camino was not easy. It took a lot of time and effort to go from talking about it, to getting here. And, it took a lot of mental and physical work to finish.
I am very proud of us as we walk into Santiago.
We Have Arrived!
We were all so happy and excited to be finished. Of course we took pictures in the rain, and in front of the cathedral to document our achievement!
Then, we went to find the Hotel Montes a couple of blocks away. We left our packs in the lobby as it was too early to go to our rooms. We raced back to the cathedral to get seats for the Pilgrim’s Mass.
We had the perfect seats and soon the cathedral was full with standing room only.
The mass was conducted in Spanish and Latin so we didn’t understand anything. It still felt important and special to be there, as this final destination was for pilgrims from around the world.
We were especially lucky to see the Botafumeiro swing at the end of the service. It’s not an every mass occurrence. The Botafumeiro is one of the largest in the world, weighing in at 80kg.
Pilgrims have visited the cathedral and the tomb of St. James the Great since 1075.
After the service, we stood in line with hundreds of people to walk past St. James’ tomb.
Walking 500 miles to our destination of Santiago de Compostela was such an accomplishment. We had talked, planned, and prepared as much as we thought we could to get ready for this adventure, but none of it came close to the actual experience which we will always remember.
Day 35, 12 miles. It was one day to remember always.
To read our thoughts on the Camino, six months later, please click here.