With roosters crowing, I was up at 6 am. Usually, I creep around in the dark and take my things outside, but with my own room: the lights are on! I carefully attended to my feet: foot cream, Vaseline, big toes wrapped in raw wool, toe socks and over those: smart wool socks. Only the top of the line for these 10 puppies that carried me 790 km!
Only 20 km to go. The first bit climbs out of town to rejoin the Camino path. It is through tunnels of interlocking tree branches…enchanting.
Like a good book with a few pages left, you have the feeling of savoring the last day. As hard as it is; it is your last day of an adventure. Your mind tries to capture and hold each moment. I love this sign at a cafe:
The village of Amenal is the first cafe you come to from the town of Pedrouzo. I bought a yogurt, banana, and cafe con leche (my favorite breakfast). Got that stamp! I had to have two today.
Through tunnels of trees and the land begins to climb (of course there are hills!). For some reason, I’m good at hills. I use my poles to push off and keep a steady pace, usually passing people. If I go slow I lose momentum. So, up, up, up I climb again! No problemo. Caught my first sign of Santiago de Compostella!
A walk around the airport (where I fly out of on Friday morning). And down and up through neighborhoods. Children are being dropped off at a school, and I watch for distracted mothers driving at me WAY too fast for a school zone!!!
Monte del Gozo is a nightmare! Three bus loads of tourist are dropped off and a woman on a load speaker is saying, “remember! We meet in front of the cathedral in two hours!” It becomes Disneyland at this point. We who have walked so far, now dodge the crowds.
I realize I have a chance at making the pilgrims mass! It starts at noon, my pace quickens. My poor toes jam against the front of my boots. I stop to tighten my boots: downhill is brutal on the toes. Poles keeping time, I jump and dodge the bus loads of tourists. “Look!” I overhear someone say as I pass them, “…a REAL pilgrim!” I smile and press on. I guess I am. A real pilgrim!
I come into town (but I have a few miles through the city to go) and I see this sign.
Santiago de Compistella! I normally hate walking through cities, but this is Santiago de Compostella. Tears fall and my throat catches a sob.
There is a couple ahead of me who walk my pace, we follow the arrows, weaving across streets and I notice his hand waving: I see the spirals of a church, my heart jumps. We begin weaving through old streets, around a fountain, and I see a curved archway-tunnel, recognizing this from different forums and YouTube videos, I know we have come.
A corner and a square and there she is, draped on scaffolding, but still stately: the Cathedral!
i made it!!! It is 11:15 am, just in time to grab a seat. I find where to check my backpack, and this “real” pilgrim, sweaty and tired, quickly finds a seat with these kind Japanese folks who allow me to sit with them
i attend Mass. The nun who sings should really record CDs: her voice is angelic. I participate in communion because: well you know-I’m a believer! And as luck would have it, the grand incense burner (bontafumeiro) swings! I don’t think my camera caught it
What a glorious day! After mass, I searched for the post office, where magically, my clothes I had mailed a week ago will be. I found it and was given my box. Tucking it under my arm, another treasure hunt to find my hotel.
I really hit the jackpot on this one. I have a corner room with TWO balconies and a soaking tub. Ahhh. I was hungry, but didn’t feel like eating alone, so right around the corner from my hotel was a tiny grocery. I bought: a bottle of Rioja red wine, a can of olives, a generous slice of delicious local cheese, salamie, 3 giant strawberries and a small loaf of bread…for 7 Euros.
I think I’ll have dinner on my patio
Maybe another soak in my tub?
this pilgrim is in for the night!