Day 29 – El Camino – Pedrouzo to Santiago de Compostela

Pedrouzo to Santiago de Compostela, the last leg of the journey. A tough slog through the night brought us into the holy city just in time for the Pilgrim’s Mass in the Saint James’ Cathedral.

~4 hours
all my peaches
dark and cool very early morning; partly cloudy and cool morning; midday muggy and partly cloudy; afternoon warm and sunny.
– Albergue: 17€

Darkness surrounded us, blind we were without torches. Two hours hiking through the forest before the sun rose was something of an experience.

We came off the main roads and back onto the Camino into the woods. It was all quite surreal that we were actually marching through there in the dark. Think Blair Witch Project. Mhmmm.

Though it was dark we still had to search for our Camino arrows to lead us on the correct way. This was somewhat more fun to do without light.

As day broke we breached the last few hills and saw Santiago rise above the landscape. We were about five kilometers from the city centre by then.

Here are shots of us at the city limits.

The walk through the city was long, though the always changing scenery made it easier to push through.

We climbed a small hill and I could see the top of the Cathedral ahead. This was my queue to remove my shoes and complete my pilgrimage barefoot.

The old city stood well maintained and we passed a few buildings I thought could have been the cathedral. Here they stood on the final hundred meters.

The cathedral was covered in scaffolding for renovations, which was kind of a let down. I was anticipating an awe inspiring sight! Still it was incredible to have arrived and ponder my journey for a moment.

The pilgrims office was our next stop, in order to collect our Compostela Certificates. Thankfully there was no queue and we went straight through.

They asked for the main reason for walking the Camino: 1) religious; 2) religious or spiritual; 3) tourist. I said spiritual and received a lovely certificate reflecting this.

At 12h00, I attended the Pilgrim’s Mass. For me this was the real end of my journey. It was a beautiful service in Spanish, the cathedral was packed out with pilgrims and tourists.

As I received the Eucharist, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I kept saying to myself: ‘I did it. I’ve done it. I’ve made it. I’m here.’

That afternoon was “Treat yo’self” time. I indulged in some squid in ink sauce. Then I bought a new pair of shoes, swanky! Then I bought a new shirt, super swag!

Santiago must have known we were coming, and really treated us to a warm welcome because tonight there were big stages set up around the old city with live music and dancing in the streets. Later there would be fireworks.

That was a fantastic way to celebrate our achievement. I will always remember this.

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