Friday, October 28, 2022

Day 37  I MADE IT!!!       O Pedrouzo  to Santiago de Compostela, Spain   October 28, 2022

The last 19.4 km seemed to fly by in spite of the fact I was awakened at 5 AM by four Spanish women who were apparently leaving and all they could do was zip zip zip their suitcases for about 30 minutes and talk out loud. It was very annoying. Usually a good hosteller will have everything packed the night before and sneak out soundlessly while everyone else is sleeping. Not these women! So many of the people the last few days are tourists, not Caminoers and so they treat the hostels like they’re their private hotel rooms.  Oh well, that’s all over now!

My intention for the day was of course gratitude for the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual strength to complete these 800 km, for the friends I’ve made, for the places I have seen and for the many insights I have had. My feet hurt of course but I persevered even though the last 2 km it was raining quite hard.

Along the way-

So many people but today the walk seemed quieter.  These tourists are probably exhausted-

So many of the 100kmers buy trinkets-

and they need 2 stamps each day to prove they have truly walked 100 km.  We get a stamp for our passport at every hostal and you can also get them at restaurants and churches-

Only 15 km to go-

Finally I came to Santiago-

but I still had about 2 km to go until-

I cried walking towards the cathedral.  There were quite a few of us together at the end and it was nice to be able to celebrate our finish together-

After, I went to get my certificates-

and then we had something to eat. The pilgrim’s mass was at 7:30 at the cathedral. It was packed and we were treated to the swinging of the Botafumeiro which is a famous thurible found in the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. Incense is burned in the swinging metal container also known as a censor.  It is suspended from a pulley mechanism in the dome on the roof of the church. The current pulley was installed in 1604.  The Botafumeiro was made in 1851 and is an alloy of brass and bronze and plated in  silver.  It weighs 80 kg and is 1.6 m high.  Eight tiraboleiros pull the ropes to make it swing and it can reach speeds of 68 km/h and heights of 21 m as it swings in a 65m arc.  It swings for 80 seconds and it costs €450.  We poor pilgrims thank the rich families who paid for it tonight-

It was great to be in the cathedral tonight because it was all lit up-

  The main altar-

The pipe organ-

Saint James’ remains-

A side room-

I’m staying at Albergue Linares-

in an 8 bed room-

Checkout is late tomorrow and the best thing?  I don’t have to walk…


I’ve been thinking about the end of my camino and what I’ve learned.  I think that because of my other travels and life experiences, this particular trip wasn’t as enlightening for me as it might have been because…

I’ve traveled alone before.  I know what it’s like to walk into a hostel by myself and choose a bunk. I know what it’s like to sit in a restaurant and eat alone.  I know what it’s like to spend the whole day by myself and admit I like it.  I know what it’s like to wear the same clothes day after day after day.  I know what it’s like to pee in the bush and I know what it’s like to eat the same things over and over.  I know what it’s like to lose someone and to have relationships break down.  I know what it’s like to be courageous enough to overcome hardships.  My life is pretty awesome and I’m truly grateful.  

Physically the trip was strenuous but good. I lost some weight and got pretty fit. My feet always hurt after about 15 kilometers but the trouble with my IT band disappeared after my Physio treatment and once I got rid of my walking sticks my knee pain was gone too.  Mentally, I never felt like having a breakdown because the days were never too hard.  I always knew I could find an albergue if the day got too long and carry on the next day.  I didn’t have a set deadline forcing me on.  Emotionally the only time I cried was walking towards the Cathedral this afternoon.  I never felt alone or angry or confused - usually just happy to be able to attempt this feat.  Spiritually I’ve always had a connection with God and so this was certainly an opportunity to talk to Him - a lot!

I liked setting intentions and thinking about that specific topic for the day. Walking for six hours certainly provided enough time!  I made some great friends and we had a lot of fun. I met people from all over the world and heard many reasons why they were doing the camino, some for more than the first time.

Would I do it again?  Well certainly not the French Way but truly I can’t imagine doing another because I still don’t like walking but one must never say never!  

It was a great experience and I am very satisfied with my accomplishment.  I will hang my Compostela on my wall with pride!

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