After 40 days of walking more than 800 kilometers (roughly 500 miles), Anna and I have arrived in Santiago de Compostela, the end of the Camino de Santiago! Cue the choir in 3, 2, 1…… Hallelujah!
About 20 days ago I wrote a post detailing the daily routine we were enjoying as we were passing the halfway mark. As we’ve approached Santiago, though, I noticed the magic had started wearing off and the enjoyment was becoming more of a daily grind. I think the difference boiled down to this short list:
- Our bodies were wearing down. Things like our feet and toes hurt in ways we’d never felt before.
- The weather, though nice and sunny for the vast majority of the Camino, had once again turned to grey skies and rain (with the occasional snow… surprise!).
- Waking up between 5:00 and 7:00 AM began to feel like waking up early to go to your job instead of going for a nice sunrise walk.
Other changes we had to adapt to included the huge influx of Spaniards doing a section of the Camino for Semana Santa (the Holy Week up to Easter), a few minor injuries, the second huge influx of pilgrims who were just walking the last 100 km (the minimum requirements for receiving the Compostela certificate), and the sudden increase in the amount of farm animal droppings in the wet and muddy roads. Guess which one of these was the hardest for Garrison to navigate in his sandals! At times it has been a struggle to keep a positive attitude. I pretty frequently felt like I was just in everyone else’s way, and that they were in mine. But most days this happened, I either thought of something or someone said something that put everything back into perspective. The quote I remember most vividly went something generally like this:
“I’ll either see you on the road or see you when we get there. We’re all going to the same place. Just like life!” — The 5th grade teacher from Miami.
And now we’re here! We made it. And we made some excellent new friends along the way. Along with the beautiful scenery and tasty food, making these new friendships was one of my absolute favorite parts of the Camino de Santiago. We didn’t always walk at the same pace or with each other, and sometimes we didn’t bump into each other for days or weeks at a time, but it’s the people along the way that really made this experience special. And now that we’re in Santiago, it’s been amazingly fun to bump into these friends celebrating their arrival all over town. What a festive place!
Here are some pictures that show some of the amazing sights we’ve seen along the way.
So…. now what? What are we going to do now that we’ve walked 800 km across Spain? Walk a bit further, of course! We’re headed off tomorrow to walk to Finisterre, basically an extension of the Camino to the Atlantic Ocean. Four more days! Four more days! Oh man,
my feet hurt this is going to be awesome!