Woke up to find that the radiators in our dorm had gone off in the night and my clothes weren’t properly dry, but like the true pilgrim I have become, I put them on anyway. As we were the first ones up, we couldn’t put the lights on so stumbled about in the dark making such a racket that we soon had everyone else up.
We set off on our last few miles in a light drizzle but high spirits, these were slightly reduced by all the aches and pains we had been trying to ignore when we had a long way to go, refusing to lie low with such a short distance left. We weren’t alone in this, the road was a steady stream of hobbling, weaving, limping pilgrims wending their weary way to the finish line.
Unlike the Camino Frances, you approach the city from the south. There is no big moment of finally reaching the city, you just find yourself in increasingly built up and populated areas, then quaint cobbled streets and then you are there, rounding the corner, the magnificent cathedral is in front of you. An emotional moment, the end of the journey and the stunning beauty of the cathedral combined with the immense fatigue that hits you leaves you feeling close to tears and happy all at the same time.
It feels very strange being back, I recognised restaurants I had eaten in, the shop I bought a skirt in, the bar I spent many celebratory hours in. I wanted to turn back the clock and see the familiar faces of those I walked with last time around.
We went straight off to get our official certificates recognising our journey and in some kind of final test of stamina, we had to stand in a queue, packs on for 45 mins with all the other pilgrims who had arrived at the same time.
Anna needs to go home, things she needs to sort that can’t be done here have arisen. I have decided to go with her, we started together and I feel we should end together. I went on without her on the last Camino, it doesn’t feel right to go on to Finisterre without her this time. Santiago has always been the end in my mind. It is where Pilgrims traditionally finished, at the burial place of St James. Finisterre, Muxia and the ocean will have to wait until next time.
We wandered around Santiago like Mary and Joseph looking for the last room at the Inn as we were expecting to go to Finisterre today so hadn’t booked anywhere. The city is packed and almost everywhere is full. Fortunately, we have found ourselves in a sweet little hostel where we have our own room. We have to move tomorrow night, but for now we are warm and dry and have beds. We will spend tomorrow wandering the city and going to the Pilgrim mass and relishing the fact we won’t really have anywhere we have to go. While this is the official end of the journey, I will do a ‘summing up’ post tomorrow.