The Camino De Santiago and the final stage to Santiago De Compestela!
The final stage was about 15 KMS to reach the Cathedral for my Camino Brother Joshi and I. We woke up excited that day and were very anxious to get started!
The day was beautiful and full of life and anticipation for what was to come! We headed out of our room in the albergue and stopped for some breakfast. We were messaging Erns and Kobus our friends who were filming the TV series on the Camino that we had been in a few times before. We knew they were a little ways ahead of us and planned to try and catch up with them before Santiago.
The walking was the easiest of the last few weeks. Probably because of the excitement of what laid ahead of us and the anticipation of the end of the day. We laughed and joked with each other more than usual. We skipped and even sang and had such a good walk. The heat didn’t bother us this day and the pain we felt in our bodies didn’t bother us at all. We walked at a good pace and spoke of our journey together as we walked through dense Galician woods and down old streets. Passing farms and stopping to chat with the chickens and animals along the way.
The way was even more busy now as all the long term Pilgrims like us and the ones who started in Sarria at the 100km mark all began to merge into larger groups. We didn’t care at this point and as is custom said Buen Camino to all we passed. It had been a struggle to find places to stay the last 100km and today would be no different. It wasn’t until we stopped for brunch and Joshi checked on his phone app for a place to stay. We found a nice hotel not far from the city center to stay and I reserved it quickly on my credit card. This was around 12pm and we were lucky! A lot of pilgrims get left out as everything fills up for the night and everyone usually stays for a few days.
With the hotel booked and no worries now other than catching up with Erns, Kobus, Charlene and Neil, we ate our lunch with ease and left casually as we walked down the street from the café that was filled with pilgrims. We finally met up with the group just outside Santiago with the statues of past pilgrims pointing the way to Santiago. As we stood there looking out in the distance we could see the cathedral and Santiago. I remember Joshi saying “There is the spoiler.. there is Santiago” We laughed as he said it and as the camera rolled filming us meeting Erns again at this Iconic spot! We stood there filming for over an hour and talking about our journeys and how the way of Saint Francis was coming to an end. The emotions rushed through me and I could see the same happening to the group. While it is satisfying to have accomplished this journey you do feel a sense of sadness creep in that it is all over.
We finally left there and walked together as a group for the last 5 kms to Santiago. We even stopped just before the Cathedral to share a beer together before walking into the plaza. It was truly a beautiful time with some new great friends!
We continued on to the Cathedral and as we entered the plaza Joshi and I needed some time apart just to reflect and gather our emotions and thoughts.
It was truely amazing to see this beautiful place again as I had done the year before. For Joshi it was even more powerful as he walked over 2,000 kms to reach this point. I don’t think he really realized how special it was until he got home and we talked about everything through various conversations. Then watching my videos back or the TV series Elders: Die Camino on Showmax brought many memories back for both of us!
The first Camino I did was very special to me! My first Camino family and my first time. But this one will for sure hold a very special place in my heart! I once again met so many amazing people and some I still stay in contact with today!
If you have any questions about the Camino, please ask anything and I will try and answer for you.
The Camino is a journey into yourself but it does not end in Santiago or even Finisteree or Muxia… It continues on with you when you go back home.