The final walk to Santiago de Compostela is always special. After being on the road for so many weeks, one can now literally count the steps to the city. But not everyone is happy to arrive… I set off late from Amenal and walked these 15km to Santiago quite slowly. After all…I had lots of time and was in no hurry to arrive 🙂
To be very honest arriving at your final destination after so many kilometers is definitely a special feeling. But it also means that the way came to an end and I could have walked on for another 2000km I guess. I love the lifestyle on the Camino very much.
The landscape just before Santiago isn’t that nice. I would have been fine with walking to Sarria and then continue from one village after Santiago or so.
On several places on the Camino people use to make crosses into the fences along the street. The most prominent one can be found on the way between Logroño and Nájera. But people did the same on the road just before Santiago.
So there we were, finally walking down the hill into Santiago around lunchtime. We overtook three German pilgrims and overheard their phonecalls announcing their arrival after walking through the 100km from Sarria in a row. Wow, I believe their feet and legs must have been burning like hell. Even after my 44km walk to Burgos my legs and feet had really hurt a lot.
And there I was! I had to take a photo at the streetsign. Not a nice scenery. But after all – I made it! About 180km by foot in 2010 and now another 500 and something in 2012. Wow. I can tell you that’s a really cool feeling. Especially when you picture having walked across all of northern Spain.
Of course there still are a few kilometers left from this street sign to the cathedral in the center of the city. I walked them taking many photos and taking a lunchbreak to eat pulpo 😉
And then I was really there on the square in front of the cathedral of Santiago. Really really there. With the thought “ok that was it now” and the feeling that after all my Camino wasn’t over. It always continues whether you are walking it or not.
I will definitely continue walking different Caminos. The Camino Francés is good to start because you have signs everywhere and possibilities to eat and sleep every few kilometers. Its not the same on for example the Caminos through Germany, Switzerland, France or on the Camino del Norte in Spain. I guess the next longer Camino for me will be the Via de la Plata from Sevilla to Santiago. All from Andalusia up to the north.
You may ask yourself why? Well…because walking a Camino is a special lifestyle and a very cool feeling. Moreover, on most of the Caminos you really are walking in solitude and that brings up interesting thoughts, feelings and perspectives. On top of this you’re walking through culturally interesting cities and changing landscapes.
But now lets end this Camino with the obligatory picture of Miya with her Compostela.
The Compostela was originally issued to pilgrims as a confirmation that they had really walked all the way on foot. This was due to the fact that some of the pilgrims had been obliged to walk the Camino by authorities to absolve their sins and as a measure of punishment. What had started in the middle ages was carried on as a custom up to today. Now masses of pilgrims are waiting to get their Compostela in Santiago every day. Therefore the pilgrims’ office is also the place to meet friends you had made before and never seen again on the way. I ran into quite a lot of aquaintancies here. Many a circle is closed here when pilgrims run into people they had met their first day and never seen again. As for me – I didn’t meet the people from my first day of course because I had taken the bus from Burgos to Carrion and thus was in Santiago about 3 days before them. But I met some of the pilgrims with whom I had spent the night at Pepe’s house after my return from Fisterra. Circle closed for me as well! 😉
Of course I walked into the cathedral here and made a few photos.
In the evening I decided to end the day singing in front of the cathedral. While I had actually planned to just play “Dancing in the Rain” I finally played for more than an hour because people started to sit and listen to the music.I played there into the night and it was fun! And I actually didn’t play with the intention to earn any money but in the end of this hour or more I was about 20 Euros, a glass of wine and some interesting discussions richer.
Well…of course it got quite late. I finally got back to the hostel rather late but it had been a great night with a great atmosphere and a nice temperature to sit outside. Definitely something to remember.
As I had a few days left I decided to walk on towards Fisterra the next day. So the blog doesn’t come to an end with my arrival to Santiago and you can read through a few more posts soon 🙂