Proud

Camino Day 33, Lunes 12th Octubre. 782 klms. Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Galicia, España.

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As I first draft this sitting in a café just a few hundred metres from Santiago de Compostela’s famous cathedral, where we have just attended the traditional “pilgrims’ mass”, I am having difficulty isolating and describing exactly how I feel. A little surprisingly, my eyes are full of tears. My legs feel strong, and at the same time have a deep weariness. Words like happy, satisfied, content just don’t cut it for the moment. Proud is closer. A better description may come later.

Officially 782 kilometres. Much more than that if the detours, explorations and the occasional loss of the oh so important flechas amarillas are added in. 8 klms by hoss. 6 by taxi when we were staying slightly off path at the lovely Santa Marina del Rey. All the rest by foot, step after step after step. And all of that with both of us carrying a complete backpack out of which we lived for 5 weeks. Did we make our 1,000,000 steps? I’d like to think so, and we’ll never know, and that detail doesn’t actually matter anyway. I’m updating this the next day, and the enormity of the achievement still hasn’t really sunk in.

A quick summary of how we got to this amazing end … we awoke very early this morning, left O Pedrouzo a shade after 6:30am, and walked the 4 1/2 hours into Santiago, the first half in almost total darkness.

Apart from a quick breakfast at Casa de Amancio at Villamaior it was a bit of a power march to get to Santiago in sufficient time for the midday pilgrims’ mass. We made it by about 11:30, but which stage the church was full. J propped up a pillar near the front, and I found another pillar with a stone base which became my seat. The service was mostly in Spanish, which was not a particular distraction. There were 8 priests and the singing was led by a middle-aged nun with the most beautiful voice. All the singing was in Spanish, which didn’t matter because the music was awesome. I think I could see the organist sitting high above the crowd, and whether or not the sound came from the lovely organ above the main part of the cathedral, or whether or emanated from elsewhere doesn’t matter – the total sound, but particularly the singing nun, was beautiful.

The highlight was the swinging of botafumeiro – the cathedral was full as I have said, and everyone seemed to respect the “no photos” rule during the service, but all bets were off once the eight red-robed tiraboleiros arrived and started their work.

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The botafumeiro is only swung on special occasions – we were very lucky to have experienced this.

I will try to embed into this post the video I took, and if that doesn’t work then the FB post will need to suffice.

The rest of the day then really turned into various stages of unwind and attempt to process what we had just achieved. We checked into our hotel – three nights in the same place, bliss!! – collected from a nearby hostal the two bags we had despatched from St Jean Pied de Port all those weeks ago – found a nearby place for a delightful paella lunch – started the unpacking and organising process – caught up with Tania for a drink and then Melie and some of the assorted crew for dinner – chanced upon a very talented musical group (Tuna de Gallega) – and then “home” to the hotel for the sleepest sleep for a long time.

Lastly, a few photos from the day …

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Entering Santiago de Compostela, with the cathedral steeple in the distance.

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En la Catedral

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From our hotel room.

A huge day. A huge 5 weeks. An incredible achievement. Happy that we were “successful”. Sad that it’s over. It’s not really over – just that this stage has ended. My guess is that it will never be over – that it will be with us forever.

4 thoughts on “Proud

    1. Hi Mike, certainly, I’d be honoured. When I get my photos properly organised (not just the ones off the phone) I’ll send you a link – there may be others of interest to you.

      Regards, Peter

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  1. Deb

    Have been following your travels with great interest. I just want to congratulate you on your fantastic journey. A friend has been sending your post to me ( Jim Barrett) . I marvel at your achievement. I am too hoping to do the walk sometimes but will probable not do it all but after your postings am thinking that all would be great, will have to see.
    It is great to achieve such a wonderful goal. I have been to Santiago de Compostela and the cathedral there as well and was very moved even though I had not done the walk so can imagine your feelings. My thought then were to come back and do the walk.
    Thank you for your wonderful posts!
    Again congratulations!

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  2. susanawee

    Absolutely moving and special post this one Peter….every word is loaded with the emotion of your last few kilometres and with your arrival in Santiago de Compostela…these past days and weeks will most definitely stay with you for a lifetime…..you will find over the coming weeks, months and years, all sorts of memories popping into your mind, especially when you least expect them. Time now to relax, unwind a bit and begin to process all that has been during the past weeks……Camino Hugs and Ultreya ….Susan (Admin)..Aust.Pilgrims on the Camino…

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