50 • Santiago, The Journey's End

It rained all night, I woke early, breakfast at 07:30. The rain was still falling but there was enough light not to have to use my flashlight. Stepped out “ponchoed”, light rain falling and cold. It was 12 km to Santiago however they seem to have changed the route for it took me easily three hours hard walking to reach the city. The walk had an ethereal and mystical feel to it, apart from the usual ups and downs, some quite extreme, a mist hung over the countryside and the rain lessened to an, on and off, drizzle. The path led through little villages, suburbs of Santiago, farmlands and the last of the forests with their rain-induced fragrance.  The chapel of Santa Lucia as well as a section of the ancient road and places for washing in preparation for arriving at Santiago were familiar from last time.

The king of Spain is in Santiago today and there is high security, I was not allowed into the plaza with my backpack. So I went to the place where I am staying, left my backpack returned to the plaza to find someone who would take my photograph of arrival.

After coffee I joined the line to enter the Cathedral for the Pilgrims midday Mass, high security there too. I settled down towards the front of the Cathedral which was already filling when, in front of me, I recognized two people from California. I knew both of them were walking the Camino but was not sure on the day they were arriving, as they were walking the Camino Frances. I went up and touch them on the shoulder and there followed a great reunion.

Sharing each day with you has been an important dimension of the Camino for me, it added to the experience and gave life to these 48 days, so thank you for your support and accompaniment. Thanks also to Patrick and Laura for their diligent uploading. After siesta, when the crowds have dispersed I’ll go and hug Santiago and visit the crypt, remembering you especially.

My sister, sent this quote a few days ago, fitting advice for us all as we continue our respective Caminos.