O Pedrouzo to Santiago – 20 Kms, 27,570 steps
My final day started out damp and foggy and there were a lot of us out in the predawn darkness, walking using headlamps, cell phones, and flashlights. Conversations were hushed but there was definitely a sense of anticipation in the air, an an extra bounce in our steps. A few more hours and we’d be at the end of our long walks!
I was walking through areas and towns that I remembered now quite clearly from 2019. In Lavacolla, I stopped at a cafe and ordered a sandwich to go. I was given a bocadillo so large that I had to fold it in half to get it into my backpack! Mount Gozo, with its sprawling summer camp-like pilgrim housing (closed in October) is still impressive. Everyone was stamp-happy, filling up their Pilgrim Passports with stamps at every opportunity.
We finally had to break out the rain gear when it started to drizzle mid-morning but it didn’t last long and the temperature was mild. The Camino stellae guiding us counted down the kilometers as Santiago drew ever nearer. I was never walking on my own today, and I could often see 20-30 pilgrims ahead of me.
Officially, I walked 779 kilometers from Saint Jean to Santiago. My iPhone says that came to 1.22 million steps over 47 days! I lost about 15 pounds doing it but came through it without any serious injuries, which I credit to my training and preparation. It wasn’t as cosmic an experience as my first Camino; despite walking with some very nice people for extended periods, I felt much more alone this time. There were moments of “Camino magic” but nothing like those on my first Camino. These differences are down to me, I think, the result of changes in my expectations and outlook. The post-pandemic world is a different place, after all.
I met a surprising number of pilgrims along the way who were walking their second, third, even fourth Caminos. One likened it to going to their beach house each summer. This time I wanted to walk the complete route, Meseta included, taking no shortcuts and no taxis, and I did it, but this one will definitely be my last Camino.
My friend Marti from Paris joined me in Santiago and we enjoyed some fine Galician meals over the weekend. We went to mass in the cathedral, which has one of the most ornate altars I’ve ever seen:
Now we’re back in Paris where I’m enjoying being lazy. And so, my dear readers, I will bring this installment of my blog to an end. Thank you for following along, and for encouraging me. Cheers.