(I apologise for the delay in posting – at first I was busy catching up with old and new friends and then I was busy planning my next adventure!)
So this morning was actually quite cold again but we warmed up quickly. Short cut Sally and I ate breakfast in our albergue – you know the deal, bread, coffee, tea and jam. The albergue room was really a converted three bedroom apartment around the corner from the main albergue. Whilst using the kitchen we discovered that clearly there is a movement amongst pilgrims to use water jugs for heating substances other than water!
I headed out into the dark first to take a few street shots. Today was to be the first time in walking the Camino that I would walk into Santiago without a crippling injury!
I also made sure I had a photo of the famous German foot cream made from reindeer hooves or something.
Then we walked beside the highway again for a short way before turning off onto a country road and up a hill where we were able to look back and see the sun rise over Sigüeiro.
There seemed to be a lot more people on the trail this morning but maybe that’s just because everyone was leaving straight after breakfast and eager to get to Santiago.
We managed a couple of photos because there were people around to ask to help!
We saw the Spanish Son and asked where was his father “Ive keeled him!” He said with a sly smirk on his face. Then his father came bounding up the hill with a smile. Thank heavens he didnt keel him! It’s impressive to see the age of some people on the camino.
Not this guy above – he’s the leader of the German Wine connoisseurs! Drinking beer for breakfast!
Wasn’t long before the rest of the German Wine connoisseurs caught up – they were all beer tasting this morning it seemed. I decided to continue on by myself as I wanted to locate a cafe with cafe con leche and a bathroom! Once I stopped at the cafe the Germans, the Spaniards and and an Italian or two dropped in. And the Germans bought another beer for second breakfast!
At the same cafe I saw a German lady whom I had bumped into once or twice with her friends. She was waiting for the two French Canadian ladies that I had met the day before. She had been waiting for them for over an hour and was worried something had happened. Being very aware of those last minute problems I was a bit worried too. Hopefully they were just lost or having a cup of tea and hadn’t had an accident or something!
Anyway I continued on my way knowing that my good friend from Camino number one (the Super hiker who could walk 50kms in one day) was going to meet me in the Square with her gorgeous baby! In addition Hans Solo who had dropped into Najera with the Irish Spaniard was also finishing the Frances on the same day so it was likely to be a very nice way to end the camino celebrating with friends from all around the globe again. Oh that’s right not again – last time I fell and ended up in an ambulance and my wonderful friends the Young Ones collected my baggage and accompanied us to our hotel and I had a lemonade or two! This time I was watching every step. In fact every day every where I was watching every step!
I stopped a number of times along the way to countdown the kilometres to my friends always being as careful as possible to not stumble in any way. You’d be surprised how many people recover from a potentially dangerous stumble in front of me. Shortcut sally had almost fallen earlier when looking at her phone.
Before I knew it I was on the outskirts of Santiago and I had no idea where everyone else was but I was too excited to stop and wait. I did have a bit of manoeuvring around some road works and quite frankly had a lot of difficulty locating the arrows and staying on camino this way.
Just after I thought I’d sighted the cathedral spires I heard some rather loud bangs nearby and spotted a number of workers dressed in safety gear lined up outside a building. They were the ones making the noise and they continued firing flares or something as they marched towards the council chambers. God knows what they were protesting about but it definitely seemed like they were protesting. Kind of put a bit of damper on my wander in this way.
I guess on a positive note I didnt pass over the freeway and walk over the site of my accident last year. The route in for the Ingles was completely different until you reached the old city. Just as I was entering the old city the Singing Galicians plus one yelled out to tell me I was going the wrong way. But I’d spotted an arrow and I knew it was an official one so I dragged them over the other side of the roundabout. Off they went again singing up the street and before I knew it they were gone!
I couldn’t see another pilgrim. On the one hand I was very emotional as I was about to arrive at the cathedral without any serious injury for the first time since I’d started walking caminos over 1800kms ago! On the other hand I was deeply concerned that I was going to spend the afternoon wandering aimlessly around the backstreets of Santiago never finding my way out of the maze and into the square in front of the cathedral! Perhaps I was destined to live in a never ending camino! Trapped in a time warp on the outskirts of Santiago. Or perhaps I was just going mad!
My beloved called to see how I was going and was shocked to hear how close I was to the cathedral! He thought I still had another day to go! This day in front day behind business gets a bit confusing sometimes.
Anyway I could hear in the distance the faint melodic pull of the bagpipes and I finally found myself walking down the path and through the archway into the main square. All the while I was being serenaded by the bagpipe man. The church bells rang just as I was entering the archway and, dare I say the crowds parted, the Disney train was nowhere to be seen and I took my final steps into the square tears in my eyes, a smile on my face and, a phone in my hand! I had to message my friends and let them know! I had made it in one piece. One damned healthy whole piece!
Not an injury to be found on me! Well apart from one black toenail and a baby blister! (Well maybe a sore knee and hip but let’s ignore those for now).
My friend had messaged to ask how i was. “I’m in peak condition” came the unusual reply. Not a rupture, not a stress fracture, not a head injury in sight! I could finally go dancing in Santiago! But where was my beloved? Was he here participating in this once in a lifetime event? Was he ready to tango the night away with me and help celebrate this event? My German Guidebook Guru arrived just in time to capture the moment of my arrival!
The next thing I knew I was greeted by the most beautiful baby in Spain (and her beautiful mother of course)! This was to be her first camino! She escorted me to the end of the camino at the pilgrims office!
Hans solo and the Irish Spaniard arrived and my pack was whisked away as I was sent downstairs to the pilgrims office to grab a ticket in their new system. Now I could sit back and relax and drink cheers whilst waiting for my number to come up. Last year I sat for two hours in a chair with an ice pack while my beloved stood in the queue!
I finally received my compostela and in between bidding farewell to new friends we headed out to enjoy an evening of fine spanish food and a wine or two before finishing the night finally catching up with the German Wine Connoisseurs and the owner of blister of the year!
Buen Camino a todos! I’m off to see if I can do it again! Xxx
(Dont worry its not my blister!)