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Published: September 22nd 2022
Good to see that the cathedral maintenance has ended. It is beautiful,
I owed you a somewhat longer description of our last day to Santiago de Compostela.
A day, literally, with a number of highs and lows, but ending with the biggest high: biking into Cathedral square.
What satisfaction and happiness. In moments Like this, I have to contain myself to not start openly crying. Not just a tier, but really crying. The three of us embraced which felt great.
Lots of pilgrims on the square, most utterly tired but happy-faced. The effort paid off; we made it!
Back to our day: this was probably the heaviest day of our journey, with steep climbs from the moment we left the hotel.
Since the clock had advanced 1 hour the day before, at our regular hour of starting our rides, 8.00, it was still semi-dark with a temperature of 15C.
No way of starting with reduced visibility; so a late start.
Overall climbing for the day was a new record: almost 1,600m over a distance of some 80 km. On two occasions we had to climb from almost 50 m to 250 and 350 m, with gradients going up to 13%.
The compensation for the climbs was the long descents with speeds reaching over
With our travel instruments....
50 km/hour. Scary sometimes, especially when you start thinking about break defects.,.
I must say that I am deeply impressed with the quality of the bike that my two friends recommended me to buy. Really high quality. For the record: the bikes we used are CUBE Kathmandu hybrid pro 625. Jaap and Mark's bikes were bought in Holland and I got mine in California. I have not made any changes to the bike; the size, steering wheel, saddle, and everything else are as the bike comes, perfect for my body. I have had no physical inconvenience of any kind.
There was a moment 12 km before Santiago that we felt that our Camino would end there and then. Mark’s chain jumped (as had happened before), but got so entangled that it took us over 45 minutes to disentangle it, leaving us all with dirty hands.
Since Jaap for a number of days, had been suffering from a returning bursitis injury that limited his walking mobility but did not affect his cycling, and the fact that it was already late when we arrived, we postponed our cathedral visit and other activities to today (Thursday the 22nd).
We celebrated our arrival with a “tapas - wine” diner at a nearby tapas bar.
A note about our lodgings: short of true "albergues"(hostels), we have seen it all. From one star, to two, three, and no-star hotels to a very fancy monastery. Prices per room have ranged from €22 to €125 and one that was quite a bit higher.
For last night we rented an Airbnb in the old part of Santiago close to the cathedral. Very nice and it turned very close to the station where we had to deliver our bikes for shipment back to Holland. Very convenient.
Today, we started equally early. First point of business, breakfast followed by going to an office of the church to get our “Compostela”; a certificate stating that you complied with certain minimum requirements and have completed a “Camino” ( there are several).
Subsequently, we attended mass in the cathedral (full of pilgrims) and visited the tomb of Santiago the apostle.
After dropping off the bikes, we did some necessary shopping. I needed a bag to avoid that I had to bring my very dirty bike bags on the plane.
Writing this note, I am on a train from Santiago to Madrid to take my flight back home tomorrow.
It will be good to back to Margarita and sleep in my own bed again.
Thanks to all that followed my trip and that sent me messages.
I will be tidying my notes in the next week or so and adding additional photos. I will send out a note when this is done.
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