Day 32, 26th October 2014: A Rua to Santiago De Compostela, 21 kms


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October 25th 2014
Published: October 27th 2014
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Today is our last day of walking and I layed in bed, before anyone was awake, and pondered one of life's big mysteries; how does an Australian iPhone know what time it is, and even deeper, when to change for Spanish daylight saving to start? That's about how complex my thought processes have evolved to since starting to walk 33 days ago. I usually don't know what the date is or what day of the week it is. Really! This blog has helped me keep track of time. When your daily routine is reduced to eating, sleeping and walking you really lose track of other aspects of life. I think that's why some of the people you meet and then bump into for the next month become an important part of your life. You all have the same issues, usually pain related or where the next feed or sleep will be, and people genuinely care about your welfare. Now, this is the same with friends and family back home but it takes longer to form. Back to my iPhone though, it is a very smart phone, even though my phone card has played up so it is really just an alarm clock at the moment.

Back to the day! We had a great buffet breakfast at O Pino with a group of people on 'self guided' tours. This is where a tour company organises everything for you, books you into nice hotels, transports your huge amount of luggage, and gives you directions on where to go. They usually operate for the last 100kms and it certainly is a civilised way to go. You don't wash clothes, carry a small bag and camera and have a decent outfit to wear when going for dinner, rather than using the sniff test to choose what to wear. I like the uncertainty of seeing what happens next but that does have a downside as we have discovered.

Stepping out onto the path for the last time had an odd feeling for me; I certainly miss my family and friends and have some lifestyle changes to make when I get home, but there's also aspects of the ordinary life I don't miss and regret returning too. Sue, walking with severe pain in her shin, will be glad when today is over and she can have a walk- free day and for Tim it will
O Pino on a Sunday.O Pino on a Sunday.O Pino on a Sunday.

Nothing much happens.
be the end of a good experience.

Walking was hard today as, even though it was only 22 kms, as it was on hard surfaces, quite steep in sections, and the anticipation of the end seemed to make it drag out. As I mentioned, Sue's leg was causing her great pain but she had to make it to receive her Compostela, the certificate you get if you complete the last 100kms on foot or by bike. Sue would not lie and would go without if she had not walked it.

The peak of today is Monte Gozo, the point at which you first see Santiago. It was a great relief to arrive there but like so many of these destinations, you see them hours before you reach your goal. We trudged through suburban Santiago on hot footpaths for ages and finally entered the old town.

Now, we've all seen pictures of tired but elated pilgrims arrive in the square in front of the Cathedral and this was to be our destiny. A triumphant march through the arched tunnel, striding into the square, victorious like returning centurions or something a bit like that. Wrong ! We walked into an empty square inhabited only by a dozen or more municipal cleaners blower vacuuming a huge amount of rubbish into piles. Welcome to Santiago! Apparently there had just been a large cycling event just finish here and the town had also hosted a music festival. Still, we did better than Doug and Libby who arrived earlier and couldn't even get to the square. I suppose we have to realise that the towns activities go on regardless and our schedule and delusional expectations are pretty low on their list of priorities.

We went and picked up our Compostelas after answering the relevant questions, and set off for our accommodation, The Nest Style Hotel, a nice hotel about one block from the old town. Good choice again Steve!

After a bath and a break, Tim and I set off to explore a little of this amazing old city and find somewhere for dinner. Sue's leg had to rest so dinner was to be nearby. We strolled around, bought some freshly roasted chestnuts, and went and picked up our second certificate celebrating 800 years since St Francis of Assisi came to Santiago .

The Camino is very commercialised in Santiago and a whole industry of cheap souvenir shops, eateries has evolved, and you can hardly turn a corner without a beggar approaching you. As a person who believes we should support charities as much as we can, it's a little difficult to deny these people but it becomes clear that it is almost another industry here and unless someone is clearly a genuine case, it's best to keep walking.

Tomorrow is the Pilgrim Mass at the Cathedral and two American women kindly paid the church a sum of money in order to use the Botafumeiro, a scented vessel containing smoking incense that is swung in the church, originally to fumigate pilgrims and disguise their odour. These days it is ceremonial and we were privileged to witness it. Ken, the Scotsman we have travelled with, has been in the cathedral 7 times and this is the first time he has seen it. A good sleepin tonight and I look forward to tomorrow . Buen Camino.


Additional photos below
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At a cafe earlier in the day.At a cafe earlier in the day.
At a cafe earlier in the day.

We caught up with the Korean crew, seated next to us. They were going strong.
Sue checking out a painful lower leg. Sue checking out a painful lower leg.
Sue checking out a painful lower leg.

Nothing was going to stop her making it to Santiago.
Sue at Monte GozoSue at Monte Gozo
Sue at Monte Gozo

The Mount of Joy is the first sight you get of Santiago before descending into the town.
My passport showing some of the stamps gained along the Way.My passport showing some of the stamps gained along the Way.
My passport showing some of the stamps gained along the Way.

They come from churches, accommodation and bars.


27th October 2014
First sign on the edge of town.

Congratulations!
How fantastic that all of you made it and were able to earn your Compostela. I must admit that when I read your first blog, saying that you were taking first aid for blisters, but didn't think you'd need it, I both hoped you were right to be so optimistic, and knew it wouldn't be so. Perhaps many of the important experiences of life require sacrifice and perseverance, and also knowing when to let go and take a bus--not bad lessons to come from your journey. Buen camino!
27th October 2014

Congratulations on having completed the Way!!!
It has been my pleasure to have followed you on this pilgrimage. Thanks for being so diligent in blogging each day...I know with inadequate internet this took some patience, and could have produced truncated reports, but you provided much detail that I could experience this with you. As for sore legs, I could empathize with Sue. In 2012 I traveled the Silk Road across China and Uzbekistan and then the Baltics with a healing ankle that I broke six weeks before the trip began. I'm a bit concerned that it may act up when I walk the Camino as I still have pins on both sides. My plan is to walk on average about 18 km per day to keep from irritating it. Now I'm looking forward to reading your blogs from Part II of your trip!
27th October 2014
My Compostella, in Latin.

Congratulations on completing the Camino!
Thoroughly enjoyed following you along the way, through your amazing blog! Pleased you were able to witness the Botafumeiro. Looking forward to seeing & hearing about the rest of your travels. Thoroughly enjoyed following you along the way, through your amazing blog! Pleased that you were able to witness the Botafumeiro. Looking forward to seeing & hearing about the rest of your travels.
28th October 2014
My Compostella, in Latin.

Congratulations...
Thanks for all your thoughts, it is a big achievement and very hard to describe because really you are just walking; it's what fills in the gaps that makes it interesting. Going to Finisterre today on a bus. This is the extra Camino that we have no time to do.
28th October 2014

well done
congrats you three well done sue we are proud of you enjoy the rest of your trip .dinny is fine, i know i don't spell that right.!!
28th October 2014

Congrats!
Congratulations to all of you! The time passed so quickly since you started walking- and now you're already finished. I really enjoyed reading this blog. It formed part of my daily routine- coffee, breakfast and reading about your trip:) Can't wait to see you in 2 days. I have great plans for you when you get here:) ¡Hasta la vista!
28th October 2014

Congratulations!
Congratulations on finishing the Camino, it must feel great after so many days on the road. I used to live in Santiago when I was at university and very seldom I saw the Plaza del Obradoiro empty (other than late at night) so you should consider yourselves lucky to be able to appreciate the cathedral in peace and quiet!
28th October 2014
My passport showing some of the stamps gained along the Way.

Congrats!
Congratulations on completing the Camino guys! What an achievement! I say it will feel even more of an achievement after a few days, when it all finally sinks in... Hoping to get at least a few of these stamps one day also... Thanks for sharing your experience! Looking forward to hearing about your experience from my home country, Poland... Buen camino!
29th October 2014

Well done!
Steve, Sue and Tim, I have been caught up with work and unable to follow you daily as I did earlier on your journey but I have read 8 days worth tonight. Steve your blog was honest and insightful and how I envy you visiting those fabulous villages and churches. Your photos are fabulous, I have enjoyed every sentence and I am so looking forward to your descriptions of future travels! Well done to you all, what an inspiration. I have never been a light traveller, I am sure you are now an expert. Mary H
29th October 2014

Light traveller...
Thanks a lot. Travelling lighter in future Mary but after writing this I am told new shirts, shoes and trousers are required. Never been a trend setter but Zara's will suit my budget. I may get something to suit my Spanish haircut, ha! Poland tomorrow so warmer clothes will be required from now on. Stay tuned and it should be easier to post from now on. Spanish internet is poor and you can type a whole post and lose it before saving. Very infuriating but what can you do. Cheers Steve
2nd November 2014

Wow, congratulations!
What an achievement. Goes to prove if you can dream it you can achieve it....always good to follow the dream. I can't imagine what it would be like that many days on the road.
9th November 2014

Awesome
Congratulations on finishing your trip. It's wonderful you made it. You have been great ambassadors for Bacchus Marsh, so well done all. Thanks for all the great writing and photos.

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