Final Push Into Santiago

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October 3rd 2019
Published: October 5th 2019
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Today is it! We are making our final hike of this Camino into Santiago de Compostela. Because it’s a long hike with a daunting hill, we get up early and have a cup of cafe con leche at the cafe next door, where Dom Pepe, the proprietor, calls out “Bom Camino” and “guapo” (good looking) to every passing hiker. His unfailing good humor is a lift at 6:30 AM. Dom Pepe insists on giving us a square of homemade apple breakfast cake (Wife made. Mother’s recipe) and it is yummy.

By 7:30 we’re on the road and are well into the hike before it’s light out. The entire morning is a gradual uphill, enough to break into a sweat. As has become our habit, Katherine pulls out in front of me on the hills, while I’m slower going up. By noon we’ve crested the peak of our hike and conquered the hill we were so worried about. By about 1 PM we have the first sighting of the spires of the Santiago Cathedral and by 3 PM we’ve arrived in the central square in front of the Cathedral. With the hordes of Peregrinos arriving from all directions and Camino routes, we shed a few tears of joy and reconnect with people who’ve been in our cohort of hikers. Lots of hugs and celebration.

From there we go to the “Pilgrim’s Office” where you show your “Credential,” with all the stamps you’ve received along the way and in turn receive a “Compostela” - a formal document memorializing your Camino pilgrimage. Same process that’s been followed since the Middle Ages. Only now they give you a ticket telling you what number you are in line and a QR code your phone can read to tell you what number is currently up.

By the time we get there, they’ve already given out 1,000 numbers for the day, so the office is closed to new numbers. Got to come back to the office at 8 AM tomorrow - which really means get here before it opens to get in line, because all those hundreds of other people coming up to the door now will be in line tomorrow.

Data: 15.5 miles, 25 floors

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