From O Pedrouza to Santiago
Day 28, Friday 20 September 2013
Distance to Santiago: 20,1 km
On Friday 20 September we were 20 km from Santiago.
We had a good night’s sleep in Albergue Otero €10 each. We left at 7:00 for Santiago. It was still dark and we had to use the headlight. The first part of this last stage to Santiago was through an eucalyptus forest. In the dark, we could see the tall trees, smell the eucalyptus and felt the cool, freshness of the night. Strange enough it were only us and an older couple behind us, no crowds of pilgrims.
People doing the Camino by taxi. They slept in an Albergue to get their Pilgrim credential stamped, the next morning went by taxi 5 km or 10 km to the next village, got dropped off, got a stamp at the church or coffee bar, walked for an hour or so, got a taxi to the next village, and so on. This was the last 20 km of the Camino and we were amazed by observing them.
Monte do Gozo, Mount of Joy, was where medieval pilgrims got their first view of the spires of Santiago cathedral. The suburbs block the view today. A monument commemorating the visit of Pope John Paul II in the Holy Year of 1993 stands on top of the hill.
We reached Santiago just before 12:00, booked in at a three star hotel, and continue to the cathedral.
It felt unreal to finally after a walk of 800 + km reached the destination and goal. I felt gratitude for being able to complete the journey, especially in the company of my loving, considerate, supporting daughter, thank you Marinda, for your understanding, your support and encouragement. Love you!
We proceeded to follow the pilgrim ritual by standing in the queue to see the casket containing the relics of St James and hugged the statue of St James.
After this, we went to the Pilgrims Office where we were awarded a certificate of completion (Compostela) on the criteria that we had at least walked the last 100 km.
While queuing for our Compostelas we saw Victor again. We met him on the Camino. Apparently he was a full time pilgrim living on the Camino, surviving by supplicating.
Praza do Obradoira. This square showing the west facing of the Cathedral. Pilgrims gathered here to celebrate.
(To be continued)