The last two days have been pretty epic. The cold I had right back in Oviedo always hung around as a snotty nose but on the evening in Melide I developed a productive cough which has hampered efforts a little into the last 50kms into Santiago but nevertheless… I arrived, pockets stuffed with tissues. I’m now neatly tucked away in a 3* Santiago hotel with my feet pumping hot but feeling very pleased with myself. I have worked out that if you add up all my kms since starting this five years ago, had I turned around and walked the other way from St Jean Pied de Port I would have walked to St Petersburg!
This was my fourth full Compostela bestowing camino although my seventh camino in total. I’ll go and get my certificate tomorrow but I’m unsure what they’ll issue with my starting in Oviedo. It doesn’t really matter!
The walk from Melide to A Salceda happened yesterday but feels like an eternity ago! It’s a 26km hike via Arzua in mostly pine forests and rolling Galician countryside. The highlight of the day was another Toblerone ice-cream and a Russian salad in the shape of lady bits!
I stayed in a triple room all to myself in A Salceda and managed to sprawl out thoroughly. A good nights sleep was had ready for the 27kms into Santiago the next morning.
The walk into Santiago, regardless how long, is always the easiest day. I almost skipped into the city and it was only arriving into my hotel that the feet started to ache.
However before that, at Monte de Gozo I was stopped by a woman in her late sixties who was doing the camino with Santiago Ways. They are a tour company who send your bags forward and arrange all your accommodation. However, she wasn’t comfortable following the arrows and was concerned she was lost and couldn’t find her hotel. She asked if she could follow me into the city. Of course she could. Me and the other hundreds of pilgrims all walking in that direction. In any case, this lady was very uncomfortable in her surroundings so I took her to her hotel, the opposite side of town to mine.
I was looking forward to running down the steps and enjoying my final triumphant entry into Santiago in front of the cathedral but god has other plans. This week I have been listening to sermons on happiness and the takeaway was to get your mind off yourself, praise and be grateful and primarily; help others – the root to true happiness. My final steps of my final camino brought this lesson alive as my entry into Santiago wasn’t about me at all. We do love our Santiago entry moments us pilgrims – where we pump our fists, cry, or roar, my entry was chatting to this older lady about her life! But, I’ve had enough self indulgent moments here in Santiago. I remember thinking last night – but who can I help?!
So that’s it, it’s really over.
#For everything there is a season. And a time to every purpose under heaven#
A time to walk and a time to stop walking!
6 pairs of trainers
4 hugs for the apostle
3 thousand kms walked
2 sets of trekking poles
1 filthy and ripped rucksack! Poor Beryl is going into retirement.
Countless blisters. Countless bug bites. And not a baby bathed! A time to remedy that. Seacrest out.
No more caminos for me unless accompanied by a little puddleduck and all their gear – and mummy too!