Yesterday we made it to Santiago and were given these awesome bits of paper that prove we are pilgrims! Pilgrim!! Ok we already knew by the dust, sweat and blisters we had that status but something ‘official’ made it much more real somehow!
Our day began around 830am yesterday after alone, last morning – we had the hostel room all to our selves and that is such a novelty we couldn’t resist enjoying it. Most of the the pilgrims left before 6am to get to Santiago for the noon Mass in English, but walking 2 hours in the pitch back is not my idea of a good time. We also needed a bit of time on wifi so before we left we chilled in the hostel living room sipping instant coffee (well sugar, fake cream and only some coffee from the taste of it) for a vending machine. We would need a real coffee room to replace this taste from memory.
On our way we were pleasantly surprised that it had poured rain most of the night – everything was fresh and the chances it was going to rain on us decreased. We expected a lot of pilgrims this final day but there was a lot fewer than most days. It’s funny how we hate too many pilgrims on ‘our path’ but also want just enough to confirm we are going the right direction.
Our way out of town was delayed by a brief photo shoot with our pilgrimages’s spirit animal – the snail.
Before stopping for our first coffee (real coffee made by humans not machine), we had some great path to cover.
Just before 10am and at about 3.4km we were ready for our coffee and a little warm up – while not as cold as the day before, the air had a bit of a bite and the clouds were keeping us pretty mindful that it could rain or mist, at least, any time. We had our shells and pack covers at the ready.
Leaving Cafe Amenal, we continued forward with some caffeine in our shuffle and started to feel like we were getting close now. The path started to provide lots of little photo opportunities for pilgrims and people were asking other people and groups to snap their pics, which wasn’t the case on the trail till today. Some people say the Camino should not include technology, but I say let’s all remember it’s ‘the Way, your Way’. And as a scrapbooker there is no way I could leave my camera (aka phone) at home!
We stopped again around lunch (at about 9.5km into our 22km day) for a glass of wine and to eat the amazing sandwiches we had prepared the night prior. We had found a salad (quite literally) of the local Arzua cheese which is amazing creamy goodness – so added some meat and baguette for an awesome lunch!
Our timing was impeccable – while we were inside at Casa de Amancio it poured rain hard, like I mean buckets of rain, for about 20mins and then didn’t rain again for the rest of the day. Not sure how but my wine and sandwich tasted even better watching the rain cascade off the glass roof that I was under!
We continued on our way that afternoon, again seeing many more pilgrim associated monuments and structures than noticed in prior days.
Coming into Santiago on sore feet and walking through a regular, old city with the cathedral almost completely hidden by scaffolding and sheets was a bit anticlimactic. We knew this would be what to expect but you secretly wish for maybe a parade or a banner or a marching band least?
We snapped a few pics and then went and got on the 2hours + line up to get our pilgrim’s certificate. It was cold and our feet were sore and wow that line barely moved and no one got the ‘personal space is important’ memo but we happy to be there.
Finally with our pilgrim certificate in hand, and a need to get off here barking dogs we paused for a quick photo shoot and heading to our albergue for the night.
While relaxing in our room we enjoyed an awesome view of the cathedral from our window and some refreshments and snacks. It feels so good to arrive at your next home for the night – so we never rush the getting our bags sorted and beds set up process.
At around 730 we headed out to see the old city that surrounds the famous Santiago cathedral – what a beautiful place. To give our feet a break we decided to take a total tourist trap train around the city. Some good info and we were totally laughing at ourselves the whole time.
After our Chu-Chu ride about the city, it was after 9pm and we were starving for supper – oddly this is the time everyone eats supper in Spain so the restaurants were fun and busy. We found a great place without too long of a wait and enjoyed an amazing pilgrim’s meal!
So full and so tired, we heading back to our albergue, The Last Stamp, for a good night’s sleep.
Well the good night’ sleep didn’t exactly pan out, but we are up and at em again this morning anyway – this gal is drinking two coffees before we even hit the road! So tired but still so happy to be here.
Today we start our next Camino – 5 days to Fisterre and Muxia (the Spanish coast)!