Now that I’ve had a night’s rest and have a little downtime I can finally do a full post about the last day of walking. It was actually supposed to be the second to last day of walking. I planned this Camino as an 11 day walk because I felt like 10 days last year was pushing it. Well, so much for taking it easy this time! 😂
Sergio, Lena and I started walking under the stars again. Stefano kept his original plans of staying Padrón and in the outskirts of Santiago for the last two nights, so we had said a temporary goodbye to him when we stayed in Valga. The day was supposed to be only 20 kilometers and we had found a nice albergue to try to stay in at Teo. As we got to one of our breaks, we threw around the idea of going all the way to Santiago. It would be crazy. But we said we’d think on it and decide at our stop in Teo.
As we walked we considered the possibilities around walking 35km to Santiago. This would be the longest day I’ve walked on any Camino if we did it. But I felt good. Even though Lena had been having lots of pain in her legs, her gut told her we should do it. Sergio, went with the usual “I’ll walk 5km and see how I feel.” We just kept laughing about the crazy thought and we kept walking.
We made a stop in Padrón to see the famous stone in the church of Santiago there. The stone is known for being the one that the boat carrying St. James’ body was moored up to.
We walked on and kept toying with the idea of a 35km day. Today’s walk went through small village streets that look almost identical to those we’ve been walking through all along. Each of these villages has the token old lady or old man and at least one cat. Many of the houses feature dog warning signs, even if the “mean” dog in question is too old to get up. These villages and the scenery are what I love about walking the Camino. Seeing the world by foot is the best way to go in my opinion.
At our second stop we were getting more and more serious about arriving in Santiago a day early. So we started thinking about the logistics of changing hotels, etc. Still, we waited until Teo to make our final decision. After we past that point we would only have 15km left to walk. When the numbers start getting that small, it can be hard to want to stop.
Of course we made the crazy decision and kept walking. That’s when it started to get hot and we had lots of big hills to climb. Probably each of us considered stopping short at one point, but we kept going. Finally at our last major stop we all changed our reservations. It was happening.
While the last 2km were probably the hardest, we were excited to finally make it the cathedral. I kind of figured that with the more Camino walks I do, the less emotional it would be to arrive in Santiago. But it’s not. It’s hard to hold back some tears and feel so much pride in what you’ve just accomplished. The friendships, the laughs, the challenges and the pain all come together to create an amazing experience.
Today I’m just taking everything in and getting together with my Camino family and other pilgrims I’ve met along the way. Santiago is such a special place and it feels great to be back here, even if my legs hurt!