I wonder what I will do tomorrow.
Lying in bed, listening to the rain gives you time to think. To think about today, about tomorrow and about what the last month has meant. But first things first – today. It is just over 20 kms to Santiago de Compostela, or at least the Cathedral where St James awaits. There is no decisions to be made gear-wise. Rain clothes will be the order of morning and if the forecast holds true maybe the sun will give a curtain call this afternoon.
A shower, some packing and I am out the door and in the middle of a stampede. Where the heck did all these Pilgrims come from?!? For the last 4 days from Sarria I have been expecting them but when they didn’t materialize I made the simple mistake of assuming it would be different during the winter season. Silly me. I watch silently from my doorway as they all head the wrong way. I may have to answer for that on a later date but for today I know the morning walk on the trail out of O Pedrouzo will be quieter with them all marching down the road. To ease my conscience I slip into a Panadaria for Cafe con leche and tostadas. I feel better now.
I’m determined to take today nice and easy. After the last week 20 kms will be a walk in the park and with today being my last on the Camino this year I intend to savour every second. The quiet is a treat and I marvel at the landscape. I know it’s repetitive but I just can’t get enough of this view.
It is a privilege to be here and I am grateful for it.
Coming up to the airport the clouds are hanging very low in the sky. My giant friends must be having trouble seeing from up there.
It is a well photographed spot but that won’t stop me from taking one too!
Around Capilla San Roque I find the herd. As slow as I thought I was walking, seems I was walking much faster than them. And much to my Zen dismay, I’ve managed to overtake one group but get caught up behind the next group. After a month of silence this is threatening to undo all my sanity gains! But my gains are safe. I round the next corner and find my salvation… Casa de Amancio. What a treat of a place. I duck in for a quick coffee and ice cream bar. The owner is pretty much convinced I must be unbalanced eating ice cream this time of the year but I just smile and toss out a casual, “Soy Canadiense”. “Ahhh…”, with a knowing nod of the Proprietor’s head, “He is unbalanced…“. To make sure the herd has plenty of time to get ahead of me I decide to make this my lunch spot. A plate of Pulpo, some rustic bread and cold glass of suds and the coast is clear. And the sun has started to peak out. Perfect.
It isn’t long until I reach Monte do Gozo. What a difference. Last time Mrs. Peregrina and I were here in May and you had to deal with 200 people milling about, determined to ruin every photo. Now I find myself alone and shooting to my heart’s content.
A quick walk through the trees and over the field…
And I am reunited with my two favourite guides. It is here with the help of my guides that I glimpse the Cathedral, just a few kilometres off in the distance.
Back across the field and through the Albergue facility at Monte do Gozo and I stand in front of a statue I can relate to much better this year. It has been the first time I’ve had trouble with my feet and I can now fully sympathize with others who have faced the same challlenges.
Leaving this spot means I’m only a few metres from entering Santiago de Compostela. Many thoughts come to mind as I enter the city so I slow down to process them knowing the end is near now. Through the new city and into the old city, it is odd to not see any other Pilgrims, just bus loads of tourists standing mouths agape at the unbalanced individual who would choose to walk here in the winter. Are you seeing a trend here!? Inside I am smiling but outside I am too tired to waste the energy moving the few muscles that initiate a smile. I can hear the bagpipes playing in the causeway and I know I have made it now. Down the stairs and into the plaza. I am here. I am done. I am happy.
A few words of thanks are appropriate.
To you the reader, thank you. Your kind words of encouragement always brought smiles to my face and helped get me out of bed on days that seemed better suited to a day off. I am guessing there must be some interest in this idea of a winter Camino since a surprising number of you (>5,700 to-date) have come to this blog to follow along. If I have encouraged a single one of you to try this then it has all been worthwhile to document this journey.
And to Mrs. Peregrina. My lovely wife, Sandra, who is my biggest supporter, the one who knew the right questions to ask and the right ones to not ask, the one who woke up extra early so we could talk before I went to sleep and the one I missed every day I was here. I couldn’t have done this without you. Time for me to come home.
Distance walked today: 20.7 kms
Total distance walked: 606.7 kms
And if you need one last reason to walk a winter Camino… this was the line at the Pilgrim’s Office.