Date: 31st May 2017
Departure time: 06:30
Arrival Time: 13:30
Distance: 20 kms
Cumulative Distance: 786 kms
Percentage Completed: 100%
Accommodation: Hotel Gastronomico San Miguel
Weather: Cloudy at first, then sunny 20 degrees
Debra – Easy walk, excited to be finishing
Mark – Nice stroll for the last day
It was a bittersweet day, happy to have completed the 800 kilometres but sad that our journey was coming to an end. Keen followers of this blog will have noted that for most days of the Camino the five of us did not walk together. This was largely due to us having different walking paces and having different interests along the way. Today, however, was an exception as we all started the day together and walked into Santiago together. This was just like how we did the first day of the Camino way back in April.
Walking into Santiago was not as emotive as we thought it was going to be and we all felt a sense of anticlimax. The first thing we did in Santiago was to join the 1.5 hour queue to get our compostelas. Mark, who hates queuing at the best of times grumbled for the whole hour and a half but was then secretly pleased to have put the finishing touches on the Camino. After walking 20 kilometres then queuing with your back pack for an hour and a half was not exactly fun. (First world problem!)
Lessons we learned from the Camino are as follows:-
1. Never trust a Spanish mileage sign
2. The quality of food gets worse the further west you go
3.The price of food and wine increases the further west you go
4.The further you get into the Camino the greater the desire to steal toilet paper from the rest rooms (a lot of toilets had none)
5.The further you walk the more rational is the statement “thank god we only have 20 kilometres to walk today”
6.It is the only place in the world where talking excessively about the state of your feet seems normal to others
7. Flashing green signs representing pharmacies mean only one thing – ” we can buy compeed”
8. Gin and tonics never tasted so good
9. It is not unusual to have 3 breakfasts in a day
10. Spain and its people are just wonderful
11. Northern Spain is an extremely safe place to travel
12. While the Camino is full of really interesting and kind pilgrims, some days you couldn’t be bothered saying Buen Camino
13. The Camino develops its own peculiar language and preferences. For example the question “What does Brierely say?” (referring to the author of the most popular guidebook) must come out of every pilgrims mouth at least 20 times per day.
14. The only dog anyone owns in rural Spain is a German Shepherd and they were all too lazy to bark
15. Don’t bother taking time to smell the roses as 95% don’t have any smell at all
16. 95% of the paths in North Western Spain are covered in cow manure – 100% of which does smell
17. The first 100 quaint churches are really quaint, the second 100 quaint churches are really boring
18. The simplicity of living out of a back pack really grows on you
19. While it is trite to say it, it really does highlight the fact that one can survive with having very few possessions.
20. A good way to make wonderful friends for life is to walk 800 kilometres with them.