Update from Santiago de Compostela – 6 June 2014

I'm writing this as I prepare to fly home to the UK tomorrow. Apologies to those of you who relied on the blog alone for news of my progress. I found the blogging process on the Camino more of a challenge than I anticipated.

 

I finally arrived in Santiago on Sunday 1 June 2014 at about 14.30, after walking for 38 days (including 2 rest days), having officially covered 775 km.

 

I stood there on the square in front of the cathedral for about 30 minutes, struggling to keep my emotions in check. Other friends arrived shortly afterwards and the rest of the day was taken up by standing in a queue to get my Compostella and other certificates, celebrating, finding my accommodation, and finally, resting.

 

Even now, nearly a week later my emotions are pretty raw. I did not expect the Camino to have such an effect on me. I only have to go back outside the hotel to see other pilgrims arriving in the square, or hear a choir singing in the cathedral for all the feelings to come flooding back.

 

I hope to be able to add to this blog once I get home, but it may take time. There are a few practical tips which may be helpful to some, and of course, some more pictures to upload. Even here in the hotel the wifi is quite weak, and many people are sharing it.

 

My first Camino is over and I am very very happy to have completed the distance. During the last week my left knee started causing problems, and after a week of rest it hasn't improved much. On the last day I sent my backpack forward and only walked with a tiny day pack. I know now I should have done this sooner, but pride is a strange thing.

 

Eating pulpo (octopus) in Melide.

 

50 km to go, with left knee heavily strapped up, dosed up with pain killers, and in much pain.
One of my favourite Camino photos.
Walking in spring meant beautiful flowers and scents.
Typical of the last day. The Camino got pretty crowded as many more people started walking in Sarria.
Natural forest made way for eucalyptus.
Entering Santiago. Still more than 10 km to go.
Getting closer.
Spotting the cathedral for the first time.
I lay on my back for a while to take it all in.
I've made it!
In the queue. It took 2 hours to get to the front and get the Compostela.
Celebrating with friends afterwards. We all finished within a few hours of each other.
I attended Mass the next day and watched the botafumeiro swing.
To be continued.