Thursday 11th October 2012
“Qui audet adipiscitur”
The final day of my journey, started once again very early indeed. I had put the alarm later than usual to 6.30am hoping to set off at around 7.30am. But as has been the norm I was up at 5.30 am and unable to get any more rest. I took this opportunity to meticulously start putting away my stuff and ensuring everything was packed in their rightful pockets. Also ensuring that a spare tshirt, socks and pants were readily at hand in case I had to change quickly along the way. (The weather had been forecasted to be wet and miserable)
If the torrential rain of the previous night was anything to go by it was certainly going to be more of a swim than a trek. With everything in place and body finally primed for the final “assault” as my good friend likes to refer to it! ( he’s into the Peninsula War et al) I set off from O Pino at 7.40am.
I had earlier been warned not to start too early because the path would soon lead into the woods very soon and it could be uneven with this weather and therefore problematic…, but little did he know that I had my trusty little head lamp that would light up my path easily!
It was drizzling when I set off and I hadn’t been more than 5minutes into the walk when it started to rain much stronger so I didn’t have much of an option, I had to take the d….n poncho out. Luckily a passing pilgrim seeing that i was grappling with it in they pouring rain (yet again) gave me a helping hand! (Note this is very typical of pilgrims, their genuine predisposition to assist and help out whenever they can).
As always my first hour went very well and although I was not going fast I was covering some good distance. In fact after an hour and twenty minutes I was 6 km into the walk. Even I was amazed, but I have found that walking in the woods, in the natural soft terrain one can certainly progress much faster!
This walk was comparitively more bland than the previous four days in terms of countryside and scenery. However one could sense that we were reaching “civilisation”. There were some very picturesque chalets and certainly more manicured lawns and hedges than seen the previous days.
There was, however, some roads and hills and with only 10 or 11 kms left These became really steep and very challenging but worse still was having to walk them down at the other side. Normally this would have been a doddle had it not been for my achy feet!
One particular interesting location and worthy of note as we approached the city is Monte do Gozo…..
“Monte do Gozo (Hill of Joy) is a hill in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain. It is known for being the place where Christian pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) get their first views of the three spires of their destination, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. At 370 metres (1,210 ft), it is the pilgrims’ last hill and last stop before reaching the cathedral, with about an hour’s walk still to go, and by tradition is where they cry out in rapture at finally seeing the end of their path. “. Wikipedia)
Reaching the outskirts of Santiago was a welcome relief and somehow I drew strength knowing that I was now reaching my final and very anticipated destination. Trudging (literally!) along the open streets and then through the more”ancient” winding alleyways finally brought me to the impressive Cathedral. A place of worship which during its lifetime has been built over three times and been visited by numerous saints, Popes and Royalty. Truly an amazing and historical monument.
It was at that precise moment when I entered, that a monumental downpour occurred which lasted well over twenty minutes. This gave me time to sit back and reflect over the events of the last week and what prompted the whole journey and one which I don’t regret having done. It was I admit an emotional moment.
By this stage I was also becoming a bit anxious because I wanted to get my “Compostela”, find my way back to the hotel, shower, tend to my feet and finally start making my own arrangements to go back home……