Wednesday night the Casa Rural served dinner at 8:00 and guests, pilgrims all, could barely stay awake, even though we knew that tomorrow was Santiago.
I sat with Jonathan and Colin, two brothers in their 60’s. They were from South Africa; Colin has lived in England for decades, and they walked the Camino to reconnect. There were other folks at the table I’d met the night before, a jolly bunch, younger women from Ireland.
Everyone revived when the food arrived. There was lots of vino tinto in jugs , but at this point in the journey, I’m now ordering the local, better wine by the glass. Colin is a wine importer and I enjoyed talking Spanish wine with him.
The conversation was still flowing at 10:00 when it hit me that tomorrow I’m really arriving in Santiago. I said goodbye, and went back to my room to do the pre-pack. Outside, it continued to rain and rain.
At 2:00 I was fully awake. I’d cranked up the radiators to dry my clothes and boots, and the room was stifling. Still raining. I got up and wrote on the blog, trying to unload the torrent of thoughts that was running through my mind.
In the morning I took my time, thinking the rain would follow the pattern of the last week and slow at 9:30. No dice. I watched everyone from the night before launch themselves into the rain.
So I took off with the fully-loaded pack. I did a better packing job, and it didn’t feel so heavy. I used one of the Hefty tall kitchen garbage bags that Jean gave me as an extra weather protection between the pack and the rain fly.
I walked an hour and stopped at the RV park (!) bar. Inside was a funny scene: about 6 Female German pilgrims seeking shelter sitting at tables, and 3 Spanish male taxi drivers hoping for business. They we’re bring complimentary and charming. But all of the pilgrims were determined to walk the last few kilometers into town, and they were a sorry group.
I needed two more stamps for the last day, so got one there and took off again. Pouring.
Water everywhere, burbling in streams along the road, streaming down the asphalt, moving, glowing in abundance. I may have received a new theology of baptism walking in the deluge.
Got to Monte de Goxo, or Mount of Joy, where pilgrims see their first glimpse of the cathedral. No glimpse today.
I was getting worried about my iPhone in my pocket. I’d bought a water-resistant Otter Box, but skipped the military grade one. My pocket was getting soaked. Not many photos of my trip into town.
I crossed over a 10 lane Autovia, and train tracks. Said a prayer for those killed in the terrible train crash.
It takes a long time to enter a city in foot. Finally I got to the medieval, human-sized streets. I kept following the shells in the pavement. There weren’t many other pilgrims.
Then all of a sudden I heard bagpipes, and saw the side of the Cathedral. The Camino goes through a charming tunnel, where street musicians play, and spits you out on the grand plaza in front of the Cathedral. I was there!
Hard to take a photo in the rain, but one of the German women I’d met earlier took my drenched iPhone a snapped a few.
I wandered my way over to the Pilgrim office and presented my credential, and received my Compostella. I felt dazed and all keyed up. I checked into the place I’d reserved, but it didn’t feel right. Too stark and one fluorescent tube light and hard surfaces.
It was only when I checked into the nice hotel the next day and went to the pilgrim Mass at 12:00 that I felt like I’d arrived.