Day 26: Pedrouzo to Santiago de Compostella (Guelane only 5km to go …)

After a rather large dinner (plenty of lentil soup, fruit & cacau milk) I slept relatively well. The alarm was set for 5:30am so that I will reach Santiago in time for pilgrims mass.

The way to Santiago isn’t all that special though full with happy pilgrims looking forward to arriving! Most of the way I spent buy myself with and without music, looking back & ahead and doing what I am now very much used to … walking!

It’s done!


Santiago old town

about 6km before Santiago I started walking with Christoph. I had overtaken him twice today, but seemingly I take more breaks than him. He lives near Karlsruhe (hence was fluent in German), but was born in Salisia, Poland (not far from my grandma’s birthplace).

He had done the camino primitivo (shorter, but harder and less people/albergos) and was a complete camino enthusiast. this was his fourth’s trip and he bought another 10 (!) credential documents for trips next year and the year after as I would find out later.

the camino takes you right into Santiago old town and to the square in front of the cathedral. first, however, I made my way to the pilgrims office and collected my well earned compostella (free of charge) and a separate document for the 775km distance I covered (eur3 a piece).
Tomb of Santiago or
St. James


the arrival at the square in front of santiago cathedral was pretty underwhelming I have to say. i expected a bit more jubilant atmosphere than was the case. maybe i was too early?  in any case … it just proves the point that the camino is about the way to santiago and not the arrival (even though the unesco protected old town is pretty stunning). and the way was great. so many emotions, people, discussions and the never ending rhythm of your feet and pilgrim staff hitting the ground. unforgettable!

before mass I visited the tomb of St James and climbed the stairs to his figure (the traditional end of the pilgrimage) to rub his nose for a good wish. unfortunately I mixed that one up, as I am mean to hug him. so will try tomorrow again ;o)

mass at noon was nice with all the singing as well as meeting cyril again who was attending mass together with Juan (from Burgos, met him first in Hontanas). highlight is the traditional swinging of the famous botafumeiro of the Santiago cathedral. Later in the evening I would also meet team Belgium 2 again.

Guelane update: a true fighter. despite ongoing leg issues the dude has made it within 5km of Santiago at the time of writing. Will meet him in style tomorrow at the cathedral square! dont stop walking!

so where from here? i will rest in santiago for two nights, enjoy the city and attend several masses. I reckon many faces I met on the camino will show up over time. should be fun. on Thursday, after receiving guelane, the walk will continue towards the atlantic ocean and the city of finisterre (‘the worlds end’; c90km) and then on to Muxia (c30km). so not quite there yet after all. blogging will pause for a few days, but will be back!



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