What is this blog about?

My name is Lori. In August, 2014, I plan to hike the Camino de Santiago trail. Feel free to join me on my adventure by following me on this blog.

Friday, September 19, 2014

I have finished hiking my camino trail. I started my hike on August 10th, and on September 10th, I made it to Santiago. This is where the camino ends for many. It is where the cathedral is, that holds the remains of Saint James.

The last couple days of hiking were spent with good friends: Paul, from Ohio, and Helen and Kat, from Australia. Kat had made plans to fly out of Santiago on the 11th for her next adventure, so we all decided to hike long miles the last few days, to be able to stay on her schedule and have a going away party in Santiago. It was mostly really nice hiking trail the last few days, and we "enjoyed" some of the regions specialty cuisine, pulpo, (octopus). I'm proud of myself for giving it a try, but I will probably never do it again.


The morning we walked to Santiago, we only had about 20km (12.5miles) to walk. We got up early and were on our way before 6am. Sunrise isn't until after 8am, so it was a cool dark walk in a wooded path. I took the opportunity to jump out of the woods and scare Kat, for an overdue payback a few nights back.
Once the sun was up, and after a quick coffee and breaky stop, Santiago welcomed us with a rainbow.

We walked into Santiago with fellow pilgrim, Jorge.
We didn't find out that Jorge was a priest until we were getting our compostela. The compostela is like a certificate of completion for the camino. Ones camino can start at a number of places, and sometimes someone walks thousands of kilometers. to earn a compostela, you are required to walk a minimum of the last 100 km. those last 100 km were pretty darn crowded, to say the least. We were lucky to have hiked ahead of where most guide books recommend, and stayed at less populated albergues.
Our group was picked out of a long line, to be fast tracked as a group. We might not have known that Jorge was a priest, but maybe someone else did.
After getting our certificates and patting each other on the backs, we quickly went to the cathedral to get a seat for the very popular pilgrim mass. We arrived at 11, and seats were already filling up for the noon mass. Since we hadn't showered yet, or rested from the quick mornings' hike, it was a bit uncomfortable sitting for 2 hours, but well worth the wait. The mass was almost entirely in Spanish, but at the end they lit up the botafumeiro, which is a giant incense burner. It was originally used to fumigate the sweaty, stinky pilgrims, and has become tradition. It requires several men to hold the rope and pull it at the right moment to get the large burner to swing across the cathedral. It swings so high, it seems it will touch the ceiling. It was amazing!
We had a nice evening all together, for a nice send-off for Kat. We also had a great time seeing all the familiar pilgrims come through.
The next day, I took a day off from walking for the first time since we started. It was well deserved, and I enjoyed sleeping in. We stayed at an Albergue called "the last stamp". It was very nice and we each had a personal locker beside our bed to lock up all our belongings while enjoying Santiago.
After a day off, I was more than ready to keep hiking. My camino was not going to end in Santiago. I had decided that I would hike to "the end of the earth", as the Romans believed Finisterre to be.
This was 89km (56miles) to be done in 3 days. The days were long because there aren't as many places to sleep or get food along this way. I was surprised, but quite glad that not many people walk to Finisterre. The hiking is beautiful, and finally not crowded. We met good friends, Christine & Jamie, from Canada on our first day out. We had not met them before because they had hiked another camino route, the "primitivo route". They were great company all the way to Finisterre. Angelina, from Germany, also joined us in our trek to Finisterre.

It was great to walk into Finisterre and view the ocean!
It is here that pilgrims once would strip naked, burn their clothes, bathe in the ocean, and walk away a new person. I suppose some still do.
As much as my shoes may need burning, my plan was to also walk to Muxia, which is another ocean front village where many pilgrims end their journey. I took a day off in Finisterre to enjoy it, and then walked my last 20 miles on September 16th.
I had a nice evening in Muxia, and it was a good ending to the journey. The next day, it was strange to get on a bus after only getting around by foot for the last 38 days. It was the first vehicle I had been in since I was in France.
Before catching the bus, however, I walked 2 km back to a nice beach with a little bit of a climb down to it from the road, but well worth it!

Now I am back in Santiago. Unfortunately, the cathedral is under renovation, but you can kind of imagine how beautiful it is.
Though it has been rainy since getting back into Santiago, it's a nice city to walk around and do some shopping. Christine and Jamie are here too. Overall, I feel great! I actually feel like I could buy a new pair of hiking shoes and keep walking. On September 20th, I will leave Santiago, and begin the next part of this adventure in Germany!

No comments:

Post a Comment