Continued from Part 1.
We reached Santiago around noon and I was surprised how big the town actually was. We walked for a few kilometres before we reached the Cathedral, too late to see the the Botafumeiro though. The square in front of the cathedral was full with people – taking photos, laughing, sitting/lying on the ground, thinking, speaking, greeting, hugging. The cathedral itself was splendid in its style, details and size. Santiago was bursting with life – pilgrims, students (there is a university), tourists, locals. Very lively atmosphere, with gorgeous architecture and cozy, narrow streets. Lots of bars, restaurants, all sorts of places where you can sit and enjoy life. I was desperate to leave my rucksack somewhere, anywhere, change my clothes and soak in the sun. So much impatience! Probably that is why I had to wait a few more hours, lesson taught, whether learnt – still to be determined.
There it is – the day we were to reach Santiago de Compostela. Ahead of us were only about 22 km. – well deserved small walk after the last couple of days delivering more than 30 km. daily to our feet – interesting how people’s attitude to distance changes . Was I excited that I would finally reach it? Yes, but perhaps not to the extend some people do, simply because for me the end was Finisterre and watching the sun go down over the ocean. Nonetheless, I was really thrilled, curious and impatient to see the place which has been the destination point of pilgrimage for centuries.
So off we went…
(Continued from Day 6 – part 1)
Unlike most pilgrims, we did not stay in Sarria. The distance was very small (only 18 km) and also we preferred to relax in small villages and appreciate the rural atmosphere. It is worth mentioning that many people with limited time start exactly at Sarria as it ensures the minimum of 100 km. you need in order to receive your Compostela (the certificate you earn after completing the way) at Santiago. We desperately wanted to miss all the hustle and bustle in the morning.
I would not exaggerate if I say Triacastela to Barbadelo was probably the most enjoyable walk so far on my Camino. Maybe it was because the scenery was astonishing, maybe it was the pleasant weather, maybe it was that because as the road divided in two after Triacastela people were fewer, or maybe my body/mind had already set into the right mode for hours of walking.
Either way, steps were taken with pleasure.