Day 195: Arriving 

October 22

Salceda to Santiago 30km

The morning dark welcomed me for a last time before Santiago. It had been a clear night and Orion’s Belt was bright. It was cold and sharp with mist in the fields. I was so glad of my new gloves. 

It was a charming path through mixed woodland and a few fields 

and of course there were stretch along main roads. 

I left the Albergue without having breakfast   I had spotted a town after two hours. Just the right time for a rest and breakfast. Trouble was I could only find coffee. No fresh orange juice which I have grown to love and no toast. So a cup of coffee sustained me for another three quarters of an hour until I found more substantial sustenance. 

This is not what you want to see when looking for breakfast. A closed cafe:

I like walking under motorways because you get the chance to read some interesting graffiti 

I wondered what script this is:

And I identified with this sentiment:

The city drew nearer and I encountered a few more pilgrims 

I reached the hill overlooking Santiago where there is s huge sculpture 

From this point you are supposed to be able to see the Cathedral in the distance. I reckon you need a telescope. I couldn’t make it out. 

I noticed that even the manhole covers here have a scallop shell on them;
The way into Santiago was diverted. They had closed a footpath for some reason. It was at least 1.5km of extra walking. For a moment I was annoyed as some of the route lay along main roads and my legs were tired. I burst out laughing and explained to Jan, a German pilgrim I was walking with, “After all the kilometres I have walked, what does it matter if I have to walk a few more?”

Walking into the city on the diversion:

Nearly there:

Welcoming in the square 


I am spending two days in Santiago and then I am going to spend four days walking to the sea. There will be more blogs. It’s not finished yet. 

Location 42.8818, -8.5435


Day 194: Poignant 

October 21

Meride to Salceda 25km

It seemed a long enough walk today. It is such a change to walk through green rolling countryside and through forests. I had read in my guide that Galicia is different but the information hadn’t really sunk in. 

Eucalyptus forest:

Where are the pilgrims?  I don’t understand for in Santiago yesterday 1,153 people arrived. I passed several closed cafes. This one was empty:

When I approached closer and saw what was on the wall and hanging in the trees:

I did wonder if they had just all passed out. That’s a lot of bottles!

I mentioned the lack of pilgrims to an American today who is fluent in Spanish. He said that yesterday he was in a cafe and a taxi stopped outside. A guy got out and came in the cafe, asked if they would stamp his ‘passport ‘ and then he returned to the taxi and drove off. 

I’m only recounting what I have heard. The cafe owner said the same thing happened the previous day. 

The climate here is mild. Here is a palm tree

And fuschias:even marigolds still flowering
The path often crosses streamsand I have been surprised how clean and clear they all are. In France they were always dirty and in England too you would only expect them to be clear in the mountains, not in the middle of farmland. 

There were blue rubbish bins positioned on the path every two or three hundred metres apart. Someone had written one line of John Lennon’s song Imagine on each bin, in sequence. This is the last one. I’m sure you know all the rest of the words…..

In contrast outside a house I saw this artwork tile of conflict:the word for dog in Spanish is perro. But you probably didn’t need to know that!

Location 42.9223, -8.2757

It was a day of mixed emotions. This is the last full day of walking the Camino. Tomorrow it ends. It is not the end of the journey or the end of these posts though – take heart. 

For a long, long time I have not imagined the finish but today was given to that idea. Well I fib a little as I do have a couple of lists on my phone. One of these is further adventures and one is of conclusions, if that’s not too grand a word. I will share these another time with you. 

Today was also given to thinking about ‘normal’. Normal for me is getting up early and then going for a walk, seeing new and sometimes interesting sights, rubbing shoulders with whom ever I meet and sleeping in a different bed. I might have two cups of coffee in the day but otherwise I drink water apart from the red wine at the end of the day. 

All I need and all I have is in a bag on my back. I have a house full of ‘stuff’ that I’ve not needed or used for the past seven months. Obviously none of it is important!

I wear the same clothes everyday. Occasionally I buy a new pair of socks but don’t seem to be able to throw the old ones away.  

I write every day. I have discovered it is a joy to do this. If I had a real keyboard you would have a lot more to read! I was going to carry a portable one but left it at home to save weight. 

When I am walking there is little concept of time. I notice if I am hungry, I notice if I am feeling tired and need a rest. I can do something about both these feelings. At some stage after midday I stop somewhere. 

Walking this Camino as the autumn days grow shorter has meant starting in the dark and experiencing the daylight grow in the Eastern sky. Earlier in the year when I was camping, my day started with the dawn. 

‘Normal’ changes with the seasons. Winter approaches. Perhaps a time for resting by a warm fire. Or perhaps a time for experiencing the wind and cold and bitterness of the season. 

What I have learnt is that ‘normal’ is what you are experiencing now. When tomorrow is different then ‘normal’ will be different. 

The concept of ‘normal’ is ephemeral!