Pedrouzo – Santiago de Compostella = 21km – Day 35
I woke up around 7 am and my plan was to get some bread and stuff to put in it and then go out in the forest to wait for Ricardo.
While in Pedrouzo, I met the German girl from the eucalyptus forest and we caught up with each others situation. She had been sitting in the forest waiting for a couple of pilgrim friends, that did not show up, but got her self to Pedrouzo later in the evening.
I walked into the beautiful eucalyptus forest and found a spot up against a big tree and began to eat my breakfast. A lot of pilgrims were passing including the father and son duo who I ate with last night.
I asked them if they had seen Ricardo, but declined.
While munching on the bread with a kind of dry impanada inside, I saw the Canadian couple from yesterday and asked if they had seen Ricardo and before I heard an answer I saw saw him walking right behind them.
Phew… was good to see him and we caught up with each other as always and began the walk I had already walked once. We got to the hotel, where I had asked for directions yesterday and had a break.
We then began a longer walk in the woods and on gravel paths along a creek and here, Ricardo discovered what he had wished he had on the entire journey.
Putting his feet in the cold water really helped his feet – nice to figure out the last day on a 800km journey, right? 🙂
I put my feet in the water as well and it was very cold but enjoyable especially when walking again.
It was a short day in distance and we could have been in Santiago within 3-4 hours easy, but we took our time. Enjoying that we were still on The Camino. Taking a few more breaks that lasted longer to just enjoy and look back at the span of time that you had been on this voyage was in the cards to do this day.
After a few breaks here and there as well as a HUGE bocadillio Ricardo and me shared in an open green field, we got to Monte de Gozo. Do you remember yesterday, when I got to the hotel and asked for directions, that the next albergue was 10-12 km away? – Well, that was here and only about 5 km from the finish line and Santiago de Compostella.
This place is on a hill where you overlook Santiago and vaguely can spot the cathedral.
We did not really stay long and continued… and here a couple of good replica pictures of my book was taken that I will like to show you.
Check out my Daily Blog for More Information About The Book: Daily Blog
Now we were close and it was odd… walking into Santiago. Beginning to see that we got near a city again and know that it was the finish line was really a different experience. We had walked for 35 days today and now it was “the end”. I did know of course, that I was continuing to the coast, but it was like you could not believe you were here. So many days, so many nights, so many steps and all of a sudden you were here… – wow!
I was in awe the whole way in and Ricardo and me I believe had a similar feeling.
Ricardo only had a couple of days before he had to go home andn the way in he had not yet made up his mind if he wanted to continue to the coast, but coming in just before the city sign, he knew that this was the end for him and also our trip together.
Throughout the day, I had stayed in touch with Steffen, because him and Daniela had stayed in Santiago and today was their 3rd day and they basically waited for us to come in. We both looked forward to see them – we still took our time, this was indeed special moments walking into Santiago.
Right before the city sign another monument and plaque was worth a picture.
And… THEN we got to the official city sign and entering Santiago de Compostella. 800 km had been passed. Mountains, rivers, forests and a lot of flat terrain as well as hundreds of villages and a few big cities has been on our path and FINALLY we were entering the place we had pursuit from the start in Saint Jean Pied de Port.
It was sort of a big moment and still weird and unbelievable to finally be here.
We continued towards the middle of the city and as you know from the journey, it takes a bit longer to get all the way into the middle of these older parts of the cities for a pilgrim.
As we got closer we walked in as a smaller group and we actually arrived with Gale and his almost blind son Dave, the famous duo on The Camino. Gale told me something great, that I want to share.
He told me, that back when he was in high school, he had three good friends, all having names with a “G”. I don´t remember the names, but he told me, that all three compared to him was very athletic, good in school and quite well all around.
He then said; “now… two of them are dead and the third can´t get off his couch because he is so big. I am over 60 and have just walked 800km across Spain.” I could tell he was proud and happy to have done this as well as having done it with his son, whom he said had kept him honest.
A lovely man, who was a nice person to talk to and who obviously shared “The Three Phases” that I shared with you on day 18.
We entered the center of Santiago and approached the cathedral slowly. We knew that Steffen and Daniela was waiting on us. We got to one of the sides of the cathedral and saw them sitting on a stone bench near the stairs down to one of the entrances of the cathedral. They had not seen us, so Ricardo took out his video camera and told me to see if I could surprise them while he was recording.
I found the right moment and went around and behind them and sat myself down right next to them. They first saw me right there – a nice surprise and great to see them again! Great friends and companions on The Camino.
The plan now was to get our diplomas and see the cathedral and enjoy the evening in Santiago.
As you know, it was of course good to officially get a diploma for your accomplishment, but doesn’t mean a whole lot in the big scheme of things. It is all in your body, mind and soul now and you know it and feel it – you are here.
Steffen and Daniela, helped us with where to go and so on as there were a couple of places we went for diplomas. First, the official Compostella and this year was a special year as St. James had an anniversary, so you could get a diploma, that is not going to be issued for the next 100 years.
After, we went to the big square in front of the Cathedral and here was the final mark, that meant that it was km 0 in Santiago.
The stones with writing below was in the very center of the square, basically where the above picture was taken from.
The Official Stats:
35 days in total on 33 days of walking
Ricardo and me found out that tonight there was a pilgrim mass in the cathedral and we wanted to go as it made sense to do so instead of tomorrow, since we arrived today.
The mass was at 6 pm and we had found a place to stay prior and arrived to the mass a little early to find a seat and to just sit and enjoy the quiet. It was interesting, because after 5-10 minutes I just began to cry. It was like a faucet had been turned on behind my eyes and water just flowed out… and it was for good reason.
SO much had happened during this trip, so much emotion has been felt and so many experiences and impressions had been a constant way of life and it was like it just made itself burst out of me and reveal the importance that this trip had on me.
During this incredible voyage I had experienced pain and suffering on my body and gotten used to being in pain basically, because no day was easy and you felt it all the time in your legs and feet as well as under them.
My mind had gotten accustomed to beauty and so much good, but also worked on a lot of stress and old things that through this trip gave way for release to something better and perhaps gave me a key to open a new door towards a new path in life.
My heart had been touched. I fell in love on this trip with a girl and in addition I felt and got close to a special person and a special friend in Ricardo along with the special group we were a part of.
It all gave way for tears of being grateful. They say when you die, your life passes before your eyes – here I was grateful and felt happy and due to that my life flashed by my eyes, I thought about my family, my friends, all that I had been through on my travels, the struggles in my life, the accomplishment and so much of what this journey had concluded, that it all goes on and it all makes you grow into who you are supposed to become.
I cried for at least 30 minutes and Ricardo put his hand on my shoulder with the compassionate understanding of what this meant – what a friend. It is rare you find people who you are so connected with, that words are unnecessary.
When the mass was over it was time for some tapas and wine and while I had forgotten my hat in the cathedral, which I never got back, I guess was a point that now the trip with that hat was over…
We had a nice dinner with Daniela, Steffen and one of his friends from Holland that he had befriended the past days.
It was such a nice evening, with laughter and a sense of satisfaction and we all felt good especially because we were able to spend a bit more time together.
Steffen was leaving the next day and we said our goodbyes after we had something sweet in a café. It took me three hugs to say my goodbyes to Steffen and it would be unknown before I would see him again.
Ricardo and me went to our room and Daniela to hers and we slept until the next morning where we had a brunch and used the day to relax in Santiago.
The next day, Ricardo was leaving so had our last dinner together tonight.
We had a traditional Santiago menu and the famous Santiago tathe.
The day after Daniela was going to continue on towards Finisterre, so we split up with her on our way towards the train station. As I told Ricardo, we have been together all the way, “I will go with you all the way to the station and finish our time together on The Camino, there.”
The night before I had decided to stay in Santiago one more day, because I wanted to surprise Gemma, who I knew would come into Santiago this morning. However, I did not know how I would find her, but thought that the big square in front of the cathedral would be the spot.
I waited for a few hours. I was doing some writing on everything that has happened the last few days and continued to see if I could spot her.
All of a sudden I saw her, and started to sneak up on her, which actually took a while, as I wanted to be sure to surprise her in the way I had wanted to.
When I got right behind her she sat down. I then threw my stuff, quickly took a couple of steps forward, sat down – sat for a second and said “it is an amazing sight, isnt it?” – she surprisingly turned around and we hugged like I had not hugged a person before – so awesome to surprise her that way.
The whole experience being in Santiago was quite amazing, because so many of the people you had seen along the way had also arrived either on the same day or within 1-3 days. This meant that for a few days, it was like you had lived in Santiago for a long long time and knew everyone around.
It was so fun, nice and comfortable, it was like being in your own city and home of the world and I guess to us pilgrims. It was a new home.
Santiago – Negreira = Day 38 – 22,1km
I stayed in Santiago and walked towards Finisterre early in the morning. The walk out of Santiago was interesting. I had now crossed the “main” finish line and was now on my way towards Finisterre and “The End of The Earth”.
Almost 90 km was ahead and it was a real nice day to walk.
It took a while to get away from civilization and Santiago, even though the beginning was through some forest as many bigger cities houses and so on are all around the outskirts, so it took sometime to get out and away.
When we were in Ligonde, there was a woman writing a Phd about The Camino, the pilgrimage, the history about it and much for. She had walked The Camino three times and she said that it is kind of weird coming into Santiago and also leave, but that you quickly get used to that you are still on The Camino – and so it was.
After some kilometers it was easy to feel you were still on The Way and towards what was left of my journey to the coast – so that was nice!
Not long after I got to gravel paths and forest and moved through small villages and got to a beautiful oasis, where I took a stopped to enjoy a river, the sun and do some writing.
I went down on the left side of the bridge, put my feet in the cold water to cool off and did some writing on the warm rocks.
I stayed around the river for a while, also wondering if Gemma was behind me, I kept going and it was really not a long walk today, so I got to Negreira just past noon even though the albergue was a little hard to find initially as I missed it the first time.
On my way to it I found what is probably my most favorite sculpture on The Camino.
I love it a lot and to me it shows a craving to perhaps be free from something and maybe a pilgrim is an illustration for what freedom can represent.
When I found the albergue, a shower, some writing and a little nap came to be before I took a walk back down to the city from the hills where we were. I found a bar, had a beer and did some more writing.
Later I wandered around and then bought some fruit as well as a veggie burger for dinner before I headed back to get ready for another day tomorrow.
Negreira – Olveiroa = Day 40 – 33,2 km
I was the last one to leave the room of 8 beds and took my time. From the hills I passed a lot of forest and it is always nice to walk around in the quiet woods – it has a nice and quiet vibe.
I had actually already seen this before, as I had passed it when I missed the albergue yesterday.
It was a variety as always going through villages, gravel paths and on more concrete type of roads. What I really enjoyed was to see that some places in the world are still like it was once and still have their cows etc. walking right down the local roads.
It was over all nice to be on the go again, 3 days in Santiago made my feed itchy to get going, after all we had been used to walking for 35 days.
As always the nature was nice, with hills fields and much more that cannot be captured on pictures, I did think and hope on the way that I would meet up with the last person I would probably see again from “the camino family”. Daniela was already two days ahead of me, so did not expect to see her and all I knew was that Gemma was somewhere around where I was.
Olveiroa, was near but it took time to get there. It was also a long day, getting to over 30km and this was after a short day and 3 days off, so it was definitely felt in the legs. I still felt strong though, because your legs was obviously pretty strong at this time on The Camino.
I wanted to find the albergue municipal and it was a real nice sight to see Gemma there and to catch up with her. We talked about what had happened since, do writing and making dinner and enjoying a beer at the local bar in the evening.
Olveiroa – Finisterre/Fisterra = 31,9 km – Day 40
We started out walking around 8am towards “The End of The Earth”. Gemma and me, but also Eva who was a friend of Gemma and had walked together from Santiago.
I still knew I would have another day ahead on The Camino from Finisterre to Muxia, so this was not my last day but for many it was – as it was for Gemma.
The first main mark of the day today was the split road that went to Finisterre and Muxia and regardless of which one you take there is path connecting the two along the coast as well. This means that many goes to Muxia and finishes in Finisterra or vise verse as it was with me.
And below there was obvious confusion about where I wanted to go 🙂
The pillar above was on a hill and was the first time we could sort of spot the ocean, but it was still far away and far from clear. It was like the heaven and ocean melted together.We got closer and closer and we took a few breaks here and three to enjoy the last kilometers and time we had.
Finally we were on a pivotal point today, the milestone that literally told us we were at the end!
A really nice view and for the first time we could see the ocean and Finisterre more clearly.
After a long way down from the hills through a few villages and a larger town, we finally got to the entrance to Finisterre. Actually I was alone when taking the picture on the left, as I walked faster and then thought I missed the way again and did not know where to go for a while.
I was sure that I was still ahead and when I got to the VERY beautiful and almost perfect ending of today and the journey itself the beach: Playa de Langosteira.
Since I was ahead and had not seen them, I walked along the walkway-path and had the beach and ocean on the left. I wanted a beer at the bar I saw, and thought it was a nice place to wait for them.
I sat down, took my shoes and socks off and kicked back with a cold one and just sat and relaxed. Not long after a guy came and asked if he could sit down. I had seen him earlier in the town just before Finisterre. A really nice man, who was a psycho therapist from New York.
I asked Jay, if he had seen two girls or passed them on his way here. He had not and it surprised me, for where in the world were they then? Should I really miss ending all of this with Gemma?
We talked back and forth a bit, but eventually I wanted to get going and get into Finisterre.
On the way there I met the Canadian guy of the couple whom I met a couple of days before Santiago. We updated each other and also asked him if he had seen a couple of girls walking by, but nothing.
I went up and walked into the little cozy town and as I walked by a good looking pilgrim hostel I saw Els, from Holland in the window, whom I had not seen since two days before Santiago, when she had decided to take the bus in to meet her loyal companion Niklas. We had a quick chat, before I went up to find the albergue municipal and fortunately saw Gemma and Eva there.
The rest of the afternoon and night was going to be a thing of beauty.
Besides the afternoon where we were chilling around the rocks on the beach, we gathered and made a dinner and then too it to the light house. Here, the tradition is to take off your clothes and burn it as a symbol of the completion and accomplishment on The Camino, which we saw some people do.
Two happy pilgrims at what was found NOT to be “the end of the earth” 🙂
But the beginning of much more in both of our lives.
The two pictures below is from the walk to the light house.
The light house is the final stop and place where you officially see that you cant walk any further now and for many that is a big deal after 890+km.
It was a perfect sunny day, a perfect evening with perfect company to finish it all here today. Yes, perfect is a big word, but it did not get much better than this. Our own food, with a Santiago tathe and great company to enjoy while the sun was setting. It was just a marvelous night.
Food was served and the sun was setting…..
A lot of people watched the sun set and it was such a great night, no words…
We walked back when it was dark and got ready for bed after a gorgeous day.
Day off in Finisterre
Gemma and Eva was leaving today and they actually hitchhiked back to Santiago – brave and cool girls! It was of course a bit of an emotional moment as that was the last person from “The Camino Family” and now I officially was alone.
I knew I had another days walk to Muxia, which I looked forward to and knew would be good and important for me, just to process everything and wrap it up in body, mind and soul.
Finisterre – Muxia = 32,2 km – Day 42 (Final Day)
Yesterday I had checked into the place where I had met Els when I arrived into Finisterre and she was still there when I came back last night. We had such a beautiful and emotional conversation – we shared all that had happened to us, we cried together and just shared the magnificence we had in us now. It was an important moment of processing for both of us – this journey is magical and the definition of a Life-Experience.
I saw Els this morning before I went on my way towards Muxia and a day that looked like it would be quite terrible to walk in, the forecast was rain, rain and rain… :-S
I covered up and began a walk in the wrong direction, even though I was helped by a very kind woman who walked with me all for a while to show me where to go.
I of course could have misunderstood all that I did not know in Spanish 🙂
I did find the path and went on my way and life was good. It is something that is so beautiful and another of the many metaphors for life: Being on track is so important and one of the best things in the world!
The weather slowly cleared up, became more dry and a little later could take off my poncho.
It was a long finish today, over 32 km, but a day that was filled with forest and quiet time to think, process and appreciate.
The trek was mostly like the path on the picture above, but in and along forest, coast line and through hilly landscape, it was an important day, the last one for me on The Camino to conclude and complete it all.
I met only about ten pilgrims today, all but one coming from Muxia, but it was nice to walk alone, especially today. It was interesting because when I was getting closer to Muxia all of a sudden it felt different.
When I saw the ocean after the 2 km sign, I instantly felt- that now my Camino was complete, it is now done and finished, there is no more walking, nothing more to do –
I did it!
It was a great moment of satisfaction and actually not really emotional as you might think. It was set in stone already before I reached the village of Muxia – it was done and finished now.
The ONLY Chinese person I had met, I met on the last 500m and ran up to him to ask if he wanted to take the pictures above, he gladly helped me and I returned the favor.
The day was spend walking around Muxia, to see the church here at the coast and was a great to finish at the sea.
After the sunset that never seemed to set and did not see it do, as I was about being late for when they closed the albergue, so I had to run back to make it.
Here, I got ready for the last night in a bunk bed, last night on The Camino, tomorrow would start a new time – the time that pilgrims call: The Camino after The Camino – the life where you go into and implement what you learned from the long pilgrimage.
It was now done and all finished and tomorrow a bus-trip would take me back to Santiago towards what was next in my life and had yet to show up.
Insights & Reflections
“Awareness of change, leads to detachment and is the way to joy, inspiration, humor & love.” ~ Gemma & Gideon
You have seen this quote before, but this is in essence of what I got out of walking The Camino to Santiago, Finisterre and Muxia. I can´t find an insight or something that can be more real and true about The Camino than the quote above and fortunately I put this down on paper by mixing Gemma´s and my own ideas.
One Millions Steps to Change Your Life
Official Stats: 920+ km walked.
42 days in Total 35 walked.
Did you know that every time you take one step you walk on average less than 1 Meter?
A quick calculation will show you that walking around 1000 km will make you take way over ONE MILLION steps!
The Camino was a magical and a full-on consistent definition of a metaphor for life. What I wrote in the VERY first blog about The Camino was that this HAS to be experienced to be understood, that is just the way it is.
When I finished and was done in Muxia, it was so natural a transition towards a new life and towards everything else, and while I sometimes miss being on The Camino, I know that I will always be there because my heart, as explained in “Phase Three” expanded as I got closer and closer to Santiago and myself.
I am so happy that I did it, happy I took the time to do it and had the courage to pursue the unknown and come through and learn and understand a lot within myself, how I saw myself, other people, what I want to do in my life and the world at large.
“If you want to go somewhere you have not gone before, you have to do something you have not done before.”
The above is my favorite quote and I am proud that I live it the way I do and I hope that this entire story and LONG blog posts has given you joy and inspiration to pursue what it is you want in your life.
From here, I want to just wish you and your loved ones a beautiful journey in life.
Thank you for having been with me, followed me, been a friend and become a friend.
We are all pilgrims in life – walking a journey only we will experience, but one we can share with each other.
With love… Gideon
And… Buen Camino!
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