Camino Trip Notes: Stage 38 (Rabina to Santiago de Compostela)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Distance: 25 km

7:57 – I said goodbye to my host, Diego, and walked down the long lane towards the road.  I soon noticed a marker indicating the distance to Santiago: 24 km.  For once I can hardly believe that it’s almost June and I’ve been walking 6-8 hours a day since April 10. The end is near!

9:22 – I stopped for coffee in O Pedrouzo and ran into Anna, the doctor with whom I had breakfast yesterday.  She would happily talk about her travels for another three hours if I gave her the chance.  Unfortunately I’m focussed on making it to Santiago by mid afternoon so the stories will have to wait.

10:40 – I had a nice chat while walking with a surprisingly upbeat former farmer from near Prague.  He used the term “former” and explained that he decided to do the Camino after a bank foreclosed on his house and farm.  Everything he owned was tied up in the business and now it’s gone.  Auctioned off.  He bought a backpack and tent with his last 200€.

12:00 – I must have left my California Angels cap back at the last cafe. I’ve had that cap since November – which is a new personal best because I normally lose 6 or 8 hats a year!  And this was a special hat, too. I paid something like 40 rupees or about $1 for it when I was in New Delhi.  The guy I bought it from had rescued it from the massive landfill site that he calls home.  Believe it or not but I had to convince him to sell it to me even though he was selling used clothing from a blanket beside the street. He refused to tell me the price several times and I think he was explaining that wearing a well used hat from the dump was beneath me.  He obviously didn’t  know how low I’ve been known to stoop.  I just loved the hat’s authentic “broken in” look and feel. Sadly, it will probably be in a Spanish landfill site tomorrow.

15:20 – I have arrived in Santiago!  Judging by first impressions, I’m going to like this town.

15:57 – Well, there it is: The magnificent Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela … and some scaffolding, construction hoarding, tarps, safety nets, etc.

“Take time to just arrive. We each experience different emotions on entering the Cathedral that range from euphoria to disappointment. Whatever your individual reaction – honour and accept it.” – 

I’m not sure how I’ll feel when I enter the cathedral but right now my goal is to pick up my compostela at the Pilgrim’s Office and find the hotel that will be home for the next three days.  
They swing the giant botafumeiro as part of the Friday Mass so I will  wait until then before entering the cathedral.  I’ll be much less preoccupied with aches and pains after a couple of drinks and an hour in a hot tub.

17:07 – I have joined a line of several hundred pilgrims who are waiting paitiently to receive their compostelas. If there was a good masseuse around here she could make a killing!

17:25 – I just overheard part of a conversation between two guys in line, neither of whom would claim English as his first language. The first guy asked: “Where did you walk from today?”  The second guy replied: “Oh, just Monte de Gouzo. I am retarded.”  The first guy was clearly taken aback but says: “Sorry, I didn’t think you used that term anymore.”  I don’t think either had a clue what the other was thinking.

17:41 – Got it!  Done!

18:00 – I will spend the weekend in Santiago so stay tuned for another update. It’ll take me a day or two to gather my thoughts on the whole Camino experience.  It’s not like I’ve had any time to reflect lately.

7 Responses to “Camino Trip Notes: Stage 38 (Rabina to Santiago de Compostela)”

  1. Grant Reimer

    Congratulations Mike!
    Santiago has some of the best tapas!!

  2. Brett Goodall

    Well I have purchased the books Camino de Santiago, Walking in Spain, and The Camino by Shirley Maclean. So I guess I’m already to go. 🙂 :). I would love to hear your opinions on the whole trip sometime. WRITE A BOOK… Thanks.

    • 100Saturdays

      My advice? Hmm. Well, I’d say if you’re still up to it after reading Shirley Maclean’s book, just do it!

      I’ll put together a list of general tips and post it on the blog. But basically anyone can do this – I met a one legged guy and heard of a Canadian women doing it barefoot – so don’t worry about fitness. It won’t be easy but you will survive. It may not be enjoyable all the way but again, you will survive.

  3. Lisa

    Congratulations Mike! Paul and I have been ‘with you’ every step of the way, waiting daily for your posts from the Camino. We say we have now travelled the Camino twice; vicariously through our friend Grant, and now through you. It’s been a wonderful blog to read. Thank you! We hope to see you when you are back in Toronto.

    • 100Saturdays

      Thanks, Lisa. “Dragging” so many people along with me was never a burden but I realize now how many were actually there in spirit.


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