The final stretch

19 08 2015

D5: Sobrado Dos Monxes – Santiago de Compostela = 60 km

We made it! Even though we were only five days on the road, it seemed a bit surreal to finally arrive in Santiago.

At the end at last!

At the end at last!

 

We had a later start in the morning to avoid the cold temperatures that we’d experience the day before. Also, we knew that it was relatively easy terrain so we’d easily make it to Santiago. Nice, easy downhill start to the day, resulting in a record speed of 22 km in one hour. A bit of light rain, cloudy but not too cool. Stopped for a morning coffee and snack in Arzua where the Camino Frances and Camino del Norte merge. We enjoyed a picnic lunch under a shady tree in Arca and then had some more light rain just as we were packing up. While Santiago was within striking distance, it wasn’t over until it was over – we still had some wet and windy uphills to endure, but I guess there is no better way to end the camino than to have earned it.

I like picnics in the park

I like picnics in the park

Our final stop before entering the city was Mount Joy, where we crossed a German couple who we had met earlier – much more hardcore cyclists than us; they had cycled the entire Camino del Norte and they had cycled over 6000 km in South America the year before!

Then the triumphant ride across the bridge into Santiago de Compostela and we continued on to the cathedral where we were greeted by lively Celtic music, and of course, seeing some familiar faces along the way. I wasn’t exactly sure where it came from, maybe the music, maybe the lively atmosphere, but I was unexpectedly a bit moved as we rolled our bikes up to the cathedral. Regardless of religion, it is a spiritual journey.

In Santiago, we got our final stamp on our credentials, claimed our pilgrim certificate, and attended the pilgrim’s mass. We also enjoyed a rooftop tour of the cathedral where we had beautiful panoramic views of the city. But mostly, we relaxed and enjoyed chocolate con churros, sangria and tapas – including pulpo a la gallega – octopus, finally! Well, I enjoyed octopus.

Pilgrim's mass at the cathedral

Pilgrim’s mass at the cathedral – a full house!

Where pilgrims would traditionally

Where pilgrims had traditionally burned their clothes from the journey to signify spiritual cleansing and new birth

On top of the cathedral

On the cathedral’s rooftop

Then, with a 14-hour train ride from west to east across northern Spain, we returned to Barcelona for one final day before saying goodbye to Breanna. Weird how time and space works…250 km took us 5 days by bike, 1,125 km from Santiago de Compostela to Barcelona took 14 hours by train, and a few days later, in a short hour and a half by air, I entered a different continent, culture and what felt like a different world.

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