Day 34: O Pedrouzo to Santiago de Compestela aka THE FINISH LINE!!!
Walking into Santiago felt like it took forever, but I never walked so lightly, so briskly into a city on the Camino. What a feeling ! Which I believe would be more bitter than sweet, if it weren’t for this cold (slightly better) and my blister-riddled feet. Santiago is an old and beautiful city, full of history. But I seem to always visit cathedrals while they are being renovated. There were quite a few pilgrims rejoicing in front of the construction site (that’s what it was). They were all either crying, laughing, hugging, or laying on the square’s floor, staring at the clouds and digesting their own feelings. I didn’t recognize most, but I did run into Thomas, Tongdo, Mitchell and Peter. Peter was my Camino stalker from Hungary, who I felt the need to take a photo with in front of the cathedral (because it was a win-win situation). As the photo was being taken, and with a heavy accent he told me that he hoped he as a Hungarian was a positive representation of Hungary, causing me to burst out into laughter. Then apologized for perhaps making me feel uncomfortable for placing his arm around me for the photo. Nah dude, you breathing heavily behind me on the trail and in restaurants made me feel uncomfortable.
Most of us were exhausted and wanted to attend the 12 PM service and later collect our Compostela (certificates). The church service was everything we had hoped it to be and more, and there was surprisingly no line to be found at the Compostela office. For an extra €5, I opted for a tube and a fancier certificate which displays the 800 km I walked to get here. Very worth it.
Our hotel is by far the fanciest in town, the all-famous Paradore Santiago de Compostela, next door to the cathedral. A once Hostel for pilgrims which was turned into a 5-star hotel in the 80’s with the Camino growing as a tourist attraction. Roughly €200 a night with a breakfast buffet seemed well-deserved after so many sleepless, cold, loud, smelly, bed bug-dodging nights. Well-deserved, and we have officially stayed in every type of accommodation, except for camping (not sorry) on the Camino
We stopped by the bus station and bought our €35 ticket for Porto tomorrow. It then started to pour, and being nearby the mall, we decided to take cover in the Centro Commercial As Cancelas that looks like a Futbol stadium from afar. This is a beautiful mall, and it was there where we were able to get real clothes AND food. Nothing felt more dignifying than being able to throw away my tattered Camino shoes and replace them with a pair of cute booties.At this mall, we also got to eat at a delicious (maybe we were just famished) Chinese/Mongolian BBQ buffet for €10 each. Back at our hotel, we sipped on tea and relished our victory.
I am a little bummed that I am not moving forward to the 0 KM mark in Finesterre, like I had planned/hoped for. But it is raining there for the next three days. More rain/cold/potential pneumonia < wine tasting in Porto/Feeling content with making it to Santiago. I think we've made the right decision.