We had a hard time going to sleep and only fitful sleep during the night. Excited to finish. So, when we woke up around six this morning and couldn’t force ourselves to stay in bed past 6:45, we got dressed, went to a nearby cafe for breakfast, and headed out at 7:15 in the dark.
It was raining when we started and had been raining a good while during the night. The path through the trees was muddy and mushy. Within thirty minutes, the rain had worsened and the path was a stream. Our headlamps were only somewhat useful in helping us avoid getting our feet wet. We weren’t alone. We walked with various groups of walkers, depending on our and their speed. An hour into the 12 miles, the rain was hard driving. By the time we left the path for asphalt, it was torrential–with the wind blowing rainwater in waves across the pavement. By the time we got to Santiago, the streets were rivers. At one cross street, we walked in six inches of water. Cars were hydro-planing. Manhole covers were lifted up by the volume of water and the holes looked like geysers. By the time we got to the cathedral, we were totally wet–down to our underwear.
We walked the whole 12 miles without stopping and made it in four and a half hours–in time for the pilgrims’ mass which was capped off with the swinging of the huge insense burner (botafumeiro).
After mass, we headed for our cozy hotel, took showers, and crawled in bed to get warm before heading out for wine and tapas. This evening we went to the Camino office and got our Compostela, the official certificate of completing the walk. Then we went out to dinner and walked around the cathedral square.
Because the weather forecast for Santiago for the next several days is rain, rain, rain, we changed our flight home. We leave tomorrow afternoon for Dublin, stay one night, then fly to San Francisco on Friday.
For the past two months, we have said “bonne route” and buen Camino” to hundreds of people in France and Spain. The expressions are used as greetings and goodbyes, words of encouragement, and polite indications that you are about to pass another walker. As I end this blog, I will say them as a declaration to sum up the adventure Bob and I shared these past sixty-one days.
Bonne route. Buen Camino.