Stage 12: Monte do Gozo – Santiago de Compostela

kilómetros

m. ascensión acumulada

duración

I see my way, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to walk it.

Rosalia de Castro

As despite the nickname, he was a Count-king with little judgment and much outburst, after mass he put on the armour of a knight and stood on the battlefield in the front line. A short time later, the soldier wearing his armour fell down in the middle of the battlefield. The Count-king, so that the troops do not demoralize, was discovered to the cry of El rei, heus-el aquí! (the king is here!), and after a short time, it was he who fell dead.

 

On October 8, 2015, it was me who was dead.
Llegando a Santiago en la madrugada

A bad night

What was supposed to be a procedural night for the triumphal entry into Santiago de Compostela, has become a real nightmare. It all started when I did not want to put the earplugs for fear of not hearing the alarm clock at 6 in the morning, to get very early to Santiago. This wouldn’t have been anything important if it weren’t for the fact that I shared a room with real wild boars, siblings, for more inri. With those snoring, it was impossible to sleep. So the hours have gone by, and the nerves have been increasing. And I do not know if it has been the nerves or some allergic reaction to the ketchup of the dinner burger (Germán and Paco ate the same thing and have slept without any problem), but it has started to itch the skin of the whole body, even to swell.

Overall, when I was well-fed up with everything, I went to a meeting room where there was a row of padded chairs, I slept there, I covered myself with my jacket, I put my head on the backpack, and I could get some sleep. Not too much, either. I woke up after half an hour, really dizzy, thinking I would vomit the burger of dinner, the spaghetti of the meal, and even the Melide octopus. In the bathroom, I cooled off and found that I had eczema or things like that red and swollen all over my body. And I’ve stretched myself again, sleeping a while longer, until people have started to wake up.

Total, that at seven to four I began to walk, or rather, to drag myself towards Santiago de Compostela: almost without having slept, without having had breakfast, half dizzy, with swollen and irritated skin, and with feet that seemed full of needles. It was only 5 kilometres.

La Puerta Santa de la Catedral de Santiago

Reaching Obradoiro

An hour and forty-five minutes later, he entered Praza do Obradoiro. Do you want me to be honest with you? The only thing that has crossed my mind at that moment has been a: “ah, look, I have already arrived, I’m going to looking for where they seal my credential and give me the compostelana“. And that’s it. I do not know if because of the physical state, because of the mental state, because this part of the city makes you want to arrive, because of the pain of the feet that at no time has disappeared, because I had already been there, because at no time has it been a difficult challenge to overcome, but the emotion of arriving has been 0. Zero.

Do you know what has excited me (although I have disguised it, I am good at disguising)? That Germán told me that if when I reached the breakfast queue it had been full, he would have given me the place, because making the way with my feet he considered it very meritorious. What cool pilgrims have I ever met, huh? He has also explained me about this breakfast : at 9, if you queue at a side entrance of the hostel Hostal dos Reis Católicos, and you are one of the top ten, you have free breakfast. The same goes for lunch and dinner, but I don’t remember the hours.

As soon as I had the compostelana, I went there. Only the two of them were there, so we took the opportunity to rest, they found rooms in the inn where I was, and we made time until, belatedly, they made us enter. At the end we have been 6, it seems that it is not something that people know (or the pilgrims arrive later). And good luck, because it was not very abundant. But you can’t even imagine how well that breakfast has been put on me, after all. I really needed it.

Desayuno de peregrinos
Comedor de peregrinos

And also the franciscana

After breakfast, we went to the Igrexa de San Francisco to look for the Franciscan. It turns out that in 2014 it was 800 years since the pilgrimage of St. Francis of Assis to Compostela, and they have extended the franciscan’s concession a few more months. There weren’t many people asking for it either. In addition to cool, well-informed. Finally, the three of us went to the Via Lucis inn. It was not very far away, but I was going half a mile a day, so it took a little while.

A private shower, what a luxury, guys!! Between showering and healing and returning to Obradoiro, I arrived with the pilgrim’s Mass begun. And since it was overflowed and I wasn’t carrying the credential, I spent two minutes, just enough time to say hello to Paco. So, I have sat outside, to watch the pilgrims arrive, hoping to find acquaintances.

The last meetings

And yes, they were, yes. Astrid and her father, Javi, a Valencian with whom we have been coinciding intermittently, and who has gone to eat with Germán and Paco, and Leonie, with whom I have gone to eat, have passed through there. Just out of lunch, we met Agata, and then the whole group: Carmen, Víctor, Magdalena, Sandra, Álvaro and Enrique.

Todos los peregrinos

Cris

But do you know who I was really excited to see? Cris. Cris (let me always put her in bold) is a Galician friend, from Villalba, and who has lived in Santiago de Compostela for years. We met at the age of fourteen, through Dragon Magazine, a magazine about role-playing games and medieval fantasy: we started a game of remote role-playing, by letter, of those written by hand and with a stamp on the envelope, when the stamps were not self-adhesive. The game lasted two letters, but the friendship has been going on for 23 years.

It was the second time we’ve seen each other in person. Surprisingly, we’ve never done a skype or anything like that modern, maybe that’s why it’s such an authentic friendship. If I wanted to get to Santiago it was, in part, to see Cris. So, we have spent the afternoon together, sitting and still, yes, and talking about life, that in one way or another, we have always explained the important moments we have lived.

Before saying goodbye, we took a tour of Santiago de Compostela, looking for a fragrance that would allow me to return to civilization and extend the meeting a little longer. Compostela is a city of friendly size, with a fantastic old town, full of charming little squares and cobbled streets. And visiting her with Cris, it earns even more. And the feet? Interestingly, I was no longer hurt, and I could walk almost the same as a person.

Musica en las calles de Santiago

And the time has come

The pilgrims, my pilgrims, or most of them, at least, were in a bar making a few drinks, and I’ve joined. We’ve eaten in various places, and the time to start separating just arrived. The Camino is over and everyone must return to, or continue with, theirs lives. The first to leave us have been Agata, Leonie and Magdalena.

After several shots and some cubalibres, arrived my moment. I will no longer see Carme because tomorrow she is going to Fisterra, she is the only one who plans to get there on walking.

With the others, we would still see each other sometimes again in Santiago. Even with Agata we would be, by chance, in the same coach that would take us to Fisterra, and getting off the bus would be the last time we would see each other.

This family that we have invented the last ten days is over. Who knows if some other year, with any of them, life will put us back on the same path. Now it’s time to hug, say goodbye, and get a little sad.

THE END

Galería fotográfica

La ruta

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