Thursday, 25 July 2013

Day 16: O’pedrouzo - Santiago (total kms walked: 188kms) *Eurotrip - Camino*

Today was the big day! We were going to walk the last 19kms to Santiago, which is where all the pilgrims finish their journey. All roads lead to Santiago. You can start the Camino hike from various different starting points and everyone’s common goal is to reach Santiago. Here you attend the mass at THE cathedral (biggest cathedral in Spain). 

The South African family that I have been walking with has been walking for 31 days. They were ready to finish their walk! So the mom and I decided that we were going to get up extra early so that we can have a makeup party where we will put make up on so we can look super-hot when we enter Santiago.

I got up at 5:30 and got ready. I had a great nights rest in the albergue, which was surprising, as we were packed like sardines. There were 150 beds so you would expect some snoring, but luckily I heard nothing! I was very impressed with the mutual respect that these pilgrims have for each other. No one will touch your stuff and you can leave your phone on charge and it will be safe.

We had 19kms to walk today and we had to be in Santiago before 11:00, as that is when you go inside the cathedral to find a place to sit. So we walked 19kms in 3.5 hours. It was very fast. If only I didn't have an injured foot and a bloody heavy backpack, I would have run there.

So we arrived in Santiago and you walk like for eves through the new town into the old town till you get to the cathedral. The cathedral is massive I tell you! You cannot get the whole building in one photo! It is really beautiful. We found a spot on the cold floor in front and then waited for the mass to start. I don't know what the hell they said, but the nun sang really well and the priest read a lot of stuff. There was another pilgrim sitting next to me, an old dude whose breath smelt like rotten eggs. This was not a pleasant experience plus I was starving. I could have eaten all the bread and drunk the holy wine. It was freezing inside and my muscles were stiff as hell. Everyone hopes that the priest blesses you with this massive container thing that's hanging from the roof and they light incense inside. The one dude swings it from side to side so it blesses all the people. This was cool to see!

After this I went with the family to a fancy seafood restaurant to celebrate the end of our journey. They had lamb chops and seafood platters. I had prawns. It was delicious.

I then went to the hotel to meet my friend that I haven't seen in 6.5 years. I arrived at the hotel and she was there! It was so surreal to see her, but it was like nothing has changed, which is a sign of a good friendship. We caught up a bit and then got ready to go out. 

I had to go get my certificate for completing the Camino. So I stood in the long ass queue and then got my certificate which you call the Compestella. I got congratulated by the lady and I was happy I pushed through and finished the hike.

Then we went to a tapas bar and had some Tinto vino and pinchos. We moved to the next bar and had some chorizo and beer. There were 6 x Spanish dudes sitting next to us who we started chatting to. They just finished the Camino by bike and were also celebrating. They explained that they were on the second stop of the Paris to Dakar pub crawl. The bar Paris is at the beginning of the street and the bar Dekar is at the end of the street. The idea is to pub hop from pub to pub without walking more than twenty feet. So we decided to do some pub hopping with them. My friend had to choose the first bar which could only be 20feet from the previous bar. So she chose and we went to the next one. At every bar we had drinks and tapas. I could so get use to this. Love eating and drinking vibes.

We went to about 3 more bars and then we were finished. I took out the map and walked u home. It was a great night. This is definitely the best way to experience a new place when traveling. Let the locals take you out. This I also how I learn their language. I'll have to do plenty more pub crawls before my Spanish improves though. Not arguing with that!

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