Day 26 Camino De Santiago
Day 26 – Melide – Santiago 53km -Thursday 18/10/2012 – 796km in total
When I woke up, I was overwhelmed with the idea of reaching Sangtiago by nightfall. I’d planned to do the journey in two days but why not finish it today if I could? My feet were sore and I hadn’t had the best night’s sleep but I pondered over the thought as I set off in the cold and dark with Dave at 7:40am.
It became more evident at this stage of the journey that a number of pilgrims only come to do the last 100km of the Camino, to receive the certificate and be able to say that they have done the pilgrimage. Their experience would have been completely different to that of my own. As I walked past I could smell that some of them even had perfume on! It made me laugh as I felt so disgusting at this point.
At around the 25km mark, coming to a place to rest and eat, we chatted to our Korean friend Albert. He too was struggling with sore feet. He had red wine in his water bottle to help with the pain which I found very funny. He asked where we were walking to and when I replied that we were considering Santiago he laughed and said, ‘Noooooo you can’t do that!’. ‘Why not?’ I asked him.
We continued on our way and not long after, Albert caught up to us again with a Canadian friend of his. She said it would be impossible for us to walk that far in one day. Dave and I looked at each other and in that instant I knew that I was going to reach Santiago by the end of the day with or without him. Thankfully he was driven to get there too, his desire only fueled by the Canadian’s comment.
I bought extra chocolate to fuel my body. My feet and body were extremely sore but the desire to see Santiago and to not have to stay in another albergue was so great that I pushed through the pain. With every 10km traveled we became more and more excited with getting that bit closer towards our goal. The walk was amazing. The scenery was lush and green, just beautiful.
It was a quiet journey. A lot of the pilgrims had stopped walking by late afternoon. As we continued on our way, we passed a French man, Michelle, who was heading in the opposite direction. We asked where he was travelling to and he replied that he was unsure. He had been walking in the same direction as us earlier but, without knowing where the next albergue was, he had started to backtrack. I encouraged him to join us to Santiago. We were so close.
We shared food, excitement and an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment as we made our way closer and closer. The last 10km seemed to take forever but we finally arrived in Santiago just after 8pm. It was spectacular to see the sun setting over the Cathedral and to hear the pipe players playing as we made our way into the city. It felt awesome to have the locals come up to us and shake our hands and call us pilgrims. It was such an amazing experience.
The moment I stood, or collapsed I should say, at the front of the cathedral was AMAZING. I felt so empowered, so content, so ALIVE and exhausted all at the same time. I felt so grateful.
I could see the Hotel Hostal Dos Reis Catolicocs, 5star hotel to the left of us. I considered hobbling over and paying the 200Euro to stay there but I knew that there was a cheaper hotel about 300m up the road. Dave wanted to stay in an albergue and I was happy for him to do so as I was so excited about having a room all to myself. It was worth every bit of the 70Euro. I felt like a princess staying here. I relaxed, had a warm bath and enjoyed being able to walk around the room naked. It was such an amazing feeling. I phoned home and shared the amazing news with my loved ones.
By this stage it was very late and I was keen to get some sleep. The cathedral had been closed when we arrived so I couldn’t wait to check it out in the morning.
Awareness Gained Along The Way
If someone tells me that I can’t do something, it challenges me and drives me to achieve it.
Once I get an idea in my head, I cant let it go, I need to go with it.
If I set a goal I will make it happen.
It’s amazing seeing the MIND over MATTER principle in action.