Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Santiago de Compostela...We made it!

Day 24: Our journey began today with an Irish blessing bestowed upon us by our wonderful hosts.

The Camino then took on a pleasant turn after the highest point of the day at O Meson as it slowly meandered down to the only dam we've seen along the way which was created by monks in 1500 to help irrigate their crops and today it is classified as a protected natural reserve.

 Sobrado dos Monxes is home to an enormous monastery where the monks, among other things, evidently sing Gregorian chants.

Unfortunately it was closed for siesta time when we arrived, so we enjoyed the grounds and beautiful architecture and continued along our journey towards Santiago, arriving at a modern, state of the art Albergue facility in Boimorto. 

Nobody was there and a sign on the door said to call a number, which we did and someone came ten minutes later, let us in for 6 Euros each and we had the entire 34 bed facility to ourselves. So crazy!

Day 25: If we could find it within ourselves to hike 53 km today, we would make it to Santiago. Joining up with el Camino de Frances in Arzua put a pep in our step. Suddenly there were literally hundreds of other hikers. In order to receive a certificate of pilgrimage one only has to officially hike 100km, so many more people are in this last section of the trail which has a very pleasant gradient, mostly under the shade of trees.

After being on the trail for thirteen hours we arrived at the Cathedral at Compostela and it was a wonderful time of day to get there as people were out and about and the atmosphere was great!

By the time we had taken our "finish photos", we tried to find out where the office was located in order to get our completion certificates and "Compostela" and arrived at the office at 9pm just as they were closing.

Fortunately we were able to find a room in the absolutely beautiful Monastery attached to the Cathedral and celebrated with pizza and red wine, collapsing in an exhausted heap but feeling grateful and accomplished. Not only had we achieved our goal of backpacking such a long distance and wild camping along the way, but Dreadknot had also managed to quit smoking and he has discovered his inner endurance athlete. I have discovered a wonderful, kind, compassionate and considerate  partner to enjoy the adventure of life with and once again realized that you can "Dream it. See it. Be it."

It had taken us 25 days to walk 825 km with 12kg backpacks with unbroken footsteps and without a rest day. Although the Camino Del Norte is completed, our quest has not finished yet and tomorrow we head off to Finisterra at the western coast where it was once believed that the world ended.

Day 26: After a hearty breakfast at the Monastery we obtained our certificates for completing the journey and picked up new "credentials" for the next leg of the journey.

We'll be hitting the trail again this afternoon after checking out, doing laundry and getting some supplies.
To the end of the world we go!


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