Warning: Long Post
First off it was overcast almost the entire day with a cool breeze and we tried to make our way as quickly as possible the last 25 km. Then at 1:00 the sun came out with a vengeance and I’m not sure where the breeze went , but it wasn’t with us. The Kentucky group split our last day into 2 days; a 15 km day and then a 10 km day into Santiago. We wanted to have an extra day in Santiago so off we went. It was again uphill and wasn’t too bad until the sun came out. It was again a lot of asphalt. Not sure why there is so much asphalt on this Camino but it just cooks your feet when it gets hot. By lunch we were both starting to feel the heat and wear in our feet. But we were so close we could almost see the church spires. Gadgetman found the original route into the city and that cut off several km from our walk into Santiago. We had already agreed to get into the city and find our hotel first. Notice the word hotel? Gadgetman was wanting AC for sleep.
Seeing the church the first time was such a mixture of emotions again his year. Maybe not the overwhelming relief and disbelief that we made it but more of a familiar welcoming. There is no doubt there was relief as well and a feeling of accomplishment. And then I had an unexpected flood of memories from last year. It was really unbelievable and warm fuzzy kind of feelings.
As we wound our way up through the old city my feet were so done and each step was getting more painful. Gadgetman was having issues with one of his heels as well. But true to form he led us right up to our hotel. We made our way into the city from a different vantage point or path than we did last year, but seeing familiar sights was really nice. After arriving and giving my passport, the first question asked by Gadgetman since we’re in the old quarters was, “there is AC in the rooms, right?” After being assured there was he produced his passport. I’m not really sure what would have happened if she had said no. I don’t think I could have walked any further.
After a refreshing shower and a thorough foot cooling we were ready to reacquaint ourselves with the city, see the church, and find the new Officina de Peregrinos. When we got to the church it was bad timing with the sun. Hmmm, that photo op will have to wait for the morning. Found the new Pilgrims Office right behind the parador and it is wonderfully large and thankfully empty right now. Imagine, at 7:50 pm and no pilgrims standing in line!! We were in to get our credentials stamped 1 last time and receive our Compostelas as well as distance certificates after answering a few brief questions and out the door in under 10 minutes.
We took the requisite pictures of each other with our certificates and out the door and on our way to find shade and refreshment. Almost immediately we ran into the mom and son duo from DC. They was so excited to make it and like us hiked it hard to get there while it was overcast and no sun. We talked and she gave me a big hug for giving her the info of things to ask for at the pharmacy for her feet. They were better and she was in Tom’s shoes. They were off to Rome and then Cinque Terra the next day. We had a nice quick visit and then off in different directions. We still have not seen the mom squad or any of their bambinos here.
Gadgetman has a new girlfriend at the front desk – the one who assured him there was AC – and he got the lowdown where the locals eat and what to order. So off we went tapas hopping. Let me tell you Christina didn’t let us down. We celebrated in style with an incredible salad and beef cheeks with collard greens. Yep collards greens with peppers. And it was delicious. Might go back it was so good.
Today was a day to sleep in a bit then picture taking at the church. The heat wave did indeed hit today and it is miserably hot. So happy to not be on the path today in this heat. My feet are even happier.
Perfect timing in front of the church for photo op. They have moved to the other spire for cleaning. Due to the technical aspects of the cleaning – it was compared to using different painters – the same company was contracted for 15 years to completely clean the outside facade of the church. That’s what all the scaffolding is for around the church.
Gadgetman went in search of his barber from last year and I went shopping, we were to meet up at the Pilgrim’s House in and hour and a half. Not much time for shopping.
Gadgetman ran into a couple of people from the Kentucky group. They made a donation to the church for tomorrow so they could be sure to see the botofumeria swing. Originally the incensor was swung to rid the church of the smell and delouse the area as pilgrims used to sleep on the floor of the church.
We toured the market and all it had to offer. It’s like our version of the Dallas Farmers Market. I could have eaten and drank my way through the entire thing. Their fruits and veggies looked amazing.
Tomorrow we’re taking the train to Madrid no standby flights or long lines. Already have tickets in hand and mostly clean machine washed clothes in our packs. I did convince Gadgetman to mail some things home. I should have done it without him. It was a little more costly than I had expected.
It is again time to go in search of dinner. But I’ll have to take off the robe as Gadgetman has it cold as a meat locker in our room. And it has suddenly become very overcast outside, maybe a chance of rain? But I don’t care about that right now because I’m no longer on the path.