October 31 2019
Final hiking post….
15 miles. My plan was to break at 9miles and grab a coffee and then finish the last 10k.
It was weird because I had this urge to go fast but it was still going to be a long-ish day.
The first 9. Went relatively well. Some uphills. The weather was overcast. The rain was supposed to start about noon.
I hit my first break around 11:25 am.
Grabbed a coffee and wanted to get it with a shot of Pacharan. It’s this liquor that the Spaniards from the region of Logrono, add to their coffee before they drink it. I had seen older people ordering shots with their coffee and was so confused. It’s this sweet berry- anise tasting liquor. Finally I asked a bartender what it was and they explained. I thought for the last day, why not!
But the bar didn’t have Pacharan so I settled for Baileys haha.
After a quick break, I set off again. The last 10k was busy. Lots of pilgrims who had joined in at various cities at the end were all doing the last 10k.
My body kept wanting to go fast. It was exciting, last 10k! But then I would be like “ya but it’s your last day so maybe slow down.” But it’s me and I couldn’t. I averaged like 18:00 min miles which compared to normal I’m like 21:00-22:00. Good days I’m 20:00ish. Bad days could go up to 26:00-28:00.
I didn’t really want to walk with the new joiners. I kind of wanted to go in by myself or, if I had seen some of the other people I’d walk with over the past month, maybe them. But I didn’t see any of them.
Walking into the city was kind of a tease because you were technically “there”, in the city, but you weren’t at the Cathedral which was the final landmark.
You could see the peak of the Cathedral as you were walking and it’s another mile or so to the Cathedral once you enter Santiago
As I was walking through Santiago, I saw people I had met during the walk, which was awesome.
It’s very unique that all these people across the world are all walking towards the same place and as you go, every city has like signs and murals and greetings for you along the way. Like all of Spain is constantly cheering you on throughout; kinda like a marathon. A giant race to Santiago. There were a few cities, where I had arrived hurting or pretty desperate to finish, and when I got there- they had pilgrim murals, and I choked up.
Not like crying but you’re just like “damn, for me.” It keeps you going.
When I was almost to the Cathedral, I heard a knock on one of the bar windows, and there was this French guy in there that Grace and I had met back on Day 11.
I walked in to congratulate him (he had finished 3 days ago… man was so fast). And he gave me a huge hug and kiss on the cheeks and said the same. It was really cute.
So you walk into the plaza and there’s all these amazing buildings and then you circle around and there’s the Cathedral. It is beautiful.
I just sat staring at it for a while in the rain with everyone else. Like shit, I’m done.
I called Jeff, he didn’t answer (it’s okay baby I love you). But had he answered- I probably would’ve bawled.
But I kept it together, had a nice Korean man take my photo, and then went to get my certificate.
Along the way you get stamps from where you stay along the way. At the end, you go to the tourist office and they review all your stamps, and then give you THE FINAL stamp and a credential.
It’s pretty neat, the credential isn’t as cool as the passport with all the stamps but I guess makes it “official”.
After all that, I went to find food, rest and then I met up with a bunch of the people who finished today and I met along the way. The two American boys: Sean and Tucker, the Canadian gal: Meighan, and her friend: Mandy.
We found a vegan restaurant for Meighan. She’s vegan and this trip has been super limiting for her. I have no clue actually how she survived on fruit and bread.
Then we tried to get a martini but it ended up just being a glass of sweet vermouth and olive juice. Disgusting
And then we parted ways… it was sad but happy.
I had told Sean that I thought I got bit again and sure enough, this morning, my hand blew up.
Tucker texted me that I’m the only person he knows that’s gotten bit 3 times so I’m gonna have to really scrub all my stuff. I already washed all my clothes really thoroughly the second time I was bitten but he’s right… 3 times is not good. Weird thing is, usually happens days apart from one another. The bite definitely also has two entry points that I was getting liquid out of… so hopefully one more cleaning session and the bite cream I had from before will be enough to end this trend.
Overall, in summary, I am beyond ecstatic that I did this. I couldn’t have done it without my amazing support network. All the kind words of encouragement from people, the phone calls every day from my mom and Jeff. All the hosts along the way in Spain and all the other pilgrims offering help to one another… it’s a beautiful thing.
I’m sad to be done but I’m excited to find my next challenge and the confidence this has given me that you can adapt grow and learn to overcome something that was quite daunting before.
So THANK you again to everyone and for all future pilgrims- buen camino!