Camino Portugues Spain

Day 27: Santiago de Compostela

It’s taken me 26 days to get from outside Lisbon to Santiago, taking deviations to Fatima, then the Camino Carmelita north of Fatima and the Spiritual Variant from Pontevedra. I took 3 days off in Tomar, Fatima and Pontevedra, which together with Coimbra are all towns I would highly recommend.

Whilst it’s been very enjoyable, there have been too many kilometers along roads for it to be a fantastic journey. To be honest, those that walk from, Tui or Viggo (the last 100+ km), I feel, walk the best stages, and not least the Spiritual Variant is highly recommended. I walked in February and August/September, and not least February was probably not the best time of year. Whilst the weather was perfect, walking in spring where there will be more flowers blooming and greener vegetation may have helped the overall impression. I met a girl from Israel who had walked from Lisbon, and said it was the best Camino she had walked. So it is very individual.

The weather has been kind to me, some rain, but not much and close to 40C for a couple of days was also hard going. I lost a day due to rolling over my ancle, but otherwise I have managed to stay healthy and looked forward to walking every day.

Today was a day off, but I still managed to walk 20km, and there was a great end to my Camino Portuguese, see below.

I collected my certificate for completing a Camino and then found a laundromat to do my laundry, which I do every 4-5 days. I carry a bit more than many, as I can’t be bothered to hand wash clothes every day, preferring to wait. So whilst many have 3 T-shirts, I have 5, 2 pairs of shorts/pants I have 3 etc. This is the 3rd time I washed clothes on this trip, and the 3rd price increase, 6€ the first time, 7€ the second and 8€ the third.

After depositing my clean clothes back at the hotel, I walked around town a little aimlessly. Santiago has on old town where the Cathedral lies, which is packed with tourist shops, bars and restaurants and lots and lots of tourists. My hotel was next to Alameda Park with its great views of the Cathedral and the University. Finally there is a large commercial center. The hotel where I was staying, lay on the intersection of all three – very convenient, but very noisy. I had to sleep with earplugs.

I lunched on one of the squares in the commercial part of town, taking a fixed menu of Gazpacho, fish and flan and later sat on the Cathedral square watching the walkers arrive and celebrate, several crying of joy. I met a few people from the boat trip and chatted with them. As I walked back to the hotel I took a different route than I had done previously. I passed a square with an ensemble (no string instruments) made up of people of all ages (12-70) from several non-professional ensembles in Galicia. They played for 75 mins in front of several hundred very enthusiastic people. They were very good. A fantastic end to my Camino Portuguese.

I am happy I made it to Santiago, and enjoyed my day off here, but now that I have been and seen it, I don’t need to come here again. Time will tell whether I will or not.

And tomorrow new adventures begin.

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