We left Sigueiro at about 9:30 and had 15km to walk to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
Apart from a few spots of rain the worst of the weather was just a lot of cold wind, which made walking easier.
I kind of expected the path to be quite industrial as it was so close to Santiago but, either by luck or design, it was mostly forest and fields for all but the last few kilometres.
We saw many more pilgrims than previous days but only really talked to one, a lively Italian lady named Leah who told us she had left her husband at home and decided to do the walk by herself at the age of 70. She didn’t have any aches or pains and wished Danny improvement with his feet.
At about 11:30 we stopped off at a food place that was right next to the trail in a forested part.
It was a big open cement area and a huge echoing hall that looked like the world’s saddest wedding venue. It had a tiny bar and food counter set up so we had some coffee and sandwiches.
We have been told that the government is using money to promote this route but it would be nice to spend some money on making it safer as often footpath just runs out and trucks almost clip you as you walk.
The amenities and businesses along the trail (or lack thereof) have been a constant source of bemusement. The traffic along this branch of the Camino has been increasing drastically over the last two decades (from under 100 people to over 22,000 last year) but there’s quite long stretches of road with no footpath, no places to get food and not one public toilet to be seen along the whole route, which Danny says is typical of Spain. Anywhere that sells food is expected to let people use their bathroom but quite often there’s nowhere open.
Coming into Santiago from the opposite direction to the most popular trail meant that it was just right into the older part of town.
Our first sight of the cathedral??
How about now?
Then Danny said that we would hear bagpipes when we got close, an instrument that is traditionally Gaelic, so they are played here as well as in Scotland and Ireland. I completely neglected to take a photo of the piper, but eventually we heard them as we continued through the lovely ancient streets.
It was great to finish, and it felt like Danny might not have made another day with his blisters as they were getting worse.
Seeing all the groups of pilgrims getting photos and looking so excited was very nice, I imagine that if you’d come here just for this and if you’d finished one of the longer walks – quite a lot of people walk from France or further – the sensation of relief and achievement would be overwhelming.
Having just spent twice as long walking through much more dramatic countryside in England, this was fun but it didn’t particularly make me want to do other Camino routes. I’m not against the idea either, I just have other places I’d like to walk.
Danny and I did discuss what we’d learned from the experience. I’d totally agree with Deb that four days got me into my stride, so doing a longer trek would definitely be possible and if I’d put more effort into preparing I probably wouldn’t have had such sore feet in the beginning.
I felt a bit hamstrung by not speaking the local language and I think a lot of my enjoyment from travel comes from meeting people so that was a down side. We didn’t really meet many people who spoke English confidently.
I think if I’d done this years ago I would’ve been part of the ‘get up and on the road by dawn’ crowd, but going slower and making decent stops has increased my enjoyment. I don’t think I could ever walk ten hours a day so there’s no need to be up and out so quickly.
The time of year we’d chosen was really good. None of the days were too hot or too cold and we had luckily sat out the rainiest day. The time of year also meant that there were lots of flowers in bloom and the farmers were yet to spread manure on the fields. I always forget how much of country walking is accompanied by the smell of manure but it wasn’t too bad this time.
Despite being surrounded by long green grass most days my hayfever was fine. I really don’t understand why it’s so bad in England and not here where the plants are almost identical.
Collecting the stamps along the way was fun. Who doesn’t like stamps? I think the stamp system would be a great thing to institute on other long walks around the world. It’s an easy and fun reminder of all the places you stop at.
We did 122km or so, 100 is needed for the certificate at the end. We did get the certificates but I think the stamps are actually a better souvenir.
So that was our Camino! Probably the least impressive in terms of length but a very nice walk and Danny and I managed to get along very well, both being very patient when the other needed to go slowly or take a break.
To finish, here’s a series of photos of us in front of highways and derelict petrol stations. It’s not all forests and fields!
2 thoughts on “Camino Ingles Day 7: Sigüeiro to Santiago de Compostela, aka the end!”
Huzzah! So exciting! Well done!
Just catching up! Nice work on finishing 🙂 I’m glad both of you didn’t succumb to the blisters. Danny’s looked pretty bad!