We are done! Most people would think that fitting 3 generations of related, sweaty, tired people into a campervan for 2 weeks was mad. It was. But we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
This is Monte Gozo, the final hill before Santiago, and the first glimpse of the city can be seen as you cross over the top. Just now there’s a little lone boot in the background hanging from a tree. In fact, all along the way there are boots and possessions as pilgrims lighten their load (literally and metaphorically). Or maybe this guy decided he wanted to hop the last 7km because walking 780km was too easy.
There are lots of film cameras everywhere today. Word on the Way is that Oprah Winfrey is on the walk. For sure she’s filming a documentary with her tv channel but we’ve not seen her. The other rumour is that the 200000th pelegrino this year (!) just arrived at the cathedral.
Just like in the film The Way, at the Pilgrims office you’re asked whether you did the walk for religious, spiritual or touristic/other reasons; and your age, profession and nationality. Then you receive a certificate in Latin. Catharinam was chuffed to bits with hers.
Another word on the Way is that on the roof of the cathedral (you can take a tour up there) there’s a stone carving of a bottom amongst the gargoyles – the stonemason’s payback for a late payment. And from up there you can also see the place in the distance where pilgrims removed and burned their clothes in days gone by to avoid bringing disease into the city. It’s amazing to imagine that people have been doing this very same walk for more than 1000 years. That’s way way before Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
The whole route is now a UNESCO world heritage site, and there are so many different people walking, cycling, riding or wheeling along it, for so many different reasons, it’s quite an experience.