Walked Today: 6.9 mi /Camino2022: 348 mi
We left Lavacolla at 6:45 hoping to avoid a long wait in line for our Compostelas once we arrived at the Santiago Catedral.
It was very dark as we walked across the bridge over the legendary stream, but saw no bathers this morning… maybe all pilgrims have warm showers these days.
Only a handful of pilgrims passed us during the 3.5 miles on the way to the Santiago city limits… all in the dark. Also, each of the three bars we had visited for breakfast in previous years along the way to Santiago, and everything else, was not open, by 8:30!
We finally got breakfast in the cafeteria for a huge futbol camp on the edge of a now bustling Santiago, with people on the way to work, cars filling the streets and young, very young pilgrims emerging from everywhere.
The final 3 plus mile walk to the old part of the city and the Catedral was familiar and exhilarating as we were about to reach our destination after 52 days and 348 miles of walking.
We walked past the Catedral and on to the pilgrim’s office which opened at 10:00 but when arrived at 10:15, had only several pilgrims congregating at the entrance. We were given our place-in-line tickets, #111 and #112, got into line only to notice that #86 was now being called to receive their compostela!
We made it!!
We waited in line for about 10 minutes, chatting, smiling, laughing with similarly happy pilgrims, saw our numbers called, submitted our credentials with stamps from points visited across northern Spain since August 15 and just moments later were presented with our 4th Compostela for the Camino de Santiago de Compostela!
We purchased a tube (2€) for carrying our documents home, left the office, gave each other a high five and walked to a nearby bar to celebrate with a cup of hot chocolate.
At 11:00 we decided to return tomorrow to visit the Catedral, take photos and revisit a now familiar old Santiago. Our hotel room not likely to be available til noon or later, we began the 20 minute walk to the train station to purchase tickets for our ride to Madrid, three days from now.
After purchasing our tickets, we made our way back toward the old city, stopping at our hotel and we able to check-in at 11:45.
We got familiar with our room and the Nest Style Hotel for a few minutes. Since our backpacks won’t arrive until around 2pm, we headed out again to get our bearings established for our new base for the next three days … found a nice restaurant for lunch. We had a delicious meal and subsequently identified a good place to return during our next two days in Santiago.
As we were returning to our hotel we spotted the transport van, which probably had our packs. We got to the hotel lobby, took a seat and three minutes later, the van driver walked into the lobby carrying our packs. We flagged him down and he delivered them to where we were sitting!
We returned, with everything we own, in Spain, to our room and began a somewhat bizarre afternoon with nothing we have to do for tomorrow.
So this concludes our blog for today. We’ll return tomorrow and Sunday with photos and reflections, etc.
Life is good!