July 17, 2008

Day 83: 5 July- Monte de Gozo to Santiago!

We arose fairly early and left Monte de Gozo just before 7am, as we wanted to reach the Cathedral Square, to stand there in the quiet before all the tourists arrived.
Here Lyne and Denis are posing by the marker that tells us we only have 4km to go!
The walk was not through the most thrilling of cityscapes intially
but it wasn't long before we had some more reunions. Here is Marianne from Denmark, who was heading for the bus station to go to Finisterre for the day.
We soon reached the older part of the city which looked fascinating with narrow winding streets etc. Finally we reached the Cathedral... only this last arch to go before we stand in the square in front of it....
And here I am posing.... my pilgrim walk completed!
At this moment I knew I had done something both very simple, and very hard. It was simple, just the rhythm of feet walking each day: but it had needed perseverance....
Soon after 9am we joined the fast-moving queue for a Compostela. I was in the queue just behind a French couple I had met at Monte de Gozo. They knew where Le Puy was, and how far I had walked....and when they reached the front of the queue, they pushed me in to go ahead of them. It was a very kind gesture of recognition.

Now I had some city jobs to do - unaccustomed as I was to cities! I needed to find a map so I could find the train station and book a rail ticket to Paris. I had decided that retracing my steps on a whole day traversing back through northern Spain would be a good way to unwind from the whole experience. (But the cheapest way I heard of to get back was obtained by some young ones who caught the train to Porto and got a cheap flight from there.)

I made it back for the lunchtime pilgrim Mass. Towards the end I was surprised to see Francis (on the left) who I had met earlier along the route, on the altar as a deacon. So there were more reunions to come, and we enjoyed having lunch together. It became an afternoon of joyful celebration!
Once we had arrived back at Monte de Gozo, (having caught the bus!) I went for a short walk to find the pilgrim statues I had heard about. And, yes, you could see that they pointed to the Cathedral spires, that were actually visible today! Then I discovered that my buddy Francis of Assisi had also come to Santiago as a pilgrim....
There were a couple of large groups of exuberant young pilgrims who had arrived for the night. I imagined we might not get such a good sleep this night! But it seemed like their leaders spoke to them about all the pilgrims staying who had walked a long way, and that they needed to show consideration... and they did.... soon after 10pm, all was quiet.


  1. Hello!
    I have with great interest been reading your excelent blog, seen your beautiful pictures and enjoyed your walk from Le Puy to Santiago. Since I am going to start from Le Puy in August, the French part was very helpful to me. I have walked the camino in Spain twice, but now I have got new knowledge about where to stay next time. Thank you very much.
    Randi, 60, from Norway

  2. Thank you Randi for your very kind comments. I met two women from Norway who were walking from Le Puy. I met them not far from Le Faux and ended up sharing lunch with them, on a bitterly cold day, at the excellent restaurant there. I imagine it could still be quite warm in August! Margaret

  3. I have thrilled to read the ending to your walk, finally, over a year after you first inspired me to begin in Le Puy. I hope to put some work into my own blog before too much more time has passed. You continue to be an inspiration! Linnea

  4. KiwiNomad

    I've enjoyed reading your entire blog. Throughout my life I've never taken many photos as I've always said I'll be back for the photos. There is great knowledge within your blog for us all wannabe pilgrims.

    I fancy starting in either Le Puy or Arles as I good at speaking French and enjoy having conversations. 80+ days of walking is a great deal so I figure I'll fly in next spring and get with the program. I think I'll break up the trip into two sections to savour the walk but definitely include a detour to Lourdes. I may stop in Lourdes next year and then come back the following year to walk the section from Lourdes all the way thru to Santiago.

    Thanks again for all the effort.. Its much appreciated

  5. Hi JM, I'm glad that my blog has proved useful to you. I enjoyed taking photos as I walked- had my camera case on the waistbelt of my pack if it wasn't raining!

    I loved the Le Puy walk. One thing to consider is that the Arles part of the walk is a lot less 'peopled'. You might like that, but I am glad I started with a route with more people and infrastructure.

    There's now a marked route off the Le Puy route to reach Lourdes I gather. Have info about it somewhere I might be able to hunt out! Margaret

  6. KiwiNomad, my hat goes out to you I didn’t want to finish reading your adventure and even stop on day 80 to make myself a coffee because the end was near, if it would have been a book it would probably a more dramatic ending, which I would halved hate it, and been that is a true, great and wonderful anecdote is just perfect.
    I felt for you very much in the beginning of the trail; there where time I wish I had been there to walk with you, I can only imagine how you felt walking alone and I’m so glad for people like L&D there are always great people and the three of you are great, my hat goes out to them as well
    As I read how you felt I know now that if or when I go (2014?) to the Camino I will watch for people that are alone that may need company I will offer it
    Also I wanted to thank you because you inspire me to take the walk.

  7. Hi George, and thanks for commenting. I hope you do get to go walking in 2014. I did find the first three weeks quite hard at times, walking so much alone- but in hindsight, I am very glad for that time. It gave me time to think about things in my life- to cry about some things- to realise some things didn't have answers... And in a strange way I feel a bit sorry for those on the Camino Frances who might never have that 'alone' time as part of their walk.
    No, it wasn't a dramatic ending. My body was tired, well before I reached Santiago- it was truly a long way from Le Puy. So I was actually glad to finish! But a lot of the changes 'within' happened when I got home.
    I still keep in touch with Lyne and Denis, and a few others I met on the Camino. Denis is actually returning soon to France soon to walk some more.