Arrival day! Santiago de Compostela is waiting for us. Today is the day we are having a date with a saint. Good old St. James has been waiting for us for over a thousand years, let’s do him a favor and arrive in style and without injuries. While safety is a concern and our priority in arriving at the busy outskirts of Santiago, we also want to challenge us one more time.
Let’s tackle 60km of cruel, short but steep little kickers. While on average we are losing altitude toward Santiago, meaning it’s going downhill, for some reason the Camino throws inclines into our path that let us moan and grind one more time. When you think it’s over or getting easier, the Camino challenges you once again, relentless.
What stands out today is the amazing transformation of climate and vegetation. Drawing closer to the Atlantic ocean, we are also experiencing more humitity and and lush forests and fields of green. At any point on the Camino, nature is extrordinarily beautiful. We cannot get enough of it, this day being no exception. Endless green tunnels of Eucalyptus forests stretch this stage into an amazing concert for the senses.
This is one more time a long day in the saddle, but Santiago is drawing closer. Distance markers which seem to increase in frequency the closer we get let us count the miles. Just as we are so close to the city that we can see its Cathedral spires in the distance, we seem to forget about today’s task – arriving. On Mount Joy, so called as pilgrims can see the Cathedral for the first time in the distance, we decide to hang out despite the day losing light already. Could it be that soon this experience is over?
Rolling into town is one more challenge. Why not building a bike path, dear mayor of Santiago? We share the road with locals wizzing and weaving with their cars through the pilgrims arriving. Finally, we are laying eyes on the Cathedral and the inner city that only exists due to the Saint supected to be burried here. This is the moment when challenges, pain, and agony of the last six days do not matter at all. They have disappeared. So far we have been on a journey from Alpha to Omega, from beginning to end, but now, that we reached the end, we are on the journey from Omega to Alpha. We are at the beginning of a new, yet to be determined, journey. The end is the beginning.