This is the yellow arrow I have been following for 500 miles! Now I will always remember to keep going forward!!!!!
I woke up and left early this morning (about 7:15) so I could beat the masses of people that had to leave at 8 from my last Albergue. I had a peaceful walk through the city before most people were awake. The birds were singing and everything was happy. It was a much more peaceful walk than I imagined. I am so happy I left early!!
There were 3 other pilgrims arriving when I did. Two was the super crabby couple (British I think) that I have seen along the way. They never smile...luckily another smiling man was with them and he took some pictures for me!! :)
Now it is too early to get my compostela (certificate)...so after standing outside the cathedral contemplating my hotel situation...I decided to treat myself! I am going to stay in the Parador!! This is one of the most expensive hotels in Santiago! Its a converted 15th century building on the same square as the cathedral! Wow I am going to be posh now!!!! After spending more than a month sharing rooms and toilets and sleeping in bunk beds - I am going to be a real person and have my own room! With a bathtub!!! Its cheaper than I expected too!! So I have taken it for 2 nights!! And it includes breakfast!!! I am so excited :). But of course because it is only 8:30 - my room isn't ready yet!! So she has my mobile number and will call me when its available! They have taken y bag and my stick so I can walk around freely!! Wow!! That's what I wanted! I would never have done that if I arrived yesterday!!
So now I sit behind the cathedral eating a waffle and drinking hot chocolate! Smiling because I just walked 800km!!!! It feels good!!!! I am a happy pilgrim - but wait...I am not a pilgrim anymore!!! Soon I will be clean and fresh! Hopefully my room will be ready by 10:00 and I will have a bath!! What luxury! And clean blankets!! I love my credit card!!! The one thing I have learned about myself on this journey...I can rough it with everyone else, but I prefer to just pay someone else to do it for me :p. Lesson learned!! It was fun being a dirty pilgrim - now I look forward to being a clean Jacquie!!!
Now to sleep so I can get up and walk the last 5km bright and happy!!!
I have stopped in Monte del Gozo - which is about 5km from Santiago. I was going to take a lovely picture for everyone of Santiago because this is the first place you are supposed to be able to see the city and cathedral from - but the trees are all grown and you can't see anything now :p
I walked with some of my old companions today. They were a few km ahead of me so they waited this morning. They went on the Santiago. But I stopped here to be able to arrive fresh in the morning. Plus its one last cheap bed before I get into the city and pay for a hotel (what a luxury...maybe I'll even get a bath)!! I'll have 2 nights in Santiago anyways since my flight isn't til Monday so that's enough! Today was a nice relaxing 15km and now I am showered and relaxed and reading my book.
Seems like a lot of the people I was with last night are staying here tonight. Actually - just in general a lot of people are staying here tonight! This might not be the relaxing peaceful walk into Santiago that I was picturing as apparently everyone has the same idea as me. Hhmmmm...oh well! This should let me find a hotel room in town tomorrow as I'll arrive early. Although it is the weekend and apparently you are supposed to book ahead. Well, if I can't find a hotel there is always another night in the Albergue. I have a feeling tomorrow night will be a bit of a celebration so I don't need a nice bed anyways.
So that's it. Tomorrow hopefully I'll be up early for a nice stroll into town (preferably before all the traffic starts so I might have to leave super early...) And then I'll visit the cathedral, get my compostela, find a bed, maybe go to mass (although might save that for Sunday) and oh!! Some shopping! Hopefully I can find a new outfit so I can stop wearing the same ratty clothes!!!
I have no pics on here from today! It was kind of an ugly walk. And there were so many people! Absolute hordes! If I ever did this again I would stop in Sarria. After that there were too many people and its just not as nice as the rest of the route.
I'll write more tomorrow from santiago with hopefully a couple nice pictures!
This place is lovely! She even gave me a towel to use!!! Wow!! I think its a bit pricey and I seem to pay everything at the end (she is keeping a tab for me). This could end up expensive as I am having the lady do my laundry for me too (€12! What robbery!) But now I will have clean clothes to last the rest of the trip! I'll eat dinner here too to save walking the however far to find a bar to eat at! I hope its good!
So tomorrow - according to the signs - I have about 21km to Santiago!!! I could do it all in one day and arrive friday night, or I could just walk like 16km to Monte del Gozo and walk the final 5km all fresh and relaxed on Saturday morning. I think I like the second option. But I bet a lot of people have that idea and maybe it will be really crowded Saturday morning for the last 5km. Hmmmm...we'll see how I feel tomorrow I guess. I have some friends finishing tomorrow and some finishing on Saturday. I'll see who I run into and how I feel about walking tomorrow. But after so many long days in a row a couple short ones sound nice. But it would also be nice to wake up Saturday and not have to walk anywhere!!! I must say walking is getting a bit old now and I wouldn't mind being done!
But its kinda strange to think of finishing! I feel like I have been doing this forever. I can't imagine getting up and not walking. What will it feel like to get to Santiago after walking towards it for over 30 days?! And not meeting all the new people everyday...and seeing the old ones! Every day I know someone its like I have known them a year! And yesterday I saw a guy I haven't seen since just after Pamplona! I don't even remember how long ago that was but it felt like we were long lost friends! I met him twice weeks ago and we met last night and hugged (he was the old man I walked into Pamplona with and who gave me a foot massage when I was sick in Puente de la Reina). Really I know nothing about any of these people except we are walking across Spain together which makes a huge bond. And its funny to see the difference between talking to someone that started later to those of us that started in St. Jean. There is definitely some snobbery there! Soon I'll be able to say I walked 800km (500 miles) in a row!!! But then it will be done and the adventure will be over and I'll need to find something else to do! Hmmmm...I can see why some people do the camino over and over!
Ok...enough talking! I am going to enjoy the rest of the afternoon and read my book!!
So today I made it to Sarria - and...I took the shorter way. So I did only about 18.5km. Amazing that 18.5km has an only in front of it! When else in my life would I ever say that is a short distance to walk in a day?! But yes - I was lazy and decided that I didn't want to walk 25.5km and see the monastery. Seeing stuff is way too hard. I will only see what is on the shortest route to Santiago!
So - I have arrived in Sarria early. My clothes are in the washing machine. It was kind of expensive but I started to wash them in the sink and then thought...what the hell am I doing?!? So I paid the €5 so my clothes can actually be clean! There is no dryer though...so hopefully everything will dry outside! It is a gorgeous sunny afternoon! I am sitting in a lounge chair on the roof terrace of my Albergue now! Its drying me quite well after my shower so it should dry my clothes!
What else...today was a pretty walk. I thought I was done with the big hills but for the first hour today all I did was walk uphill!! Grrrr!! Then, of course, the next hour was all downhill! And we may have had a bit too much to drink last night...oops! But it was easter and we had a steak dinner...and I walked a ton yesterday so I deserved it. But it did make today a bit tougher. I didn't look as rough as the guys though. They seemed a bit grumpy when they caught up with me! LOL! But they are off to find the massage place in town and then head out to the next town! Wow they are ambitious!! I'll probably catch them tomorrow...especially as I have to be out of my Albergue by 8am!! So if they only go 5km more I would be there by 9 and they usually don't leave til after that. I might have a chance of getting to Santiago by Friday night now. Sarria is about 120km from Santiago. But other stuff says 100km. 100km is 4 days...which is Friday arrival! Wouldn't that be something. So from now on I'll just walk to wherever I get tired and see how far I can make it! It would be nice to have a bit of down time at the end. And maybe take the bus to Finisterre. Anyways- we'll see how it goes.
But the next part of the walk might be a lot more crowded. Sarria is the last place people can start walking from and still get credit for doing the camino. So a lot of people start here. But I think because its the week after Easter - not a lot of people will start here this week. If people were going to do it they would have done it last week. I hope there aren't a lot of fresh clean new people starting now! They piss me off!!
So anyways - here's the pictures I took. My laundry needs to get hung up now and then I am going to read my book and try to get a nice tan!!
Ok-thats it! Also included are the rest of my pictures! It was cow country today so I shared the road a bit with some cows :) Now to find my Easter dinner!!! I bloody earned it!
Ok-here are some more pictures that I took. The sun came out a bit again!!!
Attached are the pictures from this morning. It got foggy at the top of the hill so no more nice views.