Our last day of the Camino! Up to this point, we’d hiked 104.1 (64.7 miles) so we were eagerly looking forward to completing out pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
Today we had just 12.9 km (8 miles) to reach the famous Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. An easy day!
We woke up well before sunrise, so we would have enough time to finish the hike, tour a bit of the city, and then walk to the bus station to catch a ride back to our motorcycles at the border town of Tui, Spain.
We enjoyed walking through this forested section before sunrise. The vine covered trees and rocky path is something we’ll miss about our hike on the Camino.
There is beauty all along the Camino – Even in the old worn down buildings. I often wonder what stories these homes could tell.
A small home was decorated with hedges full of these wonderful flowers. After some research, we found that they are called Passiflora or passion flowers. Stunning!
As the sun was coming up, we were walking through a wooded section, where the rays created some wonderful light effects.
It was quite magical how the beams of sunlight radiated through the forest trees.
Buen sol de la mañana.
As we walked through a small village, we noticed that one particular apartment was a happy resting place for many cats enjoying the rays of the morning sun.
Another home had this funny sign warning trespassers to “BEWARE OF THE DOG”.
This would be our last forested section before we reached the suburbs of the capital city of Santiago de Compostela.
I’m not sure what we expected when we reached the capital. Whatever it was, we were surprised at the amount of people! The streets, restaurants, shops, and tourist attractions were filled! It was easily the most people we had seen in one place since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic. All of this did not help my anxiety around large crowds.
Once we reached the center of the main square, we stood and marveled at the impressive Santiago de Compostela Cathedral looming above us. This awe-inspiring architecture was started in the late 11th century and consecrated in 1211 by King Alfonso the Ninth. It is one of only three churches that was built over the tomb of an original Apostle. The other two are St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica, Chennai in India.
Selfie of 2020 – Mask included. Someday we’re going to look back at all these pictures and have to explain to our grandchildren why we are wearing cloth masks…
…and explain why signs on the floor read “KEEP A SAFE DISTANCE”.
The cathedral was busy, but we still managed to find a short respite from the commotion and crowds of the city.
We were glad that we could make our way down to the crypt where we could…
…pay our respects to Saint James, and officially end our Camino.
Although our Camino was over, we still had a few things to do before leaving the capital.
Like getting our final stamp for our Camino Passports. Although it would have been nice to also get the certificate, we really didn’t have the time to wait the two hours or the room to properly store it safely on the motorcycles.
Our walk wasn’t over yet! We still had a 2 km walk to the bus station where we purchased two tickets to return to the border town of Tui. Although we were tired, we were looking forward to returning to our motorcycles.
It turns out we still had more walking to do. Although the bus passes right through Tui it doesn’t stop there. It stops in the town of Valença, Portugal. We had to walk another 3.5 km back to Spain.
Crossing over the Tui/Valença International Bridge, where we started our Camino a week before,…
… and reaching Tui where our two motorcycles were patiently waiting for our return.
What was it like to walk the Portuguese Camino from the border of Portugal to Santiago? We both agreed that it was a great accomplishment and definitely worth it. Although our feet and legs hurt after each day, we still felt that it was worth the experience of hiking just a small part of the Camino. Would we hike it again? Perhaps. However, there is still a lot more of the world to experience and we are happy that we got a small taste of The Way of Saint James.
Are we ready to trade in our motorcycle boots for a backpack and hiking boots? Definitely no. We love the freedom and distance we can cover in the motorcycles. Nope, we’re not giving up motorcycling that easy. More two-wheeled adventures to come…
Next Blog Post
After a week-long rest, our mules are rearing to go riding! We take them on a proper reunion ride of 289 km (180 miles). Along the way we stop to enjoy the Mills of Picón and Folón, the Chapel of San Caralampio on the Island of la Toja, and the Iron Age ruins of Castro de Baroña.
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5 Aug 2020