Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pilgrimage Day 33: Arca do Pino - Santiago de Compostella

This is the last day of my pilgrimage. When I arrive to Santiago de Compostella later today, I will have taken about 1.6 million steps the last 33 days, whereof 2 were sickdays in bed. Today's stage is a bit in the forest but most of the road is asphalt. It noticable that the city is approaching. The suburb is very ok to wander in. The road goes along fairly traffic-free streets. Many excited pilgrims around me waving and greeting. I meet 2 middle-aged men and we walk together for a while. They have come from Mexico. They are strong religious believers, Catholics, and it is interesting to hear why they've been walking on their pilgrimage of religious reasons. They, like many others have walked for 100 killometers. That's what it takes to get a diploma when the pilgrim arrives. A certificate signed by a representative of the Catholic Church.

Now I'm approaching the city. I pass Labacolla, which is the airport I'll leave from in a few days. Then I come to Monte do Gozo where there is raised a huge memorial monument. Actually, this is the worst looking monument I've ever seen. I big concreat block on topå of the hill side. The whole construction conveys a heavyness that I doesn't have anything to do with the lightfooted pilgrim that is always on the road. It was erected in 1993 to mark the Pope Paul II's visit that year. So I come to the Puerta del Camino before I will go over the main road and see the sign that tells me that now I walk into Santiago.





After a nice walk in the narrow streets until I find the Cathedral, the pilgrimage cathedral. A giant building that I spend a lot of time studying. It is too large to get a picture of, but the picture I took at least gives an impression. I go in with my backpack on my back and meet many other pilgrims. It is almost time for worship and I find me a place to sit with my backpack on the floor in front of me. It's a great solemn occasion, and a little show and entertainment also when in great censer is thrown back and forth in front of the altar. After the service I go in a queue behind the altar and touch a statue of the apostle James. I thank him for the trip. Then I go down under the altar and into a room where the remains of the Apostle James are being held.

After the church visit, I find the official pilgrim office and show my pilgrim passport with stamps from each houses I've stayed in these 33 days. She checks all the stamps and put a last stamp in the passport, confirming that I have met the requirement to obtain a pilgrim diploma. She takes out a diploma written in Latin and enters my name on the diploma. Then I receive it from her with a handshake and a "congratulations".

After that, I find a hotel and book a room for two nights. I have actually gone so fast that I did not just arrive in time, I have arrived two days before schedule. So now I get two great days in Santiago before I have to take the plane back home. Do I regret that I having walked this long journey? No. Not at all. This has been an amazing journey and I can recommend everyone who wants a trip out of the ordinary to go in my footsteps, as hundreds of thousands have done before me for hundreds of years. This has been a journey I think about every day and will be with me the rest of my lafe. "Bon camino mi amigo."


  1. Thank you for writing about your thoughts and experiences on your pilgrimage. I enjoyed it very much.

  2. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing this great trip with us :) Hi Lauren!