And so the last day on (this) Camino has dawned… unfortunately.
I am leaving Padron behind and passing through the suburbs I reach the main road. Another village… and another maze of narrow streets. Behind me … a lively group of Spanish gals, all lively this morning, chatting full blast and mimicking the roosters.
The Way continues through cornfields … some vineyards. Local dogs pay very little attention to the passing peregrinos … hardly giving them a glance.
After another village I hit the toad again and come across the first open bar. After a short breakfast break I continue onward. I keep running into a German couple from Stuttgart. Its their first Camino and they first heard of the Camino a week before leaving for Porto.
Another forest … another bar. An improvised camper … a group of Italians are taking pictures. Road crossing… another forest… another village. It looks like a manage a fast pace since the entire column stretches behind me.
Under the next underpass I’m stopped by a journalist. She is looking for a peregrino to interview for the local newspaper. All right .. since you caught me at the moment of weakness… (I ended up getting almost entire page at El Correo Galego).
First buildings ahead … is that Santiago … oh alas it unfortunately is. There is no big sign like on approaches on the French route.
Through the suburbs.. than wide avenues… there is the cathedral bell-tower ahead … bit of side streets and here I am … at the main square in front of the cathedral.
I have returned.
Interesting… I expected to be more depressed because the Camino is over… but here… on the square… a special rush … it feels like I’ve been here yesterday and not two (way, way too long) years ago. The guy with the bagpipes is at the same place under the arcade … post office at the beginning of the same street… museum of peregrinos that I didn’t visit the last time (not will I make it this time) … the bar were I’ve last seen Keith and the Australian family… a square were I bid farewell to the Brazilian doctor.
Only the pilgrim office changed its location. So after taking a bunch of photos with the Germans I head to get the Compostela. The new building is bigger, there is even a chapel inside… as well as security check, you need to show a credential to get inside. The line isn’t big and my turn comes soon enough. What is this… am I no longer a clown … names are no longer being translated into Latin, and the basic cardboard tube is no longer donativo.
Another new thing is a “Camino companions” program. Twice a day there is group chat for peregrinos about their Camino experience. Absolutely marvellous program run by absolutely marvellous Irish nun… and a very wise lady.
After settling at the hotel I head for the cathedral. Its also the same as yesterday (two years ago) … only the main gate is closed off for reconstruction. The rush is even more intense.
I will absolutely take me some time to sort out the all the Camino impressions that seems even more intense this second time … but one thing I know for sure.
I shall return… evermore, evermore.