We gathered as a group at 8am coming from various alburgues and pensions. We had 20km to go.
We walked as a group changing walking partners seamlessly as we went. Since this was Terry and Janet’s second Camino they guided us throughout the morning. We stopped for breakfast and saw others that we had met along the way. Everyone was in great spirits but slow to want to move on.
We walked again and stopped again as we seemed to need another chance to talk as a group. Again we were surrounded by more people we had met along the way.
We rounded a corner and Terry called to our attention that we were nearing the airport. I was then overcome with emotion that the journey was quickly coming to the end. Reality. No matter how slowly I walked I wasn’t going to stop time.
We walked again for a bit and came to the John Paul II monument. Here we saw a lot of people and then all the young people caught up to us and rounds of hugs, tears, and stories were exchanged. Again it was difficult to move forward toward the end. We came to a house that had a yellow lab and a puppy. We all stood at the fence petting the mother and coaxing the puppy to come over. We were so silly but again, delaying the forward movement to Santiago.
The final 5km were the usual industrial parks and car dealerships that lead us into the bigger cities. We still didn’t have a visual of the Cathedral.
Coming to a huge street sign marking the Camino we all gathered for photos. This was a great commotion as we had to take turns with all the cameras. Again more people walked up and hugs and tears were flowing.
We walked on until we finally neared the old part of the city and Terry announced that we were just blocks away!
Then we rounded a corner and he said that we were nearly there. Janet walked a bit ahead to capture our faces as we caught sight of the Cathedral. I was moved to tears as I tried to express how much I enjoyed walking with so many of the people that arrived with us in the square. I walked with girls as young as 20; who were taking breaks from college, people from different countries that I couldn’t remember where or when we met.
We posed for many photos and congratulated one another and stood for a while as new people entered the square.
A plan was made for a group dinner and then we sadly went our separate ways. Nancy and I went to the Pilgrims office to present our credential that was stamped at the alburgues, churches, and restaurants throughout the journey. We were then issued our compostela.