Padron – Santiago de Compostela
21 April 2018
Wow, what do you say after 25 days walking through two different countries?
The day has arrived … our final day of hiking the Portuguese Camino and the day we will see the Santiago Cathedral once again – almost one year after we’ve finished our first Camino, the Camino Frances.
In contrast of yesterday’s sadness about our Camino that was coming to an end, we now had a feeling of anticipation about our last stage … we knew this day had to come and we were ready to embrace the full experience!
As we’ve walked through the streets of Padron, we’ve seen several pilgrims walking towards Santiago … everyone with their own reasons as to why they have done the Camino, but with one goal in sight – to get to the cathedral in Santiago – that is the one silver threat that binds us pilgrims together 😊.
Walking through the narrow streets of Iria Flavia
After walking next to the main road for some time, we’ve turned left to join, once again, quiet country lanes. From here we’ve passed a couple of hamlets, walking passed the locals’ houses where they were quietly busy with everyday life.
We are now seeing pilgrims constantly – probably the most since we’ve started our Portuguese Camino – but that is to be expected … it’s the last stretch that leads us into Santiago de Compostela!
Hard to believe … only 16.8km to Santiago
In Picarana we’ve seen a café next to the main road and we could smell the wonderful aroma of the Spanish coffee … enough reason to stop for a while 😀.
What about a last café con leche before reaching Santiago?
After passing all the cafés and albergues through Picarana on a one kilometer stretch, we’ve turned left again passing the ancient Pazo do Faramello.
Walking on beautiful country lanes at Faramello
At the fork after Faramello, we’ve came to “ermita de San Martino” and “cruceiro do Francos” – one of the oldest wayside crosses in Galicia.
“Cruceiro do Francos” – one of the oldest wayside crosses in Galicia
According to our Brierley guide book, it is from here that we join the ancient pilgrim way, which still retains its original name “Rua de Francos”. It was a stunning stretch of road with beautiful walks through woodlands.
The kilometers keep counting down to Santiago …
Beautiful scenery after Faramello with roads taking us through the woods
The walk through the woodlands gave us the perfect opportunity to clear our minds of any thoughts … and to just breath and enjoy this moment.
We have constantly seen signs to indicate the distance to Santiago – now only 5.4km
It was really the perfect hike before we’ve walked into Santiago … the tranquility filled us completely and we were now ready to end our journey!
Amazing walkways through more woodlands
The last distance way marker we’ve seen before Santiago … 3.4km
For 26 days we’ve seen these yellow arrows – we will miss them!
With about 3km to go, we’ve reached an option where waymarkers pointed in opposite directions (and with no explanation as to what our options were!)
Now what … left or right?
We had to consult our trusted Brierley guide book (for the last time on this journey) as to where we should go! According to our guide book, the most direct route is 600m shorter and is more pleasant while the other route to your right goes through modern suburbs and waymarking is poor (but it is downhill) … oh well, “shorter” sounds better … yes, we’ve taken the left one (Por Santa Marta).
The slogging then started into Santiago and I’ve kept my eyes open to see the towers of the cathedral … we’ve looked at each other and there was definitely the feeling of anticipation in our eyes!
On the university campus we’ve came to a water point and Berto filled his bottle … I said: “Really, for the last kilometer?” 😳. I think it was just his way of making me wait a little bit longer to get to the Cathedral!
Berto filling his water bottle … with only 1km to go!
And then … we took our final steps towards the Cathedral.
According to John Brierley, by tradition the pilgrim from Portugal turns up right into rua Fonseca into the Praza das Praterias to enter the Cathedral by the south door. This was the particular entrance used by the medieval pilgrim travelling the Camino Portuguese and remains the oldest doorway to the Cathedral dating back to the 11th century (1078) … and now, this was the very same route that we were taking … it’s just fascinating!
Once we’ve stood in front of the magnificent towers of the Santiago Cathedral, we looked at each other. This time there were no tears, but just a feeling of accomplishment and absolute joy! We’ve hugged each other and Berto said “We’ve done it … again”.
A picture any pilgrim on the Camino will cherish forever!
We’ve taken our backpacks off and sat there for a while – looking up at the Cathedral. You think about so many things …
- that first week from Lisbon that we’ve walked every day for more than 30km,
- painful feet,
- rainy days,
- sunny days,
- the amazing people we’ve met,
- the days that we’ve lost the yellow arrow,
- the great food we’ve had … ohh, those pastel de nata’s!
And you feel absolutely blessed to have done this journey!
Time to reflect on our Portuguese Camino
And then, once again, we’ve walked over to a street restaurant to have that beer to announce the end of a day … and now the end of our Portuguese Camino!
There were great beers on the Portuguese Camino, but this one had to be the best 😀
Accommodation – Pension Pumar:
We’ve booked into Pension Pumar for the next three days – to rest and to soak up the atmosphere of Santiago. There are a lot of parks nearby with a river running at the end of the park … we did not waste time to shower and took a stroll down to the river where we sat for a very long time.
Relaxing on the grass in front of Pension Pumar
A year ago, we did not even think that we will be here so soon again! It was an amazing adventure and we felt privileged to have done the Camino again. So much different than our first one last year, but an experience I will never forget!
And yes, once again, I felt blessed to have done this with my dear husband! Berto is the ultimate travelling partner … there were days that I’ve found walking extremely difficult, but he encouraged me to always believe in myself. I will forever be thankful to him for “pushing me to my limits” 😊.
Will we ever do another Camino? We have no idea … but we would not mind!
Paulo Coelho said: “Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished. Stop being who you were and change into who YOU are”
Packing List – Camino Portuguese:
To view our Packing List, click here
Like with any long distance hiking journey, there are reflections afterwards (and sometimes bold decisions) … just click on the links below to read about our reflections & life changing decisions: